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Original Issue


Nobody needs Captain Obvious to come through and remind everyone that a Steph Curry injury could derail everything. But if we're surveying potential nightmares at the end of a dream season, let's be honest about this: Injuries are the biggest threat on the board.

Well injuries, plus the very real possibility of a Joe Lacob Ted Talk on what Gregg Popovich can learn from venture capitalists. Also, we still don't know exactly what happened with Draymond Green in the Oklahoma City locker room back in February, but a mid-Finals meltdown would be less than ideal.

For now, though, we'll focus on the most apparent catastrophes lurking out there for Golden State. This team is great for two reasons. First, Curry is one of the best players of all time. He may not officially be in that conversation yet, but he will be in a few years. And if the Warriors lose him, obviously, it's over.

The other force driving this Golden State season is the best chemistry the NBA has ever seen. On defense almost everyone can switch and guard multiple positions. On offense the Warriors' passing overwhelms opponents and their shooting at every position makes them more or less unguardable. It all adds up to a lineup that nobody can stop. The flip side of that equation is interesting, though.

If chemistry is this elemental to the team's success, then removing one piece makes the entire formula vulnerable. Take Andre Iguodala. His shooting helps spread the floor on offense, while his versatility on defense allows the Warriors to put Green at center without missing a beat. If there were any questions about Iguodala's value, those ended when he missed 16 of 24 games to end the year, and teams realized they could hide weaker defenders on Harrison Barnes. (Three of the Dubs' losses came in those 16 games.)

There are other potential risks too. Andrew Bogut is on the wrong side of 30, and he's a perpetual injury candidate. (He hasn't played more than 70 games in a season since 2007--08, when he was 23.) His backup, Festus Ezeli, only recently came back to the court after missing 31 games with a knee injury. Barnes sprained an ankle in November, and he was out until January.

None of the injuries derailed Golden State during the regular season, so maybe it won't matter in the playoffs. In fact, it probably won't. Curry is still good enough to elevate Golden State past anyone. Whatever happens, I will not go on record doubting the Warriors in 2016.

If you'll remember, though, that the most vulnerable this team looked came during the beginning of the NBA Finals last year, when Green was battling mysterious back issues. We may never know what was wrong. All that's certain is that Green stopped shooting, trapping Curry started working and for a few games there, the Warriors' offense froze.

It worked out in the end for the Dubs—but only when Green's back loosened up and Kerr inserted a healthy Iguodala into the starting lineup. What happens if they don't have those luxuries this year?



IRON MAN Green set a career high in minutes played in 2015--16, but the Dubs can't afford a repeat of the '15 Finals, when his back was balky.