The Warriors will be without star forward Kevin Durant for at least four weeks after Durant sprained his MCL against the Wizards. Maintaining the top seed in the Western Conference became a much tougher task due to Durant’s extended absence and it will be the most adversity Golden State has faced all season.
With the Spurs only three games back in the loss column for home-court advantage through the Western Conference Playoffs, the Warriors can’t coast through the end of the regular season as easily as many expected, which will make resting other stars as originally planned a tricky proposition. The Warriors are still the favorites to win the NBA title and the Western Conference, as they have three other All-Stars on the roster, but the odds have narrowed a bit since the injury.
Some have wondered if the injury and the encroaching doubt that the Warriors will hold onto the top seed without Durant, would give them extra motivation. Golden State’s vocal leader Draymond Green thinks that’s preposterous.
“What is this, Game 61? If you’re still looking for inspiration now, you’re f—ed,” Green told ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
Green insists internally nothing has changed about the Warriors mentality, and he could care less whether the majority of people outside of the Golden State locker room still think they’re the favorites.
“I’m just saying, has the majority ever mattered?” said Green. “No. It doesn’t. It never has. It never will. So, you know, they haven’t mattered before, why are they going to matter now?”
Having three other All-Stars is a pretty good reason for the Warriors to not be overly concerned about how they will handle Durant’s absence. Green may insist that they aren’t more motivated by detractors, but as aggressively as he responded to questions about people doubting them (and how much athletes love to play into the underdog role), I wouldn’t be surprised if they use this to put a little chip on their collective shoulder.