Steph Curry somehow improves on MVP and championship season
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry hardly keeps track of how many 3-pointers he’s putting up on a given night. His mindset is: See a chance and let it fly.
So, how about if he’s on a record pace for 3s by season’s end?
“I always believe 3 is better than 2,” Curry said with a smile after a recent game. “If I can knock ’em down, I’m sure that will help our team kind of open up games and it’s kind of deflating for a defense. I know it is for us when a guy gets hot on the other side.”
The reigning NBA MVP has had a hot hand so far this season while playing for the league’s most dominant team. The defending champions appear to be even better than they were during their 67-win title run.
Curry is determined to show the rest of the league he’s a far more polished player, capable of spectacular performances and leading the new-and-improved Warriors during another special season.
“I’m always confident. I’m not really surprised when I do something crazy,” Curry said. “That’s how I practice is the way I play out there, and trying to let that show.”
Curry’s sensational start has his name mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan, and interim Warriors coach Luke Walton projects he’ll be the best shooter of all time. That is, if he isn’t already there.
“I think he’s setting the new standard as a shooter in this league,” Walton said.
Doc Rivers of the rival Clippers said he can’t remember another player with the combination of Curry’s shooting range and slick ball handling. The only comparison Rivers can make is to a star from his youth: Pistol Pete Maravich.
“I can’t think of anyone else that has done it on that level,” Rivers said. “There are guys that have been near that level, but no one else is on that level.”
Curry rarely slowed down during the short offseason, using the summer to improve his game and welcome a new daughter to join celebrity sister, Riley.
The baby-faced point guard just shrugged and chuckled when the subject of all his 3-point attempts came up following last Friday’s win against Denver.
“I shot 16,” Curry said. “I’m making a few more, so that helps. I’m getting decent looks. Shoot 50 percent or more I’m sure it doesn’t matter how many I take. I’m not really searching for them, which is good, just the flow of the offense, rhythm, knocking them down and keeping the offense going.”
The 27-year-old Curry has hit 52 of 110 from long range through 10 games in his seventh NBA season, putting him on pace for 426. That would shatter his record set last season of 286 on 646 attempts.
“If I beat what I did last year, then we’re doing something,” Curry said.
Curry causes game-planning fits for every opposing coach.
“I was hoping he’d be on a championship celebration all summer, and he’s been working on his game,” Rivers said. “That’s too bad for all of us.”
Grizzlies coach David Joerger joked about using three defenders on Curry before a 50-point loss at Golden State earlier this month.
Rivers has already noticed Curry’s offseason efforts, such as making the adjustment to defenses constantly switching on him.
“We’ve seen great shooters in the league. We’ve seen great ball handlers in the league. We haven’t seen great shooters that are ball handlers,” Rivers said. “He’s both and I don’t think we’ve seen a combination of what he can do. At least I haven’t.”
Curry is more popular than ever, all around the country and around the world.
His merchandise is the top NBA seller for online retailer Fanatics.com, with a 453 percent increase for his gear this season from the start of last season while his jersey sales are up 581 percent. Golden State gear is also the top seller for NBA apparel.
The Warriors won 129-116 at Minnesota on Thursday night for the best start in franchise history, becoming the fourth team to begin a season at least 10-0 immediately after capturing a championship.
Curry has already made 24 more 3-pointers than any player ever through the first 10 games of the season. With 333 points, he’s scored the most in that span of any player since Michael Jordan’s 338 to begin the 1992-93 season.
“Michael Jordan was a whole ’nother thing and this guy is his own thing,” Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett said. “It’s beautiful for basketball and beautiful for the sport.”
In terms of a ceiling for Curry’s abilities, Walton said, “I don’t know, I don’t think there is one.”
“What he does is incredible — the range, the off the dribble. The bigger the moment it seems like more often they go in as well,” Walton said. “I think he’s setting the new standard of being the greatest shooter this league’s ever seen.”
AP Sports Writer Josh Dubow and AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.