Stephen Curry's Health Is Key to Golden State Warriors' Season

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Stephen Curry's Health Is Key to Golden State Warriors' Season
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors have something promising brewing in Oakland. Now if only they can keep Stephen Curry healthy.

The star guard was picking up right where he let off from last year's electrifying postseason that made the Warriors must-watch TV anytime he caught fire. Unfortunately, a concussion sustained earlier this week has kept him out of action.

Curry missed Wednesday night's clash with the Memphis Grizzlies, who limited the Warriors to 81 points in victory without the lights-out shooter in the fold. According to Lakers.com's Mike Trudell, Curry may also sit out Friday night's showdown against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 25-year-old superstar has not completed every hurdle necessary to return from his concussion. Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News reported that the Warriors still must involve him in contact drills before he is cleared to resume play.

Curry, who sustained a mild concussion Monday, must participate in contact drills and be symptom free to pass the league's concussion protocol. The Warriors don't do contact in shootaround and nothing was set up for Curry to take the final tests. Whether that is because Curry was still showing symptoms after Thursday's work or they wanted more time to evaluate him is unclear.

Curry had just helped the Warriors improve to 8-3 after notching 22 points against the Utah Jazz on Monday. While he is not shooting opponents out of the gym with 19.9 points per game, he's shooting 45.8 percent from the court and averaging 8.7 assists per game through 10 bouts.

Concussions are always scary, but a mild one should not sideline him for too long. Nevertheless, it's not the first time he caused Golden State fans to bite their nails in fear, and it probably won't be the last.

Earlier this month, Curry bruised his left ankle, the same one that bothered him last postseason. That's not, however, the injured ankle that caused him to undergo two surgeries in the past. 

If he can stay healthy, the Warriors are top contenders in a deep pool of Western Conference juggernauts. With Curry, and backcourt cohort Klay Thompson firing away from behind the arc, the Warriors lead the league with 127 three-pointers made. Averaging 105.8 points per possession before Friday's game, they're as dangerous as ever on the offensive end.

But Marc Jackson has finally instilled some defensive tenacity into his squad. He can thank Andrew Bogut, who is staying healthy for once and blocking 1.8 shots per game. Also deserving credit for their defensive revival is newcomer Andre Iguodala, who leads the squad with 25 steals. After allowing 105.5 points per 100 possessions last year, the Warriors now rank fourth with a 98.8 defensive rating.

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If all goes according to plan, Bogut and Iguodala can become the missing pieces that propel the Warriors to a title run. Bogut provides the big defensive presence down low they needed against Tim Duncan during the playoffs, and Iguodala's all-around game is the perfect complement to their flashier scorers.

Of course, that all depends on the 185-pound Curry holding up through a grueling season, and an even more taxing postseason. It'd also be fantastic if Bogut stuck around, but there's no replacing a man who drained 287 three-pointers last season.

Armed with enough defense to keep games close, but enough offense to eliminate a towering deficit in minutes, the Warriors are poised to build upon a telling playoff run that announced their presence among the West's growing list of great teams. 

In order for that to happen, Curry must remain intact and lead this squad to glory. All basketball fans can agree that the NBA is a much more enjoyable place with him around.

Note: All advanced statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.

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