After Steph Curry’s hand injury, suffered in just the fourth game of the season, the Golden State Warriors went from fringe playoff contenders to the worst team in the league in a heartbeat.

58 games later, the former MVP will return to the court for the Warriors as they host the Toronto Raptors. Of course, the last time Curry saw the Warriors, it was on the losing end of the 2019 NBA Finals.

Curry, who was originally rumored to suit up last Sunday night against the Washington Wizards, returns to a team with an NBA-worst 14-48 record. It’s an unfamiliar position for the point guard after years of Western Conference dominance. The team on the court looks completely different from last season, and even different from when the season began.

Draymond Green would be the only remaining healthy starter from Curry’s championship era with the Warriors. He’s listed as questionable against Toronto with a knee injury. Klay Thompson remains sidelined, Kevin Durant is long-gone, and even D’Angelo Russell is gone after a brief Warriors tenure.

Thursday night will be the first time Curry shares the court with the recently-acquired Andrew Wiggins. It will be interesting to see if the Warriors build a future that includes Wiggins, or if his career in Golden State will be just as short as Russell’s.

Predicting Curry’s Statline

Head coach Steve Kerr has  publicly announced a minutes restriction for Curry as he returns from injury. It’s not that a broken hand injury is especially prone to be re-aggravated, but there’s no reason to take any chances early. I would expect 20-25 minutes for Curry against the Raptors.

Though, if Curry catches a hot hand and the game is close, the fans and Curry himself may make it difficult for Kerr to take the All-Star point guard off the court.

I don’t expect Curry to shy away from the ball or be passive on offense. He didn’t have to come back this season at all. But in what was likely a mutual decision between Curry, Kerr, and the Warriors front office, he’s decided to put himself on the court.

Specific Prediction: Curry launches, and makes, a three-point attempt on the Warriors first offensive possession. While I can’t guarantee he makes it, Curry is a crowd-pleaser, I could absolutely see him pulling up from 25-30 feet within seconds of his NBA return.

As the game wears on, I don’t think Curry will take too many shots away from his teammates, but I fully expect a few three-pointers to be chucked up. Whether or not Curry hits these shots will have a big effect on his final statline.

Curry’s return could also elevate the other Warriors players, and ignite the home crowd. This could be a close game at halftime, but I do think the Raptors pull away in the second half. Toronto is a deep, well-rounded team, and Curry (on a probable minutes restriction) won’t be enough to lift the worst team in the league over the defending champions.

Predicted Stats

22 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds in 24 minutes

7-14 FG, 4-9 3PT, 4-4 FT

Warriors lose 108-87

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