Golden State Warriors, The Whiteboard

The Whiteboard: It’s easier to see Steph Curry’s impact when he’s not playing

Steph Curry makes dazzling plays on the floor, but his impact goes beyond his own numbers.

Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry can certainly make dazzling plays and stuff a stat sheet when he’s on. Those things have a lot of value and have contributed to the Warriors becoming such a juggernaut over the last half-decade.

It’s the things Curry doesn’t do that has made Golden State into a dynasty. Not his shortcomings, but rather the impact he has on the Dubs simply by being on the floor. Curry’s gravity was a subject of great debate for a long time, but the more the Warriors play without him the realer this invisible factor seems.

Curry got injured playing the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 8. Counting that game, the Warriors are 2-5 without him. Golden State had a single 2-5 stretch last season, where Curry played just one of the seven games. Unsurprisingly, it was one of the two games the Warriors won in that stretch. Even with Kevin Durant on the team, Golden State struggles to win without Curry.

Fans of net rating as a statistic have long since known how important Curry is to the Warriors. From the 2014-15 season until this year, the Warriors have been plus 16.4, plus 17.7, plus 17.7, plus 13.2, and plus 13.5 per 100 possessions with Curry on the floor. Either zero or one rotation player has made Golden State better in each of those seasons.

On the other side of things, here’s how the Warriors fared without Curry over those same years: minus 3.8, minus 5.5, minus 2.7, plus 0.1, and minus 0.9 points per 100 possessions. Only once, in the 2015-16 season, did the absence of any one player (Draymond Green) make the Dubs worse.

Watching the Warriors without Curry gives the same impression the numbers do — Golden State goes from a world-beating powerhouse to a team that legitimately struggles to win games. It’s easy to credit all sorts of players for the Warriors winning, but only one makes them so very mortal when he’s not on the floor.

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