Steph Curry shares thoughts on Masai Ujiri-deputy NBA Finals incident


Steph Curry shares thoughts on Masai Ujiri-deputy NBA Finals incident

Steph Curry didn't witness the incident between Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri and a sheriff's deputy in the moments after Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

Curry was busy trying to process how his Golden State Warriors had just lost the NBA title to Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Curry told the newspaper that at the time, he was unaware of the incident, but that he saw a visibly shaken Ujiri after the Raptors' celebration.

“You know what’s crazy? I saw him after,” Curry told The Times. “I didn’t know anything about this situation. But looking back, I saw his face and I could tell something had happened.”

Over the last few weeks, varying sides of the story have come out. The Alameda Country Sheriff's Office told NBC Sports Washington that Ujiri struck and pushed the deputy as he tried to gain access to the Oracle Arena floor to celebrate the Raptors' championship win.

Later, an eyewitness told the Associated Press that Ujiri never struck the deputy. Then, this week, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office showed images to The Globe and Mail newspaper depicting an altercation between Ujiri and the deputy.

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Curry, surprisingly, brought race into the equation.

“If he didn’t do anything wrong, obviously, you’d hope that it was handled in a better fashion,” Curry told The Times. “Especially for a guy that was going out and trying to celebrate with his team that had done something historical. So I don’t know if that was a white G.M. or whatever, if that’s handled differently. You can always play the what-if game.”

2020 NBA MVP odds: Warriors star Steph Curry given second-best chance

2020 NBA MVP odds: Warriors star Steph Curry given second-best chance

Finding yourself in a group with former NBA superstars like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Moses Malone is something every basketball player would dream of growing up. According to Caesars Palace, Steph Curry has very good odds to do just that as he looks to become a three-time NBA MVP winner, putting him in rarified air along with Magic, Bird, and Malone.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who won the award this past season, remains the betting favorite to hoist the Maurice Podoloff trophy next June with +300 odds. 

Rockets guard James Harden has been in the top three of MVP voting in each of the past three seasons and sits just behind Curry with a +600 chance.

[RELATEDNBA 2K20 ratings: Warriors' Steph Curry, Klay Thompson ranked in top 15]

If any Bay Area fans are in Las Vegas or near a sportsbook between now and the start of the NBA regular season in October, betting on Curry might be the best decision you make all weekend with these odds.

Warriors could feel Kevin Durant's loss more on defense than offense

Warriors could feel Kevin Durant's loss more on defense than offense

Much has been made of the offensive firepower that has departed the Warriors since they lost to the Raptors in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. Kevin Durant has taken his talents to Brooklyn. Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston -- two critical members of Golden State's dynasty -- are no longer with the team. Klay Thompson, coming off a torn ACL, is expected to miss a large chunk of next season.

And yet, those collective departures could potentially have a more drastic effect on the Warriors' defense.

Yes, for the last several years, the Dubs have been renowned for their explosive offense, but they've always been a good-to-great defensive team under Steve Kerr. A lot of that is due to players like Draymond Green, but there's reason to believe Golden State's defense could take a step or two back next season.

Using FiveThirtyEight's new DRAYMOND rating system, the Warriors have lost three of their six best defenders from last season according to Bleacher Report's Will Gottlieb -- and that doesn't include Thompson, who will be out a while.

In losing Durant, Iguodala and Livingston, FiveThirtyEight projects the Warriors will lose 1.2 points per 100 possessions of defensive value based on the team's cumulative scoring defense alone. It's worth noting, however, that in order to qualify for that metric, a player must have played at least 10,0000 possessions over the last six seasons combined. So, the Warriors' 2019-20 DRAYMOND rating doesn't factor in Golden State newcomer Glenn Robinson III, nor any of the Warriors' 2019 draft picks.

As such, it's possible the dropoff might not be as severe as FiveThirtyEight projects, assuming those newcomers prove to be solid defensive players. Then again, it could also go the other way if they prove to be poor defenders. One must also consider the possibility that the seven veterans that are included in Golden State's 2019-20 DRAYMOND projection outperform their individual projections.

For instance, Draymond Green's career DRAYMOND rating of plus-3.2 points per 100 possessions is considerably better than his 2018-19 DRAYMOND rating of plus-1.76. The 2019-20 projection assumes Green will perform at an identical defensive level, even though it's reasonable to assume he'll outperform it, based on both track record and necessity.

[RELATED: Why Doug Gottlieb is very wrong about Draymond's place in NBA]

If the Warriors are going to get back to the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season, it will require certain individuals to step up defensively. Green will lead the charge, no doubt, and should enter next season as one of the front-runners for Defensive Player of the Year. But it's got to be a group effort, or else replacing Durant, Iguodala and Livingston's combined 35.7 points per game won't be the biggest of Golden State's problems.