Warriors

Steph still makes ridiculous look routine after all these years

Warriors
Warriors' Steph Curry

It took Steve Kerr six weeks after he was first hired as the Warriors coach to stop shaking his head at some of the shots Steph Curry would take. 

"I cringed all the time those first six weeks because all the shots that he took, I had the voices of all my former coaches in my head saying, 'That's a terrible shot,' " Kerr recalled in a video conference Thursday following the Warriors' 111-105 win over the Orlando Magic.

"Then after six weeks, I realized he was shooting about 40 percent on those shots. I finally realized any shot Steph wants is a good shot."

Running back on defense before the ball even goes through the hoop. Dribbling through an entire team's defense and scoring when it seemed impossible. Chucking shots up from the logo.

This is Curry's game.

In Thursday's win over Orlando, Curry hit 10 3-pointers in a game for the 17th time in his career and scored 40 points for the third time this season.

To put it simply: Curry has been dominant.

For some reason, Curry's current hot streak feels different. Maybe it's because the Warriors aren't the best team in the league anymore. Or maybe it's because he missed nearly all of last season. It feels more unexpected.

I still find myself shaking my head as Kerr did when he joined the Warriors. 

Juan Toscano-Anderson is in the same boat

 

"I never get over the shots that he's making," Toscano-Anderson said. "It is literally like a video game. And we're all on the bench chuckling and laughing like, man, he's unreal."

The reality is, Curry is playing his best basketball since he became the NBA's first-ever unanimous MVP in 2015-16.

Curry knows it, too. He considers himself to be in one of the best zones of his career.

"I don't compare it really to anything that has happened in the past, but in terms of how I'm playing, I've been saying it for a while -- I feel confident and strong and in rhythm," Curry said. "It's a good feeling."

The common argument for why Curry shouldn't be considered an MVP candidate this season is because of the Warriors' record. You need to be on a winning team to win that award. Curry accepts that -- it has always been part of the criteria.

But it has to be noted that Curry has been putting up the numbers he has without another player who naturally attracts defenders playing alongside him. 

Curry has been playing through double-teams, triple-teams and box-and-1 defenses nearly the entire season. But it doesn't seem to matter.

Andrew Wiggins knows that firsthand. 

"When he was my competition, you just go into the game trying to make it difficult for him," Wiggins chuckled. "You know he is going to his some crazy shots, but you just got to stay focused. You can play great defense for 23 seconds, but that last second he hits it. That can take someone's heart away."

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Curry doing that -- hitting a dagger with less than an inch between him and a defender, or salvaging a play you sure was dead -- will never not be shocking. Even if you know it's coming, it catches you off guard. 

Does it ever catch Curry by surprise?

"Sometimes, for sure," Curry said. "I like to have fun with the game and you see some of the celebrations that just come out naturally. Those moments."

It took Kerr just over a month to stop shaking his head in disbelief over what his point guard can do. We ought to take a page out of Kerr's playbook and stop being surprised. 

But it's difficult. Even though we all know what Curry is capable of, when he makes the ridiculous look routine it's hard not to quietly ask: Did he just do that?

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