Analysis: Steph is always on view on TV, whenever the cameras are close
The plan has already been replayed millions of times on video and social platforms. And given that it was in the stands before a game, that obviously didn’t even matter.
Such is the decoy of Stephen Curry.
When he does something, everyone tunes in.
For those who haven’t seen what he did on Saturday night, here it is. It’s a tradition he carried on from the former home of the Golden State Warriors, Oracle Arena, and brought to the Chase Center. At Oracle, it was a tunnel shot at the end of his pre-game shooting session. At Chase, it comes from various places, most recently from one corner of the stands. A security guard shoots him and Curry lets him fly.
“He’s got reach,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.
Curry has it all. Reach, play, rings, charm, skills, a sparkling CV, great organization, great arena, great fan base and, again, a great team. He’s funny. This is one of the best interviews in the NBA. He birdied at Augusta National. He went to the Ryder Cup as a fan and actually thought no one would notice.
He’ll be 34 at the end of the season, average just under 28 points, and play like he has a real chance of winning the NBA MVP title this season. The Golden State Warriors, along with Phoenix, are a better NBA 20-4 after beating the Orlando Magic on Monday night. They played as well as any team in the league. They are a legitimate title contender. And in a few days, Curry will overtake Ray Allen as the 3-point career leader.
Curry has 2,958 after making seven more in Monday’s win over the Magic. Allen retired with 2973. Fans in Philadelphia on Saturday or Indiana on Monday are likely to see a treat – a bit of history, when Curry becomes the 3-point king.
There are arguments that will never be resolved. Wilt Chamberlain or Bill Russell, LeBron James or Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson or Pat Riley, the Celtic dynasty or the Bulls dynasty.
The best shooting point, however, is really no debate.
It’s curry. Case closed. The dunk was the coolest thing in basketball. It’s 3 now and Curry is why.
“There’s never been someone like him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
If the NBA had a sympathy metric, Curry would also be the leader there. He’s 6ft 3in and 198lb, not 6ft 10in and 275m tall. And while he’s built some noticeable muscle in recent years, he still has everyone’s vibe. He plays the way most people on the playground think they play: great ball handling, great shooting, except he’s actually great ball handling and a great shooter and the guy on the playing field sometimes does a deep 3 and pretends.
“I think he was still, for some reason, under the radar at first,” Popovich said. “He’s a little light. Back then, he wasn’t that strong. He still looked like he was 17 or 18. You didn’t look at him and you didn’t say ‘Hey , he’s going to do that. ”But as the years went by and you realized that he was one of the greatest shooters you’ve ever seen, it became clear that everything to do with discs would be available to him. “
Popovich is right. Almost all existing 3-point records belong to Curry, or soon will be.
No one has made more than 3 points for a team, or in a season, or in the playoffs. He made 30 3s against Minnesota in the 2018-19 season, the most players against an opponent in a season. He made 163 all-time against the Clippers, another all-time record against an opponent. He’s already passed Allen for most of the all-3s, including the playoffs. The only record he hasn’t got is most 3s in a game; his best is 13, the record is 14, set by Klay Thompson.
“He’s one of the greatest players in the history of the game,” Kerr said. “And he’s the greatest 3-point shooter of all time.”
This is what should scare the NBA teams deep inside this Warriors squad. Curry is still going strong, the team is rolling and Thompson is weeks away from finally getting back on the pitch. A good team will be much better. And Curry will be even better when that happens, because the defenses know they can’t leave Thompson alone.
“I just like where we are right now,” Curry said. “We have good vibes around what we’re doing. There is good energy. We’ve bounced back really well from tough losses. We’re running our business right now.”
It’s an old cliché that regular fans don’t start watching the NBA until Christmas, and there is some truth to that. That said, there have already been some compelling stories involving big names this season. Kevin Durant, who just won another Olympic gold, gives the impression that the score is easy in Brooklyn. Phoenix, who just won the NBA Finals last season, just won 18 straight games before losing to the Warriors. Defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, when their whole squad is together, looks capable of winning the title again.
But Curry is a must-have TV anytime, even when he’s just taking pictures from the stands before games.
And the Warriors will likely be worth watching until the end.
Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for the Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds (at) ap.org
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