Steph Curry’s vintage performance silences Warriors’ NBA Trade Deadline critics

0
27

Highlights Golden State Warriors decide to keep roster intact, despite skepticism and ridicule from around the league.
Curry puts on a masterclass performance, showcasing his ability to lead the team to wins.
Thompson and Wiggins’ declining performance raises concerns, but Curry’s presence gives hope for a deep playoff run.
The Golden State Warriors stood pat on Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline, despite months of speculation that they might trade Andrew Wiggins and franchise icon Klay Thompson to keep their winning hopes alive on the backs of Stephen Curry.
The Warriors decided to hold the line and keep their roster intact, despite having a losing record and sitting in the 11th seed in the Western Conference.
The inaction by the Warriors was met with ridicule around the league, especially from noted NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. He suggested that the Warriors would have a tough time making the Finals if they even make it to the postseason.
“I don’t think this is a championship team. I don’t think this is a conference finals team. They get in the postseason, with the kind of seeding that they’re going to get, it’s going to be tough to get out of the first round. “[…] But I think as long as Steph Curry wants to keep going and is determined with this group, then they’re going to maybe give it a little bit of a longer run than they would with a different team.” — Adrian Wojnarowski
On Thursday evening, Curry did admit that he had at least some input on the Warriors’ Deadline strategy and that he remained content with Golden State’s decision to bet on their existing roster.
Asked how involved he was with Trade Deadline talks that were permeating, he answered: “The normal conversations of ‘we’re thinking about this, there’s opportunity for that.’ […] I’m probably sure I get half of the news that [the front office] talks about in their meetings.”
The buck ultimately stops with Curry, but that hasn’t been an issue before. He has put the Warriors on his back in the past, and after Golden State faced criticism for not getting him any help, the two-time MVP showed in emphatic fashion that he doesn’t necessarily need more support.
Curry put on a masterclass in win vs. Pacers
The Golden State star finished with 42 points and shot 68.8% from three
The night following the Deadline, Curry went to work showcasing he could still lead a team to victory – virtually on his own.
In a 131-109 victory over the Indiana Pacers, Curry finished with 42 points on 15-of-22 shooting from the floor, including 11-for-16 from three. It was a vintage performance, which included a whopping 29 points in the first half, as Curry would check out of the game to a standing ovation from the Pacers crowd – a rare feat in professional sports.
“How many [first quarter] three’s did he hit? Six? Seven? And it was not like wide-open shots. It was not like regular shots that regular players make […] that makes him more special than everybody else,” said Warriors rookie Gui Santos post-game.
Curry has been named to his 10th All-Star Game this season. After his performance in Indiana, there’s reason to believe that the veteran sharpshooter has what it takes to lead the Warriors back to the postseason, where anything can happen – especially when you’re a dynasty like Golden State, who have won four NBA Championships in the last eight seasons.
The victory wrapped up a dominant 4-1 road trip for the Warriors, which saw them earn emphatic wins against the Memphis Grizzlies, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Pacers. They’re playing much better basketball of late, but they’ll undoubtedly need more.
Andrew Wiggins, Klay Thompson non-factors again
Two of the Warriors ‘big four’ continue to be quiet
The Warriors decision to stand pat at Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline was a sign of intent, according to Wojnarowski, that the Warriors – the NBA’s most successful dynasty of the 21st century – still believe internally that they can make a deep playoff run with their existing core.
“They have a hard time believing they have a better chance to win this season by trading out their underperforming players like an Andrew Wiggins or Klay Thompson. They think there’s still an avenue for them to play better – they get Chris Paul back [from injury as well],” said Wojnarowski on The Woj Pod Thursday.
As Wojnarowski mentioned, the Warriors believe they can get more out Wiggins and Thompson, however, that wasn’t really the case on Thursday evening.
Thompson was held out due to illness, while Wiggins was limited to 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor. He’s seen his usage rate decline over the course of the season given the emergence of Jonathan Kuminga, and he could very well end up settling into a more defined role, similar to how he did during the Warriors’ 2022 Playoff Run.
Decline of Thompson and Wiggins Player/year PPG 3PT% FG% REB AST Wiggins last All-Star appearance (2022) 17.2 39.3% 46.6% 4.5 2.2 Wiggins this season 12.4 31.9% 44.3% 4.3 1.5 Thompson last All-Star appearance (2019) 21.5 40.2% 46.7% 3.8 2.4 Thompson this season 17.1 37.7% 41.7% 3.5 2.3
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially with young players like Kuminga, Brandin Podziemski, Moses Moody, and Trayce Jackson-Davis giving the Warriors a lift this year. However, Thompson is a different story.
The 33-year-old sharpshooter has seen his numbers decline across the board in 2023-24. While Thompson still remains the Warriors’ second-leading scorer, averaging 17.1 points per contest, behind Curry who is averaging 27.7 points, this is his lowest-scoring season since his sophomore year in 2012-13, and the first time averaging below 20 points in seven years. A lot of his struggles could be attributed to his dip in his shooting.
Although Curry is good enough to carry the Warriors occasionally, like he did in Thursday’s win over Indiana, it’ll be very tough for the aging star to be able to replicate those types of performances night-after-night without his right-hand man.
But for what it’s worth, Curry’s faith isn’t wavering.
“This is our team. This our challenge. We have great energy. We have guys that love playing with each other,” wrapped up Curry. “And this last half of the season, it’s up to us to, again, try and build as many wins and be a team that nobody wants to see come playoff time – and we’ll take it from there.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here