Warriors

Seth Curry explains why Warriors harder to guard when Kevin Durant out

Seth Curry explains why Warriors harder to guard when Kevin Durant out

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday afternoon at 4:30, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

The Warriors are a better team when Kevin Durant is in uniform.

Golden State can obviously still win a lot of games when KD is out -- just ask the Rockets. And the team embraces the challenge of trying to win games without him.

But when the reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP is on the court, they go to a whole other level.

Having said that, Trail Blazers guard Seth Curry made some interesting comments to Sam Amick of The Athletic after the Warriors' Game 1 win in the Western Conference finals.

“I think they are harder to guard (without Durant),” Seth said. “They move around faster when he’s not out there. They’re definitely not a better team, but they’re harder to guard.

"Obviously, they play a different style of basketball when Steph and Klay (Thompson) are the focal points offensively, and we haven’t played that team in a while.

"We’ve got to reshift our focus and make some adjustments coming into Game 2.

Not letting Steph Curry dribble into wide open 3-pointers would be a good start for Portland.

With Durant sidelined on Tuesday night, Golden State shot 50 percent overall and went 17-for-33 from 3-point territory.

Steph racked up 36 points and seven assists and drilled 9 of 15 attempts from beyond the arc. Klay, meanwhile, scored 26 points and could have had more if he made some wide open looks.

Durant will not play in Game 2 and his status beyond Thursday night is still up in the air. If he misses the whole series, the Warriors are still heavy favorites.

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But that wouldn't be the case if the four-time scoring champion isn't available should the Dubs advance to the NBA Finals.

Durant would be extremely important against Milwaukee or Toronto. Duh.

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The Warriors' biggest needs heading into the draft

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USA Today

The Warriors' biggest needs heading into the draft

The Golden State Warriors season ended less than a week ago, but the quest to improve has just begun. 

The first order of business: selecting a draft prospect. The Warriors - who currently have two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft - are entering Thursday's event in unique peril. 

Their top two free agents - Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant - are expected to be out for the majority of next season, heightening the need for a rookie to make an impression right away. 

For now, here are Golden State's biggest needs entering Thursday's draft. 

Scoring 

Even if the Warriors re-sign Durant and Thompson re-sign this summer, shooting will be at a premium next season. Last year, aside from Thompson, Durant Stephen Curry and DeMarcus Cousins, no other Warriors shot averaged double figures in scoring. 

In recent drafts, Warriors general manager Bob Myers has opted to prioritize defense over scoring, including Patrick McCaw in 2016 and Jacob Evans in last year's draft. 

Last season, the defensive-minded Evans struggled from the field as he reworked his shooting form, making just 34 percent of his shots. 

Initial reports peg Thompson out at least until March and Durant for the rest of the season, taking away 47 points per night from Golden State's offense. With that in mind, a reliable shooter should be a focus in Thursday's draft.   

Big man

With DeMarcus Cousins not expected back next season and Andrew Bogut returning to Australia, the Warriors should be in the market for a starting big man. 

A year ago, the Warriors looked towards its young bigs Jordan Bell, Kevon Looney and Damian Jones to compete for the starting role until Cousins recovered from a torn Achilles. While Jones won the starting role out of training camp, a torn pectoral muscle ended his regular season, forcing Bell and Looney to alternate the role. 

This summer, Looney - Golden State's most reliable postseason big - will enter free agency for the second straight season. Meanwhile, there's a chance Jordan Bell won't be back if the Warriors don't exercise his $1.8 million qualifying offer. With that in mind, a frontcourt addition could be welcomed Thursday. 

A player that can contribute right away

Last season, Myers selected Evans with the hope that the former Cincinnati guard could contribute instantly. That didn't happen, as Evans averaged just 1.3 points, 0.8 rebounds in 0.8 last season as he struggled through injuries and a full reconstruction of his jump shot. 

As Evans struggled, undrafted forward Alfonzo McKinnie, Quinn Cook, and Shaun Livingston got the bulk of his minutes, leaving Evans to go down to the G-League to get playing time. 

While Evans remains in Golden State's plans going forward, the Warriors will need a key contributor with Durant and Thompson out. 

Rockets GM Daryl Morey admits Warriors' injuries changes philosophy

Rockets GM Daryl Morey admits Warriors' injuries changes philosophy

In Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Raptors, Warriors superstar Kevin Durant sustained a torn right Achilles tendon.

In Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Raptors, Warriors star Klay Thompson sustained a torn left ACL.

Even if both players re-sign with the Dubs in free agency, they are expected to miss most -- if not all -- of next season.

Does Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey change his philosophy this offseason because of Golden State's injuries?

"Yeah, it does a little bit," Morey admitted Tuesday morning on The Dan Patrick Show. "In the past we knew like 90 percent plus we gotta beat Golden State to win the title. Obviously, those odds are a little different.

"And Golden State does force you to play differently, fives (centers) in particular have trouble against Golden State -- some of that is Draymond, some of that is just all their off-ball switching."

At this point, unfortunately, Morey lost reception on the call. And when the conversation continued, they moved on to a different topic.

We are still weeks away from knowing next season's title favorites, as free agency doesn't open until June 30. The balance of power might shift dramatically.

Morey volunteered that the Rockets are currently pursuing "one of these top free agents," which can only be acquired via a sign-and-trade because of Houston's salary cap situation.

He also said that Houston will be using the midlevel exception this summer and that should land them a very solid rotation piece.

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The Rockets' roster is nowhere near completion, yet Morey remains very confident in his team's title aspirations.

"We feel like we're the favorites in the West going into next season," he said.

With the uncertainty surrounding Golden State, he certainly isn't the only one who feels that way.

And the Rockets have to believe that in 2020 the Warriors won't eliminate them from the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.

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