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Flip Murray Attempting NBA Comeback

At 36 years old, Ronald “Flip” Murray tells Basketball Insiders that he’s attempting an NBA comeback.

Alex Kennedy



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This offseason, a number of notable veterans have expressed interest in returning to the NBA. Ray Allen, Stephen Jackson, Richard Hamilton and Carlos Boozer are among the players who are reportedly thinking of making a comeback for the 2016-17 season. It makes sense that these players would want to return to the league, especially now that the NBA salary cap has reached an unprecedented high. Also, many of these individuals never lost the itch to play and want to compete at the highest level once again.

In addition to the aforementioned players, you can add Ronald “Flip” Murray to the list of veterans looking to get back into the league. Murray, who is 36 years old, told Basketball Insiders that he’s determined to make an NBA roster one last time.

Murray, a 6’4 combo guard, made a name for himself in the NBA with his ability to score the ball from all over the floor and provide instant offense as a sixth man. Over the course of his eight-year NBA career, he averaged 9.9 points and 2.3 assists while playing just 22.7 minutes per game. His per-100-possession stats for his career are impressive – 23.2 points, 5.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds – since his minutes were relatively limited.

Throughout his time in the NBA, Murray had stints with the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls. And that doesn’t even count the times he was signed by a team and cut before playing in a game, such as when the Memphis Grizzlies inked him to a deal on Oct. 1, 2012 and waived him later that month without playing him a single minute.

Murray hasn’t played in an NBA game since the 2009-10 season, when he suited up for the Chicago Bulls and averaged 10.1 points over 29 contests. However, Murray has remained in shape because he played overseas and in the D-League. Between these stints, he also participated in a number of professional competitions, including The Basketball Tournament (which has a $2 million prize, is broadcast on ESPN and includes many overseas stars and D-League standouts).

I work out every day,” Murray told Basketball Insiders. “I’m in Philly right now working out with a group of guys, a lot of college guys and guys who play overseas. Some guys who actually play for Philly work out at the same center down here. Some workouts are at La Salle and some workouts are at Temple University, but we’re working out every day. Usually, we go lift from like 8-9 a.m. and then we do workouts from like 9:30-10:30 a.m. and then play a little bit of pick-up afterwards. Dionte Christmas, who played in the league and played overseas as well, is one of the guys. The Morris Twins [Marcus and Markieff], Dion Waiters, Hakim Warrick, Mark Tyndale – who played at Temple as well as overseas and in the D-League – are some of the guys there.”

One reason Murray hasn’t played in the NBA for quite some time is because he fractured his hip during the NBA lockout, sidelining him for nearly half of a year.

“It was a bad situation because at the end of the day, that’s when we went into the lockout year and during the time of the lockout, we were doing a lot of charity games where we would be playing against different cities,” Murray said. “I actually ended up suffering a major injury, fracturing my hip. When I fractured my hip, I was out for about four to five months and it took me a while to get back to 100 percent after that.”

In an effort to get his confidence back and ensure he was completely healthy, Murray decided to play in the D-League with the Austin Toros. He essentially treated it as a rehab stint. It went even better than he could’ve imagined, as he helped the Toros win the 2012 D-League championship in his lone season there. He averaged an impressive 21.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals in 38.8 minutes while shooting 43.3 percent from the field as the team’s go-to option offensively. Perhaps most impressive is that he says he was only at 80 percent at that time since he was playing himself into shape.

“I didn’t mind playing in the D-League,” Murray said. “A lot of people thought I was done playing basketball because I suffered that hip injury and nobody really saw me play for a while. Because of that, I wanted to just go out there and show people that I could still play and that I still love the game. It was a good experience for me; I had a chance to connect with some younger guys that were trying to make an NBA roster at the time. It was more of a leadership role for me playing down there with the young guys, but I also still had a nice experience playing there because there’s a lot of talent. And a lot of those talented guys I was playing against made it up to the NBA.

“When I came back from the injury, I went to the Austin Toros of the D-League and we won a championship in the D-League. At that time, I still wasn’t feeling 100 percent. I was probably around a good 80 percent. Following that, I just went overseas and played abroad for a couple years.”

As he mentioned, Murray would play with teams in Turkey, Ukraine and Lebanon, and he really enjoyed his time in these countries. He continues to receive interest from international teams to this day, but he doesn’t want to leave his family behind to go overseas again.

It was a great experience,” Murray said of playing abroad. “I got a chance to travel the world and see different countries and cultures. Turkey was beautiful. Ukraine was okay – where I was at, it was a little rough in the city, but I was able to travel and see other parts of Ukraine too. And Lebanon was just beautiful. Beautiful. The competition level over there is good as well. Turkey had good competition and the game is very physical over there. I mean, those guys play hard. Every second of every game, they never take a play off over there. Those guys play extremely hard. Like I said, there is a lot of talent over there and I’m glad I got the chance to experience that and play overseas.

“But I just didn’t want to go back overseas because of the situation with my wife and my family. I didn’t want to leave them here and go back, you know? So that’s why I didn’t take the option of going back overseas. But I have been playing a lot and working out daily. I played in The Basketball Tournament, which includes professionals and college alumni teams. I also played in the Danny Rumph Classic in Philadelphia, and other competitive tournaments and leagues too.”

In his last professional action, Murray played for Al Mouttahed Tripoli in Lebanon’s Division A. He averaged 24 points, 4.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals while shooting 34 percent from three-point range (on 9.4 attempts per game).

Teams looking to add an experienced veteran may give Murray a look, as he has played in 487 regular-season games and 45 playoff games in the NBA. He’s a savvy vet, and he insists he’s willing to embrace any role a team asks of him including helping young players develop (something he enjoys).

“I would definitely bring a lot of veteran leadership because I know the game of basketball,” Murray said. “The way the game is now, I feel like I could fit perfectly in. I could be someone who comes off the bench and produces for the team. I’d also like to mentor the young guys and pass on some of the experiences and lessons I learned from playing against some of the guys I matched up against during my time. If I come in right now, I could bring a lot of veteran leadership and still be able to produce on the court.

“The way the game is set up now, I think my game fits perfectly for the NBA. The way the game is going now with a lot of pick-and-roll and a lot of iso and [creating your own shot], that opens up the floor for the spread fours who can shoot the three. With a lot of isos, it opens the floor up a lot so you are able to make plays for yourself as well as others. I believe I could come in and fit perfectly.”

Murray knows that a job won’t be handed to him given his age and his time away from professional basketball. Because of this, he’s absolutely open to working out for NBA teams or attending free-agent minicamps to show what he has left in the tank.

“I have no problem doing that,” Murray said of working out for an NBA team to show what he can do at this stage of his career. “I’m working out every day anyway, so I have no problem going to work out for an NBA team and show what I can do.

“Given an opportunity, given a chance, I would love to go out there to show that I can still play this game at that level. I can still go in and produce, even at the age of 36. I’m still very athletic and still very quick, and I still want to play this game.”

It may be tough given his age and the basketball mileage on his body, but Murray has never let slim odds stop him. After all, he turned a Division II collegiate career into eight years in the NBA that netted him nearly $10 million. You can’t knock Flip’s hustle or work ethic.

It’s this determination and underdog story that has impressed so many of Murray’s peers. Many players – former and current – have nothing but positive things to say about Flip and they know how much damage he can do when he gets hot with the ball.

“I’ve always been a huge Flip Murray fan,” said Chauncey Billups, who played with Murray on the Pistons in 2007 when they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. “He’s always been a Jamal-Crawford-type guy. He can come off your bench and score with the best of them. As long as he’s in great shape, I’m confident he can really help a team win.”

Speaking of Crawford, he has a lot of respect for Murray since they are both sixth men known for scoring at will. Murray never won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year trophy, but he did finish seventh in voting for the award in 2009. That was one year before Crawford won the award for the first time; now, Crawford has been honored as Sixth Man of the Year an NBA-record three times, including this past season.

“Flip was always nice, always had game,” Crawford said. “He didn’t play much in Milwaukee or in Seattle at first. Then, Ray Allen went down for a while and Flip averaged like 20 points a game and they were winning in that stretch! I always enjoyed watching him and I had a lot of respect for his game.”

“He’s one of the most prolific scorers I saw on a daily basis,” said Brent Barry, who played two seasons with Murray on the Sonics. “He could get anywhere he wanted and used his body very well. I’m happy to hear that he is still chasing his dream and continuing his career. I will never forget ‘Flip Your Lid’ filling in for Ray to start the 2003 season.”

What Crawford and Barry are referring to is when Allen had to miss an early stretch of the 2003-04 season, which thrust Murray into Seattle’s starting lineup. At this point, Murray was in just his second NBA season and nobody expected him to do a whole lot. After all, he had appeared in just 14 NBA games as a rookie, averaging just 1.9 points in 4.4 minutes. The Sonics were hoping that Murray could be a serviceable stopgap until Allen returned.

Murray had other plans.

He dominated and led Seattle to five wins in their first six games. Murray averaged 23.9 points, 4.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals through the first 11 games of the season. In his 18 starts that year, he averaged 19.2 points, 4.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 35.6 minutes. When asked to perform on the biggest stage in basketball and fill in for a future Hall of Famer, Murray shined and turned heads around the NBA. That’s why over a decade later, Barry says he’ll never forget that stretch of impressive basketball and why Seattle native Crawford sounds like an excited fan when he talks about it.

Some have compared Murray’s remarkable stretch to Jeremy Lin’s “Linsanity” run in New York, but it honestly may have been even crazier. While Lin went undrafted, he played at Harvard and was somewhat of a known commodity after having success with the Dallas Mavericks’ Summer League team, playing particularly well against rookie John Wall and earning a spot on the Golden State Warriors’ regular-season roster. Murray not only went undrafted, he attended Shaw University (a Division II school) prior to joining the Sonics. Before bursting onto the scene in 2003, his previous career-high was six points. He had scored 27 points total in his NBA career before stepping in for Allen in the starting five. So the fact that he scored 20 or more points in 10 of the first 11 games that season – and topped 27 points on five different occasions that year – was incredible.

Once Murray showed what he could do when given minutes and touches, the Sonics used him more and other teams eventually showed interest as well. That’s what allowed him to suit up for so many different teams and sign numerous contracts – both in the NBA and, later, abroad.

Now, he’s hoping for one last NBA contract and a final chance to prove himself once again.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.


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NBA AM: Calderón’s Late NBA Start

Jose Calderón might be the only player in the league who didn’t grow up dreaming of playing in the NBA.

Joel Brigham



There are a lot of different ways to get to the NBA, but most of them involve lifelong scouting and an unceasing dream to play in the world’s premier basketball league.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard José Calderón didn’t really have either of those things.

“I never even thought of the NBA when I was a kid,” Calderón told Basketball Insiders. “I grew up in a small town in Spain, and I played basketball because my dad played and I loved it. I was having fun, always playing with the older guys because I was good at that age, but I never really even thought about playing any sort of professional basketball.”

Having grown up in Villanueva de la Serena, Spain, Calderón watched his father play for Doncel La Serena, which was his hometown team as a child. He was something of a prodigy, having attended practices and games with his father from a young age, and as burgeoning teenager he left home to play professionally for the lower-level Vitoria-Gasteiz team.

“They wanted to sign me at 13 years old, and we didn’t even know that they could sign people that young,” Calderón remembers. “So I did that, and I tried to get better. I tried to advance into the older clubs, but I never really did think about the NBA at all, honestly.”

That changed as he got older, though, especially after Spain finished 5th in the 2002 FIBA World Championship and Calderón started to get some stateside recognition.

“After that summer, [my agent and I] got a call from Milwaukee asking about my situation, and asked would I think about coming to play over here. It was sort of a let’s-see-what-happens sort of situation, but I couldn’t at that time because I was under contract. That was the first time I was really approached.”

As his teammates from the Spanish National Team made their way to the NBA, Calderón grew increasingly intrigued.

“Pau Gasol obviously opened a lot of doors for us,” he said. “Raul Lopez came, too. I was just playing basketball, though. I didn’t know anything about scouts. Later, when we started to get the calls from Toronto, I started to realize how possible it really was. That’s when I thought, ‘Hey, why not?’”

Despite being eligible for a few drafts in a row, Calderón never did get drafted, which was fine by him. Growing up the way he did, Calderón never had any dreams of his hearing his name called by Commissioner Stern, so playing his way through most of his deal with TAU Vitoria was no big deal for him. He could take or leave the NBA.

“Not getting drafted was the perfect situation for me,” he said. “In my satiation, coming from Europe, I was already playing professionally for a good team and making some good money. That was perfect for me at the time, and I was happy to be a free agent at 23, choosing where I was going to sign instead of going in the second round and having to play for one team.”

He signed with the Raptors in 2005 since they were the most aggressive in recruiting him to the NBA. As a 23-year-old rookie, he wasn’t overwhelmed physically the way a lot of rookies are, but he did find his new league challenging in other ways.

“The hardest part was just having to start over,” he said. “You start over from zero. It doesn’t matter if the other players know you or don’t, you have to prove yourself all over again. You could be the MVP of Europe, but to get respect in the NBA you have to gain it on the court.”

The talent differential was immediately noticeable, as well.

“There are so many guys out there that are better than you. It’s not just like a guy or two; there are six, seven guys on the floor any given time that are better than you.”

That meant making some changes in the way that Calderón played. He was asked to do a lot more offensively for his EuroLeague team. Playing with so many talented scorers completely changed his approach.

“I went from taking 20 shots a game to doing something else, and as a point guard in the NBA I had to approach that point guard role even more, to make those guys respect my game, to make them want to play with me. I had to be able to pass the ball, to do something different from all the other players, so I became a fast-first point guard to make sure we always played as a team. That’s how I get to where I am as a professional.”

Now 36 years old, Calderón is one of the league’s oldest players, making it easy for him to look back at where he came from to transform into the player he is today.

“I’ve grown so much, but I was lucky to be given the opportunity,” he said. “When you arrive from Europe, whether you’re good or bad, it doesn’t always matter if you don’t have the opportunity. Toronto gave me the opportunity to play 20 minutes a night, and that’s a lot. I made a lot of mistakes, but they let me play through those mistakes. All those little things added up for me, and I learned a lot.”

He owns two silver medals and a bronze in the three Olympics he’s participated in over the course of his career, as well as gold medals in FIBA World Cup and EuroBasket, but he’s never won an NBA championship. Joining up with LeBron James improves those odds, but that’s the thing that would really put an exclamation point on an excellent career.

Calderón could have stayed in Spain and been fine. He jokes that while the NBA has been very good to him, he and his family could have stayed in Europe and he could have made good money playing basketball there. He’s been happy with his career, though, however unorthodox his journey here, and he hopes his most prestigious accolades are yet to come.

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Emeka Okafor Impacting 2018 Western Conference Playoff Race

Sidelined for several years with a neck injury, Emeka Okafor is back in the NBA and helping the Pelicans fight for a playoff seed.

Jesse Blancarte



When DeMarcus Cousins ruptured his Achilles tendon, most people in and around the league assumed the New Orleans Pelicans would eventually fall out of the Western Conference Playoff race. It was a fair assumption. In 48 games this season, Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks while shooting 47 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Anthony Davis and the Pelicans had other plans. Davis put the team on his shoulders, played at an elite level and, arguably, has forced his way into the MVP race. Behind Davis’ efforts, the Pelicans are currently 39-29, have won 7 of their last 10 games and hold the sixth seed in the Western Conference.

While Davis has been carrying the team since the loss of Cousins, he has received significant help from his teammates, including Emeka Okafor.

More recent NBA fans may be less familiar with Okafor since he has been out of the league since the end of the 2012-13 season. For context, in Okafor’s last season, David Lee led the league in double-doubles, Luol Deng led the league in minutes per game and Joakim Noah made the NBA All-Defensive First Team. However, Okafor entered the NBA with a lot of excited and expectations. He was drafted second overall, right behind Dwight Howard. Okafor played in 9 relatively successful NBA seasons until being sidelined indefinitely with a herniated disc in his neck prior to the start of the 2013-14 season.

Okafor was medically cleared to play in May of last year and played in five preseason games with the Philadelphia 76ers but was ultimately waived in October, prior to the start of the regular season. However, with the injury to Cousins, the Pelicans were in need of help at the center position and signed Okafor to a 10-day contract. Okafor earned a second 10-day contract and ultimately landed a contract for the rest of this season.

Okafor has played in 14 games so far for the Pelicans has is receiving limited playing time thus far. Despite the lack of playing time, Okafor is making his presence felt when he is on the court. Known as a defensive specialist, Okafor has provided some much needed rim protection and has rebounded effectively as well.

He has been [helpful] since the day he got here,” Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said about Okafor after New Orleans’ recent victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. “I think his rim protection has been great. But, he’s capable of making a little jump shot and you can see that today. But just having him in there, his presence there has been great.”

Okafor has never been known as an elite offensive player, but he did average 15.1 points per game in his rookie season and has shown glimpses of an improved jump shot in his limited run with the Pelicans.

“You know, I’m happy it’s falling,” Okafor said after he helped seal the victory over the Clippers. “Kept in my back pocket. I was invoked to use it, so figured I’d dust it off and show it.”

Okafor was then asked if he has any other moves in his back pocket that he hasn’t displayed so far this season.

“A little bit. I don’t want to give it all,” Okafor told Basketball Insiders. “There’s a couple shots still. But we’ll see what opportunities unveil themselves coming forward.”

Okafor will never have the elite offensive skill set that Cousins has but his overall contributions have had a positive impact for a New Orleans squad that was desperate for additional production after Cousin’s Achilles tear.

“It’s impossible to replace a guy that was playing at an MVP level,” Gentry said recently. “For us, Emeka’s giving us something that we desperately missed with Cousins. The same thing with Niko. Niko’s given us something as far as spacing the floor. Between those guys, they’ve done the best they could to fill in for that. But we didn’t expect anyone to fill in and replace what Cousins was doing for us.”

Okafor is currently averaging 6.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 54.5 percent from the field. While his averages don’t jump off the page, it should be noted that his per minute production is surprisingly impressive. Per 36 minutes, Okafor is averaging 13.4 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. Those numbers are nearly identical to his averages from the 2012-13 season, though he is averaging twice as many blocks (up from 1.4).

The Pelicans have exceeded expectations and currently are ahead of teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers in the extremely tight Western Conference Playoff race. Okafor is doing more than could have reasonably been expected when he first signed with the Pelicans, though he would be the first person to pass the credit toward Anthony Davis.

When asked about Davis’ recent play, Okafor enthusiastically heaped praise toward his superstar teammate.

“It’s to the point where it’s like, ‘Alright, he has 40 doesn’t he?’ It’s impressive,” Okafor said about Davis. But it’s becoming so commonplace now.

He’s just an impressive individual. He gives it all. He’s relentless. And then off the court too, he’s a very, very nice kid. He really takes the leadership role seriously. I’m even more impressed with that part.”

There is still plenty of regular season basketball to be played and even a two-game losing streak can drastic consequences. But the Pelicans have proved to be very resilient and Okafor is confident in the team’s potential and outlook.

“I think we’re all hitting a good grove here and we’re playing very good basketball, said Okafor.”

Whether the Pelicans make the playoffs or not, it’s great to see Okafor back in the NBA and playing meaningful minutes for a team in the playoff race.

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NBA Daily: Nothing’s Promised, Not Even For The Warriors

The Warriors are wounded, and with Chris Paul, the Rockets may be equipped to take advantage.

Moke Hamilton



The Warriors are wounded, and for those that thought their waltzing into a four consecutive NBA Finals was a given, the Houston Rockets may have other ideas. Especially when one considers that the beloved Dubs are trying to buck history.

Steph Curry has ankle problems, Klay has a fractured thumb and Kevin Durant—the most recent of the team’s lynchpins to find himself on the disabled list—has a rib injury.

Sure, the Dubs might shake off their injuries and find themselves at or near 100 percent once the playoffs begin, but seldom do teams in the NBA get healthier as the year progresses.

Winning in the NBA is difficult. In order to take all the marbles, teams need a bunch of different ingredients, chief among them are good fortune and health. And in many ways, the two are entwined.

Simply put: the human body isn’t built to play as often and as hard as NBA players do. Those that we recognize as being among the greatest ever—Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James among them—had one thing in common. They were all exceptionally durable.

Over the years, we’ve seen attrition and fragility cost the likes of Anfernee Hardaway, Yao Ming and Derrick Rose what seemed to be careers full of accolades and accomplishments. And the simple truth is that you never know which player, players or teams will be next to be undercut by injuries and progressive fatigue.

Just to keep things in perspective, the Warriors are attempting to become just the fifth team since 1970 to win at least three NBA championships in a four-year span.

The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Finals in 1985, 1987 and 1988 before Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls completed their three-peat from 1991-93. The Bulls would again do the same between 1996 and 1998, and Shaquille O’Neal and his Los Angeles Lakers accomplished the same from 2000 to 2002.

There are reasons why so few teams have been able to win as frequently as the Lakers and Bulls have, and health is certainly one of them. That’s especially interesting to note considering the fact that the Warriors may have been champions in 2016 had they had their team at full strength. Mind you, both Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala were severely limited in their abilities, while Andrew Bogut missed the fateful and decisive Game 6 and Game 7 of those Finals with injuries to his left leg.

At the end of the day, injuries are a part of the game. The best teams are often able to overcome them, while the luckiest teams often don’t have to deal with them. To this point, the Warriors have been both the best and incredibly lucky, but at a certain point, the sheer volume of basketball games is likely to have an adverse effect on at least a few members of the team.

We may be seeing that now.

En route to winning the 2015 NBA Finals, the Warriors turned in a playoff record of 16-5. In 2016, they were 15-9 and in 2017, they were 16-1. In total, the 62 playoff games would have worn a bit of tread off of their collective tires, just as their 73-9 regular season record may have.  In becoming a historically great team, the Warriors have expending the energy necessary of a team wishing to remain a contender, and that’s not easy.

As an aside, those that understand the difficulty in competing at a high level every single night are the ones who rightfully give LeBron James the respect he’s due for even having the opportunity to play into June eight consecutive years. Win or lose, in terms of consistent effort and constant production, James has shown as things we’ve never seen before.

Today, it’s fair to wonder whether the Warriors have that same capability.

We’ll find out in short order.

* * * * * *

As the Houston Rockets appear headed toward ending the Warriors’ regular season reign atop the Western Conference, there’s something awfully coincidental about the fact that the team seems to have taken the next step after the addition of Chris Paul.

Paul knows a thing or two about attrition and how unlucky bouts with injuries at inopportune times can cost a team everything. As much as anything else, it probably has something to do with why Paul continues to believe in the ability of the Rockets to achieve immortality.

On the first night of the regular season, mind you, in one horrific moment, Gordon Hayward and the Boston Celtics reminded us that on any given play, the outlook of an entire season—and perhaps, even a career—can change.

A twisted knee here, a sprained ankle there, and who knows?

With just over three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Warriors—the team that everyone knew would win the Western Conference again this season—has some concerns. Their primary weapons are hurting, their chances of securing home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs are all but nil and their road to the Finals may end up being more difficult than they could have possibly imagined.

If the season ended today and the seeds held, the Warriors would draw the San Antonio Spurs in the first round and the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round before squaring off against the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.

Of all teams, the Spurs are probably the last team the Warriors would want to see in the playoffs, much less the first round. While the outcome of that series would be determined by the health of Kawhi Leonard, there’s no doubt that Gregg Popovich would at least be able to effectively game plan for Golden State.

While the Blazers might not provide incredible resistance to the Warriors, the Oklahoma City Thunder will enter play on March 18 just two games behind the Blazers for the third seed out West. With the two teams squaring off against one another on March 25, it’s possible for Russell Westbrook and his crew having the opportunity to square off against the Dubs in the playoffs.

For Golden State, their path to the Finals having to go through San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Houston would absolutely be a worst case scenario. The only thing that could make it even more terrible for Steve Kerr would be having to do it with a platoon that was less than 100 percent.

Funny. In yet another season where everyone thought that it was the Warriors and everyone else, there are quite a few questions facing the defending champs heading into the final few weeks of the regular season.

Indeed, the Warriors are wounded. And whether they can be nursed back up to full strength is perhaps the most interesting thing to watch as the calendar turns to April and playoff basketball draws nearer.

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