Warriors

Eight NBA stars who could've hit higher level without major injuries

Eight NBA stars who could've hit higher level without major injuries

The Warriors have dealt with their fair share of significant injuries these last couple of seasons.

Kevin Durant ruptured his Achilles, Klay Thompson tore his ACL and Steph Curry broke his hand within a six-month span. All of Dub Nation, as well as other NBA fans, hope that these stars will recover and carry on their Hall of Fame-caliber careers at the same level as they did before their injuries.

However, it's scary to think about how many major stars were not so lucky. Bill Walton's career was derailed by injuries, Larry Bird's back hindered his longevity in the league and Yao Ming's feet couldn't handle much more than eight seasons.

There are countless other examples, and Kerith Burke, Damion Lee and I discussed some of them on this week's episode of the "Runnin' Plays" podcast. We examined the players' careers that we would've loved to see be fulfilled and not hijacked by ailments.

Here are some of those players we listed, plus a few that I could not help but add.

CLICK HERE FOR MOST INTRIGUING PLAYERS WITH CAREERS CUT SHORT BY INJURIES

Damian Lillard matches Steph Curry in impressive 3-point shooting stat

Damian Lillard matches Steph Curry in impressive 3-point shooting stat

There has been an abundance of comparisons between Steph Curry and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard as of late, most of which are prisoner-of-the-moment takes based in ignorance.

Yes, Lillard has been absolutely incredible during the NBA restart in leading the Trail Blazers to the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

No, he has not surpassed Curry as the best point guard in the game.

That said, Lillard arguably is closing the gap. And now, he has done something that no player other than Curry has accomplished in NBA history.

Lillard ended the regular season Thursday having shot 40.1 percent from 3-point range on 10.1 3-point attempts per game, becoming just the second player in league history to post that kind of efficiency on such high volume. Curry, of course, is the other, and he has done it twice.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

In his unanimous MVP season in 2015-16, Curry shot a ridiculous 45.4 percent from long distance on 11.2 3-point attempts per game. Then, in 2018-19, he made 43.7 percent of his 11.7 3-point attempts per contest.

And he just barely missed accomplishing the feat a third time.

In 2016-17, Curry shot 41.1 percent from 3-point land, but didn't attempt enough 3s to qualify.

He literally was one attempt short.

[RELATED: Steph, Dame deserve better than these ridiculous debates]

So, technically, Lillard will only have to do it once more to match Curry. 

That is, unless Curry reminds everyone next season why he's the greatest shooter in NBA history.

Damian Lillard, Oakland native, gets Twitter shoutout from Raiders

Damian Lillard, Oakland native, gets Twitter shoutout from Raiders

The Portland Trail Blazers outlasted the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night to earn a spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament.

Shortly thereafter, the Las Vegas Raiders showed Oakland native Damian Lillard some love on Twitter.

The shoutout was much deserved, as Dame averaged 51.3 points and 9.0 assists over the Blazers' final three seeding games, while shooting better than 56 percent overall and nearly 49 percent from deep (on 14.3 attempts).

Those numbers never will seem real.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Although Lillard let it be known years back that he was not happy with the Raiders for leaving Oakland, he still roots for the Silver and Black.

[RELATED: Bill Simmons wonders if Dame is better than Steph right now]

Dame -- who went to Oakland High School his junior and senior years -- also made it clear last November he did not support the Warriors moving from Oakland to San Francisco.

The five-time NBA All-Star will be back in action Saturday at 11:30 a.m. PT, as the No. 8 seed Blazers face off against the No. 9 seed Memphis Grizzlies.

If the Blazers win, they advance to the first round of the playoffs to take on Los Angeles Lakers. If the Grizzlies win, then Memphis and Portland will do battle again on Sunday to determine who will play the Lakers.

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