While the NBA seems to be giving up on the idea of the Golden State Warriors ever losing a game, comes the injury of Harrison Barnes that might put some pressure and more difficulty on the group of players that’s been coasting through the league and records like there’s nothing to it.
It’s only a sprained ankle, which means between a week and a few weeks. The Warriors have already said they’re not going to rush him into it. Why would they when they’re 18-0, and have the depth to handle such an injury?
It does hurt their love for their deadly small ball unit and gives Luke Walton/Steve Kerr some rotation headaches, but not too much. It means more minutes for Andre Iguodala (27.9 minutes, 9.1 points per game), who would be a starter on a lot of other NBA teams and probably for Shaun Livingston and Brandon Rush as well, although someone like James Michael McAdoo can benefit slightly from another Tar Heel going down.
Barnes is averaging 13.4 points and 5 rebounds per game as one of the four players with more than 30 minutes of playing time per game, due for a contract extension at the end of the season or becoming a restricted free agent. He’s important, but it always feels like it comes after Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green (maybe the man who makes it all possible) and Iguodala. It throws a small stick into the wheels of whatever vehicle you want to describe the Warriors as. It might help rush in their first loss of the season. However, it might only make them better, by forcing the others to play even better than they have until now. And that’s a very scary thought for anyone thinking about challenging for the NBA championship this season, East or West of the Mississippi.