In the modern NBA, where stretch bigs and 3-point shooting are priority, size can be overlooked quite a lot. Size in this case matters, as the San Antonio Spurs are set up to be the perfect kryptonite for the now Kevin Durant-less Golden State Warriors.
San Antonio can pound the ball in the paint with big men LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol, slow down the pace and limit the Warriors typically high-scoring tendencies. The Spurs currently are ranked number two in defense, holding their opponent to an average of 98.3 ppg.
Furthermore, Golden State is already a team that lacks legitimate size (JaVale McGee and Zaza Pachulia, really?), and is now set to be without their leading rebounder, shot-blocker and scorer. The Warriors’ gamble on giving up size, as well as blowing up their formidable bench, to go all in for an arguably top three player this summer has come back to bite them. They were already relying hard on their “four-headed monster” to carry the team back to the NBA Finals. Now, they’re without their best player, they have no depth, they have no solid rim protectors and are forced to look to point guard Steph Curry, forward Draymond Green and shooting guard Klay Thompson to play more minutes. Not bad options by any stretch, but adding minutes on a team that lost depth is treacherous for a squad that’s made two finals trips a row.
The Warriors have been thrown into a situation where they must adjust without KD, and even if he does come back before the playoffs, his recovery to hit 100 percent won’t happen overnight. On top of that, if the Warriors do slip to the second seed and the rest of the West stays stagnant, they’d face off against Oklahoma City in a first-round matchup that will most certainly be emotionally draining for the entire Warriors squad. Even if they do end up breezing through the first two rounds, they’d still probably face San Antonio in the conference finals, with San Antonio having home court advantage.