Warriors

Warriors star Steph Curry's best assist came with him out vs. Thunder

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AP

Warriors star Steph Curry's best assist came with him out vs. Thunder

Stephen Curry averages 6.1 assists per game, but his biggest assist Wednesday didn't even show up on the scoresheet. 

That's because the Warriors guard missed his seventh straight game in Wednesday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Yet, he still dished the rock ... albeit to a pair of fans.  

[RELATED: Warriors facing a hell of a problem, and only good health can fix it]

And to think, he didn't need to ink anyone to give these fans something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. The Warriors, meanwhile, would be thankful to get him back in the lineup sooner rather than later. 

They missed Curry's unselfishness on Wednesday, and the six games prior. 

In their first 12 games of the season, the Warriors averaged 29.7 assists per 100 possessions, the NBA's best mark. In the last seven games, the Warriors assisted on 24.1 baskets every 100 possessions. That was still the ninth-best rate from Nov. 10 through Wednesday, but worse than when Curry was in the lineup.

Curry still has a ways to go before he can return from a groin injury, but each passing game shows how much the Warriors miss his skillset. His unselfishness is just one part of why. 

Warriors' Steph Curry second-best leader to Damian Lillard, NBA GMs say

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AP

Warriors' Steph Curry second-best leader to Damian Lillard, NBA GMs say

Warriors superstar Steph Curry is revered by his teammates and organization, and considered a fantastic leader.

Damian Lillard -- by all accounts -- is beloved by his Blazers teammates and franchise, and viewed as an awesome leader as well.

So it wasn't a surprise to see the following results to one specific question in NBA.com's 18th annual GM Survey:

Which player is the best leader?

1. Damian Lillard, Portland -- 41 percent
2. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 37 percent
3. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 15 percent

Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Chris Paul, Oklahoma City

Sure, Warriors fans probably think Curry should reside in the No. 1 spot. But this finding isn't a knock on the two-time NBA MVP, as it's more highlighting the positive perception (and reality) of Lillard.

Besides, Dame hails from Oakland and practically is slander-free in these parts. He grew up going to Warriors games at Oracle Arena. That's really cool.

[RELATEDNBA GM survey: Curry receives the second-most MVP votes]

But we will remind everybody that Curry and the Warriors eliminated Lillard and the Blazers from the playoffs in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

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Steph Curry reiterates championship goal despite slow Warriors preseason

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USATSI

Steph Curry reiterates championship goal despite slow Warriors preseason

The Warriors have one game to go on their preseason slate. So far, not so good. 

Golden State is 1-3 this preseason, losing all three of their games against the revamped Lakers. The Warriors' latest defeat came Wednesday night in a 126-93 beatdown by Los Angeles at Staples Center. In their three losses to the Lakers, the Warriors have been outscored by 61 points. 

While the Dubs were drubbed by 33 points Wednesday night, star point guard Steph Curry could only watch his team get crushed. The two-time All-Star was on a planned night off. His view of Golden State's loss, however, didn't change his view of the Warriors one bit. 

“A championship is still the goal,” Curry told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. “It’s always been. We’ve experienced it all and we’re going to keep pushing to get back there. That’s the goal. It’s the North Star. The narrative might have changed internally, but we’re still chasing the same goal.”

The biggest difference for Curry and the rest of the new-look Warriors, which had players such as Jacob Evans, Alfonzo McKinnie and Marquese Chriss in the starting lineup in their fourth preseason game, is how they start the season. Simply put, the Warriors can't coast. 

In years past when it nearly felt like a guarantee the Warriors were bound for the NBA Finals, they could use the first quarter of the season as more of an experiment. This year, the focus must ramp up. 

“We’ve always talked about focusing on the first 20 games, but this season, it doesn’t mean as we’ve said before. In the past, it was focusing on the first 20 games just to break up the 82-game monotony of the season. Now, it’s like the first 20 games [are] in a sense of urgency,” Curry told Haynes.

“We’ve got to start off on the right foot and create a new identity and basically have fun playing basketball no matter what happens, while working through some of the unknowns."

[RELATED: Warriors' frontcourt issues highlight season of change]

The unknowns truly are what stand out. Even Curry, who has won three titles through his first 10 seasons in the NBA, doesn't exactly know what this Warriors team is.

The next time Golden State can look for some Lakers redemption is Friday at Chase Center as the Warriors close out their preseason schedule. Less than a week later, the stakes become much higher in the regular-season opener against the Clippers.