Yesterday news broke on both Kyrie Irving’s and Steph Curry’s injuries. Kyrie Irving suffered a knee injury earlier this month, He will have to miss 3-6 weeks after undergoing a procedure on the same knee he injured in the 2015 NBA Finals. Steph Curry injured his knee as well, but it occurred on Friday night. Curry suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain and will have to be re-evaluated in 3 weeks, with that being said Curry could also miss close to 6 weeks pending how his evaluation is. On April 14, exactly 3 weeks from yesterday, the NBA playoffs begin. So if Kyrie and Curry will have to miss more than 3 weeks, who will be the bigger loss to their respective teams during playoffs?
Kyrie Irving is the star player for the Boston Celtics. Losing Kyrie for a portion of the playoffs will obviously take a hit on their team. Without Irving the Celtics will have to look to rookie Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris and others to replace his lost on the offensive end. Terry Rozier will take over most of the minutes with Kyrie sidelined. Rozier has been great when playing for Kyrie this year, this easily being the best year of Rozier’s young career. Without Irving this year the Celtics are 8-4 and a better defensive team than they are with Irving. The Celtics are currently the 3rd ranked team in opponents ppg. If the playoffs were to start today the Celtics would play the Milwaukee Bucks. Even without Kyrie the Celtics have no one that can matchup with the Greek Freak. One thing Boston does have that not many other teams in the league have is a star coach, like they do in Brad Stevens, who will also be a difference maker for the Celtics in the playoffs.
Steph Curry unlike Kyrie Irving has another all world talent on his team in Kevin Durant. So that may lead you to think if Curry does miss a large portion of the playoffs Kevin Durant and company can easily pick up the slack. I would suggest otherwise in the 21 games Curry has missed this year the Warriors are 13-8 record wise and average 105.1 ppg. When Curry is playing the Warriors record is 41-10 and they average 118.7 ppg. Some other noticeable differences in the Warriors high powered offense are provided in the chart below by ESPN.
Another thing to worry about for the Warriors without Curry is that the teams in the Western conference are noticeably better than teams in the Eastern conference. If the playoffs started now the Warriors will face the Timberwolves in the first round of the playoffs. The Minnesota Timberwolves are not a team to sleep on especially if you are the Warriors, since they have given them trouble in years past. Other than the Timberwolves the Warriors will also have to worry about the Rockets, Thunder, Trailblazers and Spurs if Kawii comes back in their conference. The Warriors also have much higher expectations than the Celtics do now, since almost all of the Warriors core players are in their prime. While in Boston their nucleus is made up of younger players who will all likely get much better in the next 5 years.
I believe the bigger loss to their respective team is Steph Curry. Steph Curry is without a doubt the man for the Warriors even with Kevin Durant on his team. If the Warriors lose this season that will be a bigger concern for their team than if the Celtics don’t win it all. The Celtics are in a position where if they do not win this year they have close to 10 more years with most of their main players, where they will be competing at the top of the East along side the 76er’s. The Warriors though are built for now and it seems as if they need Steph if they want to win it all.
Stats and Information via: espn.com and basketball-reference.com
Image via: sbnation.com