By: Jack Henkels
Remember that show that used to be on one of those lifetime or history channels called “Doomsday Preppers,” or something? It was always just a bunch of really paranoid people who stocked up their underground bomb shelters with enough canned food and bottled water to survive while some sort of zombie apocalypse droned on above ground. I always thought those people were batshit crazy.
Well, well, well. Now I am one of those people. Tonight, I’m running to my local grocery store and buying every non-perishable food item on the shelf. I’m having Amazon deliver 1000 cases of water. That’s 24,000 waters. This should last me the foreseeable future.
Why, Jack? Why the sudden change in philosophy? Well, it all started last night when Wizards big-man Marcin Gortat shoved Zaza Pachulia to the ground on an offensive rebound attempt, sending Zaza tumbling to the ground and into Kevin Durant’s leg. Now, KD is out indefinitely with a plethora of knee injuries. (Thankfully, there’s no torn ligaments, but it still appears as if Durant will be out an extended period of time).
In fact, last night at about 1:30 Eastern time, the Warriors notified savage swingman Matt Barnes that they’d be signing him throughout the season. This was the first moment of “Ah, shit. Durant really is hurt”. Now, while my basketball love is bursting at the seams to see Matt Barnes, Draymond Green, and David West operate on the same team, that’s far from the most intriguing storyline of this development.
Gortat, knowingly or not, just ushered in the Stephpocalypse. The back-to-back NBA MVP has had a “return to earth” sort-of 2017 season thus far. It’s not that him, Durant, and Klay have failed to coexist (I mean, God, they’re 50-10). It’s just that they haven’t coexisted seamlessly. Steph, whether he’ll admit it or not, has been less willing to go “full-steph” this season, and Klay has been less prone to launching in transition – something we saw specifically in the playoffs last year.
Steph and Klay peaked in the Western Conference Finals last year. They were operating as THE most dominating backcourt in NBA history. I know, I know, they lost in the Finals to LeBron, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Steph and Klay, as a duo, peaked against the Thunder last year. The rest of the team (Harrison Barnes’ postseason struggles, Draymond’s inability to stop kicking people, Bogut’s frailty) is what really held the Warriors back, not Steph and Klay.
So fast-forward to this year, Steph and Klay have had to halt their NBA takeover in lieu of Durant. Now, that’s not to say the Warriors aren’t as good as they were last year. Again, they’re 50-10, but has Steph been as good? (No.) Has Klay been as good? (No.) If Steph was a 10/10 last year and Klay was a 9/10 (19 total), they’re probably each playing at about a 6/10 right now. But, they added the 2nd best player in the league. And he’s playing at about a 9. that’s 21 total.
You get the drift – the Warriors haven’t taken a step back, but Steph and Klay certainly have.
Oh, but would you look at that. KD is out indefinitely. (I am sad about that. Hate to see stars go down). The 2017 Warriors are Stephen Curry’s team once again. Everyone, run. Run for cover. Run for your lives! It’s going to rain until mid-June. Your hometown will flood with the rain of Curry’s 30-footers. Steph, now, won’t think twice. He’s the best player on his team again. He’ll probably tell you that “nah, KD didn’t really affect my mindset” … C’mon. He definitely did. Steph is back to having the ULTIMATE green light, which is something all of us basketball fans should relish in.
Beyond Steph just having the Durant weight off his shoulders, it’s a prime opportunity for him to prove everyone wrong. A lot of people think he can’t win alone in the playoffs. A lot of people think he’s soft. A lot of people think he can’t beat LeBron. A lot of people think he’s a scam. A one-trick pony who opponents have adjusted to. Someone who needed to add Durant to once again unseat LeBron.
Steph has the chance to put all of THAT ^^^ to rest. He’ll tell the media “I hope Kevin comes back soon” and “I’m just gonna keep playing my game” and “nah, nothing’s really gonna change, we’re just gonna keep playing Warrior basketball.” Yeah, whatever Steph. You’re about to go absolutely bananas for a few months.
In 2017, we’re going to get the opportunity to see Steph go “Full 2015-16 Steph” once again. NBA fans didn’t think we’d get the chance to see it again after the Durant signing. But, it’s happening. It’s all happening. Steph is coming to wash away all of our basketball sins.
Take cover. The Stephpocalypse is coming.