Now in his sixth season out of Davidson College, Stephen Curry's evolution into a genuine two-way player is starting to yield rewards. Later this month, Curry will head to his second straight All-Star Game, this time as the leading vote-getter among NBA fans.
And he deserves it, too. On a team that has become one of the early favorites for the title, Curry is posting MVP-like numbers with averages of 23 points, eight assists and two steals per game. Still, he knows his numbers won't mean much if he can't produce them when it matters most.
Curry told Elite Daily:
It all just leads up to post season play and being able to be at your best at that time of year so that series by series you impact the game and fight for that championship, which is every player's dream. As a [point guard], trying to do my part in that journey is my only vision.
Curry doing his part during the playoffs would only be a great thing for most basketball fans. It would mean more entertainment — more hot shooting streaks, crazy crossovers and amazing highlights — for a player who is producing them with increased frequency.
Indeed, Curry is getting better and it's fitting, too, as his maturing into a big time player has coincided with the Warriors growth as a contender in the West.As of Monday morning, the Warriors sit a comfortable three games ahead of the second place Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference.
While the fact that the team wins, and does so in bunches, is undoubtedly a good thing, Curry says it isn't the only thing. For him, the way in which the Warriors play, and the sense of identity and style they establish because of it, are just as important as the actual outcome of that play. Curry said:
We want to win as many games as we can, but how we're playing is much more important than how we're winning; Taking care of the basketball, rebounding the basketball at a high level, defending, having a flow an rhythm to our offense [so] that when we get into the playoffs we'll be ready for any style of play or any situation that'll be in front of us.
So far, good. Golden State has ranked among the top five teams in both offensive and defensive efficiency for practically the whole season thus far. What's even more remarkable is the team has achieved its number-one ranking on defense while playing without the cliché "rim protector" for huge chunks of the season (both David Lee and Andrew Bogut have missed over 15 starts so far this season).
Instead, they've relied on their length at the guard positions and a mental toughness that Curry says is key to the team playing above a level that many would expect.
It's all about heart and desire to get the job done, no matter what it takes... Finding that edge is how you get it done. We can't rely on sheer size and strength. We've got to out-work people, we've got to be more physical and just have a commitment to play bigger than we might be on the floor.
If there's any Warrior who knows what it's like to play "bigger" than some would expect this season, it's Klay Thompson. Now in his fourth year, Thompson performances have seen a huge jump in quality, with his record-setting 52-point performance against the Sacramento Kings in January the crowning moment of his season so far.
Thompson's improvement as a player comes just after an offseason during which most NBA fans thought the Warriors were foolish to not trade him for Kevin Love when they had the chance to. That, Curry says, might have served as motivation for Klay to prove his worth and make his offensive game more complete.
Yeah, I'm sure that has something to do with it... We all know he can shoot the ball, we all know he can defense, but the way he puts the ball on the floor now, makes plays and get's to the foul line, attacking the paint, he's tough to guard and a lot of teams are learning that lesson this year.
And, though, both "Splash Brothers" will be headlining All-Star weekend in New York, as the pair competes in the three-point contest and the East vs. West game, Curry will be competing in another, more unique shooting event.
Curry will go head-to-head against fellow All-Star John Wall in a contest that will see the two stars battle it out for the title of Ultimate Game Changer. And if Curry's stellar play during the season is any indication, this competition won't be one to miss.
Ok @StephenCurry30 – let's settle this on the court. #ad http://t.co/y7EjSdC9iV — John Wall (@JohnWall) January 26, 2015
Curry and Wall will go shot-for-shot in the ‘Degree® Battle of the Game Changers’ on Saturday, February 14, during NBA All-Star Practice. One of these All-Stars will be named the ‘Ultimate Game Changer’ in front of a live audience at Madison Square Garden and on NBA TV. Starting Monday, February 9, fans can vote at Twitter.com/DegreeMen and tune in to NBA TV on February 14 to see which fan shot was selected.