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Stephen A. Smith says Golden State will be ‘OK’ even if Kevin Durant leaves

Stephen A. Smith, Kevin Durant

The Golden State Warriors will look markedly different next season no matter how the offseason plays out.

Kevin Durant will likely miss the entirety of 2019-20 after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the NBA Finals, and Klay Thompson is poised to be sidelined for most of it due to an Achilles tear he suffered during Golden State’s series-ending loss to the Toronto Raptors. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney are unrestricted free agents, and Quinn Cook and Jordan Bell are restricted free agents. Shaun Livingston is contemplating retirement.

Still, despite an imminent number of defections and players missing time due to injury, the Warriors should be highly competitive in the Western Conference regardless. Why? The presence of Steph Curry and Draymond Green, one of the most unique, effective, and all-encompassing tandems in all of basketball.

“Without KD, If Klay comes back, having already had Steph, presumably going to take care of Draymond Green… Yes, you may not win the championship, but you’re going to be in the postseason, you’re going to be in the equation,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said on Monday’s edition of First Take.

It’s easy to forget just how dominant Curry was as the Warriors’ alpha dog in 2015-16, when he averaged 30.1 points per game, shot 50.4 percent from the field, and attempted 11.2 three-pointers per game, all career-highs, en route to becoming the first unanimous MVP in league history. Green, after a relatively substandard regular season, played at or near his all-time peak in the playoffs, too.

There’s no guaranteeing Curry and Green reach those levels of play again. But even if they’re merely approached, Golden State stands to be a surefire playoff team next season.