Warriors

Warriors now are facing prospect of NBA Finals without Kevin Durant

Warriors now are facing prospect of NBA Finals without Kevin Durant

OAKLAND – It has been 30 days since Kevin Durant last suited up for the Warriors, and with a maximum of four games and nine days remaining in the NBA Finals, unwelcome reality is now conceivable.

Durant may be done for the year.

The Warriors aren’t saying he will miss what’s left of the NBA Finals, but the pattern of their statements since mid-May keeps sliding it closer to the possibility that the Toronto Raptors won’t have to deal with Durant.

It’s a mild calf strain. It’s more serious than we initially thought. He’s progressing. We don’t know when he’ll be back. He’s doing everything he can to get himself ready to play. We have to go with the guys we have. He had a really good workout today, ramped it up and it went well. He’s unavailable for Game 4, a game the Warriors desperately need to win trailing the series two-games-to-one.

It’s not as if Durant is shutting it down, as some have wondered and whispered. He is, by all accounts, as diligent with treatments and rehab as possible, sometimes going above and beyond what’s necessary. He wants to play, yearns for a chance to help the Warriors achieve their desired goal of a three-peat.

The Warriors, at this stage, must go forth as if KD will not be joining them for the remainder of the series against the Raptors. Maybe they’ve already adopted that mentality. He’ll be with them in spirit, and in person, but not active on the court, torching defenses as only he can.

“He's just trying to get healthy,” Draymond Green said. “I'm not really sure if he's been held out or he is – I mean, obviously, I think he's still recovering and whatever. But, yeah, I don't really know what's Kevin's day-to-day dealings with the training staff. I try to spend as (little) time in the training room as I can.”

Keep in mind that the Warriors are battling a health crisis. Green is playing through a cranky knee; he was wearing a wrap after practice Thursday. Klay Thompson missed Game 3 with a strained hamstring but is scheduled to play in Game 4 on Friday. Kevon Looney may miss the rest of the postseason with a fracture in his ribcage. Andre Iguodala is limping on a tender calf. Did we mention Stephen Curry’s dislocated finger? Or does that not register on the pain meter?

What the Warriors are trying to do is beat the odds, taking what’s left of their roster and defeating an opponent not only formidable but also fully healthy.

“Knowing he's not playing Game 4, we know what our rotations are going to be, everybody will lock in and go win that game,” Curry said. “And then when we get on the plane to go to Toronto, ask the same question. And we hope at some point he will be back, and when he does, like we said, we'll be able to transition our perspective with him available.

"But until then it's just on the daily, the moment is who is out there. Who is ready to play? And can we go win?”

The Raptors were going to be a credible threat even if the Warriors had everybody available. Toronto’s defense is built to test the Warriors’ discipline, and its offense – with five legitimate shooters on the floor the vast majority of the time – is almost built to exploit their switching defense.

If Durant is unable to play, or be effective, the Warriors would do well to push this to seven games. If they find a way to win, it will be an achievement of such magnitude it would dwarf their previous championships under coach Steve Kerr.

“It would suck if Kevin can't come back,” Thompson said. “I still think we would have a good chance to win The Finals, but obviously that takes a huge hit. I don't think it would make us the clear-cut favorite anymore without him. This team is very good.”

Yet there is an avenue to victory – Thompson actually plays and makes a positive impact. If he’s able to contain Toronto superstar Kawhi Leonard, it frees Green and Iguodala to jeopardize offenses with their anticipation, instincts and ability to shrink passing lanes.

If Thompson can toss in a few buckets, all the better for the defending champs. Without him in Game 3, the Warriors were straining to get offense from someone other than Curry. Thompson’s presence will provide the spacing that allows others to breathe, and maybe thrive.

[RELATED: Warriors fighting to go out on top despite uncertainty]

Back when it was thought KD might return in two or three weeks, the Warriors were a lock to win it all. They’re now into Week 5, with no end in sight. They don’t have much choice to but accept that whatever their fate, it will be determined without Durant.

NBA rookie survey: Steph Curry receives no love from 2019 draft class

NBA rookie survey: Steph Curry receives no love from 2019 draft class

Steph Curry forever changed the game. Just look at the next wave of basketball stars. From the playground to college, everyone is trying to emulate the Warriors' star point guard. 

Apparently this year's rookie class didn't get the memo. Many players from the 2019 NBA Draft certainly will try to shoot from deep like Curry, but the two-time MVP didn't receive any love in the annual rookie survey

For the 11th time, NBA.com surveyed the rookie class on multiple questions. And not one player named Curry as their favorite player. 

To make matters worse, here are two players who received votes: Steve Nash and Kevin Garnett. Both are all-time greats, but here's the problem -- Nash and Garnett are retired. Nash last played in 2014 and Garnett in 2016. 

[RELATED: Curry to fund Howard University golf teams for six years]

The real Steph stans probably are still in high school or even younger. Expect his votes to go up in the near future, since, well ... they can't go down.

Warriors' Steph Curry to fund Howard University golf teams for six years

Warriors' Steph Curry to fund Howard University golf teams for six years

Warriors star Steph Curry is considered one of the greatest shooters ever, but he's also known to dish some pretty sweet assists. Perhaps his best one yet comes off the court.

Curry announced Monday that he will financially support Howard University's golf teams for the next six years. The historically black university hasn't had a golf team since the 1970s, and now plans to have men's and women's teams beginning in the 2020-21 season. 

"This is a pretty exciting day. To be honest, I've been looking forward to this for a very long time, since January I should say," Curry said at a news conference Monday held at the school. 

The two-time MVP became interested in helping bring golf back to the school after meeting with Howard senior and golfer Otis Ferguson IV while Curry visited the campus to watch a documentary in January. Curry honored Ferguson on Monday and expressed how important of a role the student played in bringing golf back for the Bison. 

[RELATED: Here's how many wins projection system gives Warriors]

Curry played on his high school golf team and is an avid player of the sport to this day. He has played with President Barack Obama as well multiple celebrity tournaments. Curry even competed on an exemption at the Web.com Tour's Ellie Mae Classic in 2017 and 2018.