Bucher: Steve Kerr, Warriors Are "Genuinely Concerned" About Injuries

Bucher also discussed the MVP race, saying James Harden as winner is not a done deal

Tiki and Tierney
March 28, 2018 - 5:22 pm

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From Steph Curry (knee) to Kevin Durant (ribs) to Klay Thompson (thumb), the Golden State Warriors have dealt with their fair share of injuries this year. They still hope to reach the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive season, of course, but how worried should they be about their postseason prospects?

“It depends on who they is,” Bleacher Report senior NBA writer Ric Bucher said on Tiki and Tierney. “If you talk to Bob Myers and Steve Kerr and the coaching staff, they’re terrified. Terrified is a little strong, but they are genuinely worried. They’re (thinking), ‘Is this thing ever going to come back together? What are we up against?’ Now if you talk to them, they’ll tell you that the guys in the locker room are confident. 'As long as we get everybody back, it doesn’t matter what seed we are, doesn’t matter what we have to go through.' They’ve faced everything you can possibly face.”

The Warriors have come back from a 3-1 series deficit, squandered a 3-1 series lead, and avenged series losses. They’ve done it all.

“There’s nothing this group believes they can’t overcome,” Bucher said. “So in the locker room, I believe there’s a genuine confidence that if they get everybody back on the floor at some point that they’re going to be okay. But I look at it from my standpoint and I have seen this with teams before that have gone this deep into the postseason, and there’s been a price to be paid. The confidence is there; the mind is willing; the body is not. What I see is a physical breakdown, which is simply the result of having played so many games.”

The Warriors (54-20) have played 62 postseason games over the last three seasons. If the 2018 postseason goes as well as planned, it’s conceivable that Golden State could play the equivalent of five seasons in four years.

“That’s not normally done by anybody outside of LeBron James,” Bucher said.

Speaking of James, he is averaging 27.4 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds for Cleveland (44-30), which is third in the East. James said Tuesday that he would vote for himself for MVP, even though James Harden is the presumptive favorite. Harden is averaging 30.7 points, 8.7 assists, and 5.4 rebounds for Houston (61-14), which has the best record in the league.

So, who deserves the honor?

It might come down to your definiton of valuable.

“What definition are you working off of?” Bucher asked. “The league itself has never defined it, and everybody has their own. Mine in general is you (are) be the most pivotal player on one of the best teams in the league. I have made exceptions. I’m with you as far as considering LeBron James."

Bucher is also considering Durant, who is averaging 26.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He's also shooting a career-high 43.0 percent from three-point range.

"KD has had a greater impact," Bucher said. "The injuries and the time that he missed is giving me pause. But prior to the rib injury, if I look at the efficiency of Kevin Durant at the offensive end of the floor and I look at what he has done defensively – James Harden simply isn’t. Is he so great at the offensive end that you don’t consider the other end of the floor? For me, I have to consider that. That’s why I think LeBron is in the conversation and Kevin Durant is in the conversation. Not to say that James Harden won’t win or won’t be atop my ballot, but I don’t think it’s a done deal."