Steve Kerr: Steph Curry better now than his unanimous MVP season


Steve Kerr: Steph Curry better now than his unanimous MVP season

Programming note: Watch the Warriors' final preseason game tonight at 7:30pm on NBC Sports Bay Area.

Steph Curry won the MVP in 2015.

Steph Curry won the MVP in 2016.

During the 2017 NBA Finals, he averaged 26.8 points, 9.4 assists, 8.0 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game.

“I think Steph is at his absolute peak right now -- physically, emotionally," Steve Kerr declared after practice on Thursday. "This is probably as good as he's ever gonna be. I think he's better now than he was last year or the year before. And that's saying something.

“He is the most impactful offensive player, in terms of what he does to the defense, maybe ever. There's guys, obviously Michael Jordan impacted things, but the way Steph plays puts the fear of God into defenses like nobocy I've ever seen. Nobody has been able to shoot off the dribble from 35 feet in a normal setting. But he does that, which changes the entire game. So everything we do revolves around Steph."

Shortly after the Warriors won the title, Steve Kerr said that Kevin Durant, not Curry, is the second best player in the NBA.

At the championship parade in June, Kerr singled out every player on the roster... except Curry.

Many people on "Warriors Twitter" think that Curry is underappreciated and underrated.

“You can talk about where he stands in terms of the best players in the league. He's obviously one of the best, by that standard he's the best," Kerr explained. "If you want to just say ‘who affects the game the most offensively?' Steph is the best player in the NBA. But there's different ways of measuring that stuff. From a two-way standpoint, if you like the two-way guys, maybe it's Kawhi Leonard or KD or LeBron because they're bigger or stronger and can protect the rim.

“Steph is an excellent defender though. He does not get the credit he deserves. There's a lot of guys in the playoffs who are great one-way guys. Steph, he's a two-way player. He gets his hands on passes, he deflects the ball, and all you have to do is just look at the impact he makes every time he's on the floor for us to know that everything we do, everything we run offensively, the other guy's ability to make plays -- Shaun, Andre, Draymond -- it all starts with Steph's gravity."

[REWIND: Kerr's message to Warriors fans who want more pick-and-roll for Curry]

“And then what's amazing about Steph, what continues to add to all that, is his personal character, his unselfishness and the way he approaches the game. His usage rate is maybe 30th in the league. I don't know exactly. He could easily be like, ‘why don't I have the ball? I'm the best offensive player in the history of the game?' We could run high screen every time.

“But he understands the power of the group. He understands that Shaun and Andre and and Draymond and Zaza and David are all great passers and as a group collectively, we are a better team when everybody sharing. And that's what makes Steph amazing. 

"I've said it many times -- he reminds me so much of Tim Duncan in that he's got this incredible package of skill, arrogance and humility. It's a weird combination but it makes sense and the result is this powerful force that drives our entire organization.”

Curry finished sixth in the MVP race last year and did not receive a single first-place or second-place vote.

It's possible that he never wins another MVP again.

But it probably wouldn't be wise to bet against Curry.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Curry's injury all but assures Cook's spot on playoff roster

Curry's injury all but assures Cook's spot on playoff roster

OAKLAND -- Welcome to the NBA playoffs, Quinn Cook.

Any question about whether the Warriors would add Cook to their postseason roster was clarified Saturday when an MRI test on Stephen Curry’s left knee revealed a Grade 2 MCL sprain.

Curry will be reevaluated in three weeks, which coincides with the beginning of the playoffs. It’s conceivable he will be out six weeks, in which case he would miss the entire first round and, should the Warriors advance, part of the second round.

The Warriors wouldn’t dare go into the playoffs with Shaun Livingston, the primary backup to Curry for four seasons, as the only designated point guard on the roster.

So the defending champs will turn to Cook, who was waived by lowly Atlanta last Oct. 13, four days later signed a two-way contract with the Warriors, and spent most of the past five months toiling away with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Cook’s value has been rising in recent weeks, though, as he has proved capable of producing at the NBA level. He’s the only member of the Warriors to score in double figures in each of the last five games, averaging 19.8 points, on 55.7-percent shooting, including 50 percent from deep, during that stretch.

He’s not Curry -- nobody is -- but Cook has been a terrific fill-in.

“We all love him,” Kerr said. “He’s a wonderful teammate. He’s not only a hell of a player, but the gets it. He’s a worker. He brings this great life and intelligence to the group, so he’s a big part of what we’re doing.”

Neither Kerr nor general manager Bob Myers has given any indication if they plan to add Cook to the roster. For Cook to be eligible for the postseason, the Warriors must pull him off his two-way deal and sign him to a standard NBA contract by April 11. The playoff roster must be submitted to the league by noon on April 13.

Under no circumstances can Cook be added without one of the 15 players currently under an NBA contact being released.

Meanwhile, Kerr and Myers have given every indication that they love, love, love the way Cook has responded to a need in the absence of Curry.

“He’s been great,” Myers told 95.7 FM The Game this week. “He’s been great all year, with the G-League as well. We actually targeted him as our two-way guys.”

Myers added another line that is significant: “It’s hard to find fault with Quinn as a human being.”

That testimony to Cook’s character matters because the Warriors are big on having players that fit into their culture. Cook, who turned 25 on Friday, has been a seamless fit.

Cook, for his part, credits at least a part of his success to the tutelage of Curry. The two became acquainted back in 2011, when Cook was a freshman at Duke and Seth Curry was a junior. Due to the lockout, the NBA season didn’t start until December, allowing Stephen Curry some time to hang around the college.

“It’s not like you’re always seeking him,” Cook said. “He seeks you. He knows that we all want to learn. He knows that he is where we want to get to, individually.

“When I got here, he took me under his wing. We developed a great relationship before, but now it’s even greater.”

Curry spends time going over game plans with Cook. They talk strategy. It’s an example of Curry’s leadership that he donates himself to a player who was signed mostly to play in the G-League and be available, if needed, for NBA games.

It’s too much to ask Cook to mimic Curry. It’s not too much to believe Cook can help the Warriors in the postseason, even if Curry is healthy.

With Curry out, and Livingston always on a minutes restriction -- any more than the mid-20s is a danger zone -- Cook is essential.

Curry out at least three weeks with Grade 2 MCL sprain

Curry out at least three weeks with Grade 2 MCL sprain

Stephen Curry will be reevaluated in three weeks after an MRI on Saturday revealed that the Warriors point guard suffered a Grade 2 sprain of his left MCL, the Warriors announced on Saturday. 

Curry sprained his left MCL with 3:09 remaining in the third quarter of Friday night's win over the Atlanta Hawks. Teammate JaVale McGee landed awkwardly on the two-time MVP's left leg, and Curry limped to the bench. He then headed to the locker room where he received further treatment, and did not return. 

Curry has missed 21 of the team’s 71 games this season. Before Friday, he missed the previous six games after spraining his right ankle against the San Antonio Spurs on March 2. 

Back-to-back ankle and knee injuries previously dogged Curry in the 2016 postseason. In his first game back from a right ankle sprain in the first round against the Houston Rockets, Curry suffered a Grade 1 right MCL sprain, and missed the next four games.