Prior to the start of last season, a number of people we waiting to pile on Steph Curry, believing the Warriors star's decline was inevitable.
Well, that didn't happen.
After playing in just five games in the 2019-20 season, Curry returned to lead the NBA in scoring and almost single-handedly carried the Warriors to the playoffs in 2020-21.
The Steph Show, also known as the greatest act in sports, had one of its finest seasons, as Curry dazzled on a nightly basis with circus shots and long-range bombs, sending a message to all those who whispered about his demise.
At 33, Curry is doing everything in his power to make sure his prime continues to roll on, and he knows that begins with maintaining and elevating his on-court "superpower."
“At this point, I mean, understanding my physical stature – still 6-3, still a buck ninety – there’s not much to add in terms of how I do things,” Curry told The Athletic's David Aldridge and Marcus Thompson. “It’s all just about being as efficient as possible, with how I move, how the ball moves and where I’m getting my shots at. So I’ll say I just try to do what I’ve been doing even better. That’s always been the kind of approach to the work that I do over the summer. And a lot of it is the mental work, for sure. … trying to anticipate what the season will look like based on the team, and the style of play you want to kind of bring to life. And for me, it’s always conditioning.
"That’s the biggest thing. Like, I have to, as you get a little older and older in this league, that’s the hardest thing to maintain throughout the summer. So you have to work a little bit smarter every year, especially the way that I play. ‘Cause I cover a lot of ground on the court. It is my superpower out there, to be able to just outrun guys night after night. So that’s the unlock for me pretty much every year – how can I elevate that part of my game as I get older?”
Curry has worked with his personal trainer Brandon Payne since 2011, and the trainer saw a difference in Curry's physicality last season.
"He’s actually being more physical as a ball-handler on the perimeter," Payne told NBC Sports Bay Area in June. "He’s actually playing with leverage and that’s allowing him to get additional driving opportunities, and then when he gets into the lane, he’s now strong enough and explosive enough to create controllable contact and to put the defender where he wants to put them so he can finish the ball opposite of where the shot blockers are.
"You’re seeing a guy who defenses don’t really have many answers for because if you play him tight on the perimeter, then he’s going to get really physical with you out on the perimeter and he’s going to create driving opportunities for himself to finish at the basket."
After re-announcing himself to the NBA last season, Curry and the Warriors are laser-focused on vaulting back into the thick of the NBA title picture.
As long as Curry stays healthy, it would be foolish to count the Warriors out. As he showed last year, the sun is far from setting on Curry's best years.