Warriors fans probably don’t want to think about what the team will look like sans Steph Curry in the future. Perhaps last year’s dismal season without Curry and Klay Thompson is still cause for shudder.
But Curry can’t play forever, and unless he puts together a 23-year career, he’s already closer to the end of it than the beginning.
Last season was something of an aberration with the Warriors’ high-profile injuries coinciding. Now Curry is back, looking spry and thinking about his team’s championship window once again.
The Warriors reached the NBA Finals five straight years from 2015-19 before last year’s disaster. Golden State is 11-9 through 20 games and coach Steve Kerr has candidly called them “mediocre” at various times throughout the season, so it might not happen this year.
But for what it’s worth, Curry said he feels like he’s still in his mid-20s despite the fact he’ll turn 33 on March 14. Tom Brady is 43 and headed to the Super Bowl, but Curry acknowledged not everyone can be so lucky.
“You live in reality, so unless you're playing quarterback for the Tampa Bay Bucs right now, there's a fine line between when you're at your peak and when you need to get the most of yourself on the court,” Curry said. “Definitely think about it.”
The entire organization is awaiting the 2021-22 return of Curry’s Splash Brother from an Achilles injury. Reporter Klay made an appearance during Saturday’s game against the Pistons and it’s clear that he and Curry still have great chemistry.
When you think about a backcourt with the Splash Brothers, coupled with Andrew Wiggins on the wing, Draymond Green at power forward and James Wiseman at center, that’s a very solid nucleus in place for next year.
The Warriors have been subject to trade speculation, including hypothetical rumors of an outgoing Oubre and an incoming Bradley Beal, but appear to be keeping the status quo for now. With the Minnesota Timberwolves’ protected first-round pick also on the way, Curry and the Warriors look like they are in position to make another big run with Thompson’s return.
“Everybody has an opinion on what win-now moves mean,” Curry said. “Who is to say, there's no guarantee that anything works. It's a matter of everybody doing their job. That's from the top down. Upstairs to everybody in the locker room, figuring out what that means and buying into it. Roll with it.”
That’s not to say Curry and the Warriors have thrown away any shot at contending for the title this season. Curry knows there’s plenty of work to be done and realizes that an NBA roster is always a fluid situation.
“For where we are right now, we have a lot to prove this season in terms of how good we can be,” Curry said. “You live in that reality and also have to kind of a temperature check on some of the bigger agenda things that might be brewing. But at the end of the day, my job is to go play and figure out how to get our team where we need to be this year, get the best seeding in the playoffs and see what happens.”