Stephen Curry’s Fragile Ankles Could Come Back To Bite Warriors


Feb 2, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) warms up before the game against the Utah Jazz at Oracle Arena. Golden State defeated Utah 119-101. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Stephen Curry’s ankles are essentially the keys to the 2012-2013 playoffs for the Warriors. Their roster doesn’t merely lack depth with Brandon Rush, Dorell Wright/Harrison Barnes, Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack stabilizing their sturdy rotation. They don’t even lack an inside presence anymore with the acquisition of Andrew Bogut. But even with the solid roster additions, nothing can determine their upcoming season more than Stephen Curry’s ankles.

If the Warriors put so much pressure on Curry and his fragile ankles, they’re going to be disappointed.

Ankle injuries generally don’t revert to “fresh” form. Maybe that could be the case if it’s just a minor tweak or a grade one sprain, but serious setbacks are setbacks for life. And with that said, Curry’s multiple sprains have been serious. Not once has he rolled his ankle, but multiple times which is equally as bad as twisting it seriously just once.

The injury plagued point guard may be on the court, but his effectiveness might’ve taken a couple steps back given his ankle issues, particularly his already wobbly defense.

Quick feet are essential for point guards in general, not just Curry. Look at some of the game’s best. Chris Paul, for example, led the league in steals last year. OK, quick feet and quick hands. But Lob-city wouldn’t have been Lob-city without Paul leading the fast-break with his corps of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan finishing his pin-point feeds. The next crop of point guards possess some of the best quickness the league has ever seen. Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose headline that group. Westbrook could fit in as a running back in the NFL, while Rose wouldn’t be mistaken for an olympic runner.

The point is, Curry can’t keep up with players such as Rose, Paul, and Westbrook. In his defense, few can. Defense, however, has always been a blemish on his scouting report. Per Basketball reference, Curry’s DWS (Defensive Win Shares), checked in at 0. 4 last season. Even for someone who isn’t known for defense, that number is pretty bad. And it has progressively down-spiraled since he entered the league.

If you thought his defense was bad before, watch how much worse it will be when he hesitates to grip the floor. One bad step, and back to the sidelines, basically.

If Curry’s playing time isn’t a constant, then, the Warriors’ much improved bench will take a massive dent. Jarrett Jack would slide into the starting spot. On the surface, that scenario wouldn’t be that bad. Jack did average career-highs in assists (6.3) and PPG (16.5) last season. So the drop-off in production from Curry to Jack wouldn’t be too substantial. But if Jack slides up on the depth chart, then Charles Jenkins follows the same suit. Basically, the backup point guard situation goes from rock solid with Jack serving as the backup, to mediocre with Jenkins taking over that role.

However, head coach Mark Jackson and the rest of the team, can’t assume that Curry is going to be a durable asset. Lingering affects may apply to the injury-prone guard which would lead to more rest even if he’s relatively healthy. Plus, durability has never really been his strong suit seeing that he’s never averaged more than 36 MPG (Minutes Per game) in his young three year career.

If Curry’s ankles hold up, then Golden State’s roster is a much more formidable bunch. Since trading leading scoring Monta Ellis, no one has stepped up in his shoes with the high scoring games and clutch shots. Curry could easily solve that problem, but he hasn’t been healthy enough to do so.

The Warriors certainly possess a lot of weapons, but those weapons only go as far as Curry will take them. The newly added Andrew Bogut can dominate, but pick and rolls need two players. David Lee can harass defenders in the mid-range and the post, but someone needs to feed him the ball. Dorell Wright can shoot the lights out of the gym, but he needs someone to open those types of opportunities up for him.

Curry is that someone. His ankles though, might not allow him to be that someone.