Golden State Warriors Witness the Stephen Curry Effect


For the first time this season, the Golden State Warriors played a game without their superstar, Stephen Curry, and it was not a pleasant sight.

Curry is currently sidelined with a bruised lower left leg. The Warriors lost their second game of the season last night to the Dallas Mavericks by a final score of 114-91. Not only did they lose though, they were dominated and didn’t even look like the same team that has gotten off to the best start in NBA history.

Klay Thompson and Draymond Green didn’t step up offensively last night, as needed, with Curry out, and the Warriors didn’t play with the same ease and flow to the game that makes them so entertaining to watch. They looked vulnerable and lost at times. The team understands that they will all have to step up, not just individually but as a team, in Curry’s absence, and this was a good wake-up call to prove that.

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The Warriors were down by as many as 30 points last night. Curry is averaging 30.5 points per game this season, so that was certainly the difference. However, the Warriors’ struggles last night extended far beyond just missing Curry’s scoring average.

Without Curry, who is the most lethal shooter and ball handler in the league, the Warriors’ offense doesn’t run nearly as smoothly. In addition to just generally missing his shooting and passing, the Warriors also don’t have the same spacing on the court without Curry (due to his shooting and his ability to create openings for teammates with his drives), they don’t have their primary ball handler and floor general, and they lack that intangible threat that he poses on the court.

Teams always have to know where he is on the court, they sometimes even have to trap him at half court, he can destroy defensive rotations, and as mentioned before, he creates opportunities for other teammates by just being on the court.

When Curry has been on the floor this season (1,043 minutes), the Warriors have outscored their opponents by 482 points. When Curry has not been on the floor (460 minutes), the Warriors have been outscored by 101 points. This, again, is due to his lack of scoring but also the lack of his effect on a game, his teammates, the opponent, and the Warriors’ offense, in general.

Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton perfectly described what Curry’s absence means to this team. Tim MacMahon of ESPN with the report:

"“He’s one of the rare players in this league that affects the entire game just by being on the court,” Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said. “We run our offense because we know that in a certain manner, and we have spacing and we have role players that complement each other nicely. Obviously without him out there, the spacing won’t be as good, the drags that we like doing so much aren’t as effective.“Pretty much everything we do gets affected by a player like that, but we’re confident that even while he’s out, we should still be able to compete better than that and win ballgames.”"

Curry is listed as day-to-day, but it’s not clear how much time the reigning MVP will miss. It seems fairly likely that he won’t play against the Houston Rockets tonight, but his status is still unknown.

The Warriors, as a team, have several other players currently out with injuries such as Harrison Barnes (sprained ankle), Leandro Barbosa (sprained shoulder), and Festus Ezeli (sore left big toe). Green played in the game last night but is also currently dealing with a slight ankle sprain. Those are all players that see regular minutes in the Warriors’ rotation, but Curry’s absence obviously hurts the Warriors the most.

Next: Reflecting on Warriors' Decision to Not Trade Klay Thompson

When Curry is not the court, the team, the league, and the fans all truly witness how important he is to the Warriors’ success. The Warriors still pose a serious threat to any team when Curry is on the bench, but with him, they play like the reigning NBA champions.

“The Curry Effect” can be seen positively when he’s on the court and working his magic. However, “the Curry Effect” is even more apparent when he has to sit out games.