Years from now, when Stephen Curry is retired from basketball and devoted to his other favorite game, golf, it won’t matter where he was when he became king of the 3-point shot.
Whether it’s Indianapolis or New York or Boston or Toronto – the next four cities the Warriors visit on their five-game road trip – the record is coming to him and it will be a moment for the ages.
It’s reasonable to believe, however, that the NBA would love to see Curry make the seven 3-pointers he needs to make history in New York, where the Warriors face the Knicks on Tuesday night. Madison Square Garden is the most fabled sports arena in America, and the game is on national TV.
There is potential to blow up that scenario. One day earlier, the Warriors face the Pacers in Indy. A small market town, a reeling team and no national TV.
It has been whispered for several days now that the Warriors might rest Curry against the Pacers and bring him back the next night for the Knicks.
If this was a scheduled rest night, a smart move after examining the physiology and kinesiology and general body maintenance, let it be. Sit Curry, who will have played two games over the previous five days. The Warriors have a Monday-Tuesday back-to-back set, with two days in between a Friday-Saturday back-to-back set.
If the physicals prescribe rest, let him rest.
Anything less, let him play. Warriors coach Steve Kerr has made clear that his goal this season is to “chase wins.” Curry likes to play and graciously accepts his stature as the most captivating entertainer in American sports.
“I always want to play,” Curry said Saturday night, after a 102-93 loss to the 76ers in Philadelphia.
“But it’s also understanding the situation, the big picture, and reassessing after every game how your body feels,” he added. “I don’t want to give too much away, but you have things that you’re doing regular maintenance on and understanding where we are throughout the season.
“We’ll make the right decision, accordingly.”
There was no “I plan to play” and no “I expect to play.” His wish is clear, though. If it were up to him, he’d play. And he’d rain 3-pointers on the Pacers at every opportunity.
Curry opened the door to the possibility of sitting when he was asked how he felt after his 18-point performance against the 76ers.
“Like I’m 33 years old,” he said, “and just played 36 tough minutes on the first leg or a tough road trip.”
When Kerr was asked about Curry sitting on Monday, he kept open that same door.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know. We’ll figure that out tomorrow.”
To suggest Curry – or the Warriors – would manipulate their season-scheduling plan based on his pursuit of an individual record sells both he and the team short. To do so could be considered disrespectful to Indiana or the Pacers and it would put the Warriors at a very clear short-term disadvantage.
Moreover, sitting a healthy and able Curry flirts with disrespecting the game.
There is in sports no scheduling of career records. No cherry-picking of specific games in which one will fall, no rearranging of rotations, whether it involves a pitching staff or an NBA roster. It’s impossible to dictate what will unfold naturally, if at all.
Curry would like to put this record in his pocket sooner rather than later, in part because he knows what’s on the other side: JPB.
Just Plain Basketball.
And Curry loves everything about the purity of the game.