The Golden State Warriors loss their 10th game of the season last night in Washington. More importantly Kevin Durant left the game in the first quarter after teammate Zaza Pachulia fell backward into Durant’s leg. It was announced as a hyperextended knee and he did not return. Durant will get an MRI and we should know more later on today.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, some close to Durant fear he might miss months instead of weeks. The Warriors already went out to sign Matt Barnes because they need depth at the small forward position. They intended to sign Jose Calderon as a third point guard. They will sign Calderon but quickly waive him to make room for Barnes.
Now we all know Matt Barnes can’t replace Durant who is averaging 25 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 4.8 apg on 53% shooting and a career low 16 shots per game. The only other small forward on the roster is Andre Iguodala. The Warriors don’t want to start him because they will need him for the postseason. Shaun Livingston could start but they like him coming in to replace Curry.
The Warriors are still good and even if Durant misses the remainder of the regular season the Warriors can still finish with the best record. In fact, they could still make it to the Western Conference Finals without Durant. Steph Curry is not having the monster season he had last year but he’s still really good. They still have three other All-Stars so the team still has a chance.
The one All-Star who must step up is Draymond Green. Everyone had to make a sacrifice when Durant came over and Green has made the biggest sacrifice on offense. Green is happy being the defensive leader and occasional playmaker for this team. After putting up a career high 14 ppg last season, he’s down to 10 ppg this year. More concerning for the Warriors is that Green’s shooting percentage has gone down dramatically while taking less shots. Green went from 49% (career high) last season to just 43% this season on only eight shots per game. He will get more shooting opportunities with Durant out and the Warriors need him to make some shots.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “I’m always concerned about any injury, because you never know how bad it’s going to be, so we’ll just wait and see and keep our fingers crossed.” Playing in Washington is just bad luck for Durant. The last time he played there while with Oklahoma City, he suffered a hamstring injury that forced him to miss six games.