Warriors

Why Hawks star Trae Young doesn't mind hearing Steph Curry comparisons

Why Hawks star Trae Young doesn't mind hearing Steph Curry comparisons

If you had a dollar every time someone compared Steph Curry to Trae Young, you'd have a lot of dollars. 

It's an obvious comparison. The Warriors star and the face of the Atlanta Hawks are electric, undersized point guards who can drain shots from just about anywhere on the court. 

Young surely has heard of the similarities countless times, but that doesn't mean he minds the reminder. 

"Who wouldn't want to be compared to MVP and a guy like that," the 21-year-old told reporters Friday ahead of the NBA Rising Stars Challenge. "I don't necessarily get into all that. I don't mind it. I'm glad I'm getting compared to a guy like him than somebody else. It's not a bad thing."

Curry has missed all but four games this season after breaking his left hand a day before Halloween. The two-time MVP will be re-evaluated March 1, and he'll return to the court soon after. 

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard arguably has seized the reigns as the NBA's most ridiculous shot-maker in Curry's absence -- seriously, just look at the Oakland native's game logs since the start of 2020 -- but Young isn't far behind. Young is averaging 29.7 points per game and making 36.9 percent of his 3-point shots. 

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He's not quite Curry, of course. The three-time NBA champion has never shot worse than 40 percent from deep in a season in which he played at least 50 games. Curry could retire today as the NBA's fifth-most proficient 3-point shooter (43.5 percent), while Young didn't even cross the 40 percent threshold in his one year at the University of Oklahoma. 

Young's cabinets are missing the hardware that fills Curry's, too. But being mentioned in the same breath at this point in his career? That's more than enough for Young right now. 

How Warriors' Steph Curry vanquished his 'stopper' in 2015 NBA Finals

How Warriors' Steph Curry vanquished his 'stopper' in 2015 NBA Finals

For a couple days in June 2015, Matthew Dellavedova’s game was a prominent storyline in the NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry made sure it didn’t last.

Dellavedova spent most of that season as a Cavaliers reserve. That changed after the Warriors won Game 1 of The Finals. Cleveland coach David Blatt elevated the second-year guard into the starting lineup for Game 2 with a very specific assignment: Contain Curry, by any means necessary.

The former Saint Mary’s College star responded with 42 minutes of wrestling and grabbing and shoving and bumping Curry, who finished with 19 points, on 5-of-23 shooting from the field, including 2-of-15 from deep.

“Steph Stopper.” That was Delly. The Cavaliers won Game 2 in Oakland and took Game 3 in Cleveland, backing the Warriors into a corner and prompting them to make a significant lineup change of their own.

They replaced 7-foot center Andrew Bogut with 6-foot-7 Andre Iguodala, moving 6-foot-7 Draymond Green to center. They were going small. That was the decisive tactical adjustment that tilted the series toward the Warriors.

Curry, though, had his own move to make. After putting in 22 points as the Warriors rolled to a 21-point victory in Game 4, tying the series at 2-2, it was time to come home for Game 5 -- which NBC Sports Bay Area will re-air Wednesday night at 8 p.m. -- and kill a flawed narrative.

Curry, you see, wasn’t satisfied. He was the league MVP. The Warriors were 39-2 at Oracle Arena and not about to lose and go down 3-2. Dellavedova was in trouble.

Curry carried the team with 37 points, including a dazzling 17-point fourth quarter, to lift the Warriors to a 104-91 victory that gave them a 3-2 series lead.

"Not a lot you can do, honestly,” Blatt said in admiration. “He made some terrific shots."

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With Curry burying, once and forever, the spurious notion of Delly being the “Steph Stopper,” the Cavs went back to Cleveland without legitimate answers to the problems posed by the Warriors’ small lineup in general and by Curry in particular.

To understand the impact Curry had in Game 5, the other four Warriors in the starting lineup -- Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Iguodala and Green -- combined for 50 points on 41 shots.

Curry’s 37 points came on 15-of-23 shooting, including 7-of-13 beyond the arc. No matter how scrappy Dellavedova was, Curry consistently found a way to abuse him. Whether it was nasty crossovers, wicked step-backs or coming off screens, the MVP sent a message that the mere idea of a “Steph Stopper” is pure folly.

"Falling, step-backs off the dribble. I'm OK with that. We're OK with that,” LeBron James said. “You tip your hat to the best shooter in the league."

Curry read the situation and knew it was time for a convincing reply to Dellavedova and the Cavaliers. He knew that even the slightest hint of being neutralized would make the Warriors vulnerable. So, he tortured Delly.

“Those are plays I’ve been making all year,” he said. “And moves I’m confident in.”

The Cavs kept the game tight, taking an 80-79 advantage on a James 3-pointer with 7:47 to play. Curry answered with a triple, giving the Warriors a two-point lead they never relinquished -- mostly because he scored 12 points in the final 3:10.

"We didn't turn it over, we were patient," Thompson said. "And two words: Stephen Curry."

[RELATED: GOAT stuff: Steph, Sabrina hoop while social distancing]

It was Curry driving the Game 5 triumph and pushing the Warriors to the brink of their first championship in 40 years.

The “Steph Stopper” subplot was cute but not built to last. Curry wasn’t having it then, won’t have it now. That much rang loud and clear in Game 5.

Warriors' Bob Myers uses sports analogy to give coronavirus optimism

Warriors' Bob Myers uses sports analogy to give coronavirus optimism

The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down.

The impact has been devastating so far.

But Warriors general manager Bob Myers struck an optimistic tone Wednesday morning when talking to Abe Madkour of the Sports Business Journal:

"This is the first quarter of a tough game and we're down. But we can come back and we will. I don't think anything's decided -- like I said in my game analogy -- in the first quarter of a game.

"It feels daunting. It feels difficult. But this country is tremendous, and human beings are. I have great faith in what we can do medically and scientifically. And our perseverance.

"And so I think we'll be back and the leagues will be back. There's a thirst for what sports does around the world and we need it. It's a huge part of our fabric. In every culture through time, and I think it will always be there.

"Sports -- it's something that brings us together, it's something that excites us, it tests us, it challenges us. Whether you're on my daughters playing on their first-grade team or a professional athlete -- there's something to sports that is magical.

"And I think we're in a moment now where we've had to pause it, but that doesn't mean it's gonna stop. So for the people listening -- I don't know that they need me to tell them -- it's gonna be fine. Doesn't mean it's gonna be fine tomorrow. But it's gonna be fine.

"And it when it is, we'll come out of it stronger, we'll come out of it better and much more knowledgeable."

[RELATED: One thing Kerr, Dubs always looking for when building roster]

If you're having a rough day, hopefully, this cheers you up.

Thank you Mr. 2015 and 2017 NBA Executive of the Year for the uplifting words.

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