Why Steph Curry believes playing with Kevin Durant 'cemented' him

Why Steph Curry believes playing with Kevin Durant 'cemented' him

Like a comet, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant's time together burned bright and fast.

The two all-time greats led the Warriors to three straight NBA Finals appearances after Durant arrived in the Bay in 2016. They won two titles and likely would have won a third had the Warriors not been hit by a glut of injuries, including the ruptured Achilles Durant suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. 

Then, it was over.

Durant elected to sign with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency, and Curry now is tasked with shouldering a heavy load entering next season when the two-time NBA MVP will be asked to do it all to keep the Warriors afloat in the revamped Western Conference.

Despite their relatively short time as running mates, Curry is appreciative of what playing with Durant did for him, especially on a personal level. 

“It cemented me,” Curry told The Athletic's Marcus Thompson at the American Century Golf Championship celebrity tournament. “Cemented my personality, how I see the world and what makes me go amidst the heights of where we were at for the last three years. Not a lot of people experience what we experienced in terms of criticism, attention, the intensity of basketball, the level we were playing at. It further cemented the foundation of kind of who I am. I see there are a lot of different ways to do it, and you respect everybody’s different approach and mindset and angle and what makes them go, what motivates them. But I’m really comfortable with mine.”

By all accounts, Curry did everything he could to make Durant feel like a co-star during his time in the Bay Area. Whether or not Durant ever felt accepted, only he can answer that.

[RELATED: Steph explains why he flew to New York to meet KD]

The Steph-KD Warriors will go down as one of, if not the greatest collection of talent in NBA history. They set records, won titles and did it with a flare and swagger reserved only for those at the peak of their powers.

Durant now will rehab with an eye toward returning to the court for the 2020-21 season, while Curry and the Warriors will be out to prove their championship days didn't leave with Durant. 

Klay Thompson 'unlikely' to play for Warriors this season, Steve Kerr reveals

Klay Thompson 'unlikely' to play for Warriors this season, Steve Kerr reveals

Ever since Klay Thompson tore his left ACL four months ago, the Warriors guard has held out hope that he could return this season in time for a potential NBA playoff run.

His coach, however, isn't betting on that timeline.

"It's unlikely that he's going to play this year," Steve Kerr recently told NBC Sports Bay Area in an exclusive interview that will air at 1 p.m. PT Tuesday in “NBA Season Tip-Off,” only on the MyTeams app. "So we have to understand that."

Thompson, who suffered the knee injury during Game 6 of the NBA Finals, had surgery July 2, and has said he hopes to play after the NBA All-Star break in February. Recent history, however, suggests that might not be possible.

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine sat out 11 months with a similar injury, and Atlanta Hawks forward Jabari Parker missed nearly a year. Kerr, who tore his ACL in college, believes Thompson will be on the same timeline as those players.

"You have to look at it realistically," the Warriors coach said. "I had an ACL [tear] in college, and I missed a whole season. Generally, an ACL for a basketball player is a full-year recovery, and if it's a full year for Klay, that puts them out for the season.

“We've kind of left the door open in case the rehab goes perfectly and the doctors say he can go. But the reality is, on April 1, that’s the nine-month mark. ... April versus nine months post-op for an ACL.

"We have to prepare our young guys to fill that role behind him, and when he gets back, whenever that is, hopefully these young guys now are developed and in the rotation and ready to really be contributors on a playoff team and we can get better," Kerr added.

Thompson has been visible around the team in recent weeks. Following Sunday's practice, he stood along the baseline as players wrapped up individual workouts. Thompson hasn’t missed more than nine games in an NBA season, so the prolonged absence has been an adjustment for him.

"He's bored," Kerr said. "I mean, Klay loves basketball, he loves to play, so he's at the point in his rehab, three-plus months in, where his knee feels pretty good. He's not in pain. He can get out there and shoot around, but he's got to let it heal, and he can't run, he can't cut. So we'll see him in the weight room, in the training room, getting his work in.

“But I feel bad for him. You never feel part of it unless you're actually playing and with the guys, and he misses that."

[RELATED: Steph knows he has no room for error with Klay out]

Kerr and the Warriors find themselves in transition entering this season. With Thompson's absence, along Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala's departure and eight new roster additions, Kerr is adjusting to Golden State's new life in the NBA.

“It's very different," Kerr admitted. "There's a lot more teaching this year than there has been in the last five. Things that the last group would have known in their sleep, these young guys have never seen before, and so we are literally going back to the basics day in and day out."

Programming Note: Get ready for the 2019-20 Warriors and Kings seasons with "NBA Season Tip-Off," streaming live on the MyTeams app at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Download MyTeams and tune in to the show by clicking here!

Michael Jordan claims Warriors' Steph Curry isn't Hall of Famer 'yet'

Michael Jordan claims Warriors' Steph Curry isn't Hall of Famer 'yet'

Through his first 10 NBA seasons, Steph Curry has won two league MVPs (one unanimous) and three league titles with the Warriors. He's been named to six All-Star teams and has a scoring championship under his belt. He's on pace to destroy the all-time record for most career 3-pointers.

By most accounts, he's changed the way young players shoot the basketball.

That should be enough to make Curry a Hall of Famer, right?

Not according to Michael Jordan.

"He's still a great player," Jordan said Monday on NBC's "Today." "Not a Hall of Famer yet, though. He's not."

MJ, you're the GOAT, but this is a freezing cold take.

How did this come up? About six years ago, Jordan was asked to pick four players he'd want to team up with in a fictional pick-up game. He chose Hakeem Olajuwon, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen and James Worthy.

NBC's Craig Melvin asked Jordan if anything had changed since he picked those four and if he'd swap out any of them for current NBA players.

Jordan said he would not, and Melvin threw Curry's name out there, asking His Airness if the Warriors star should be offended.

"I hope not," Jordan said, before claiming Curry isn't yet a Hall of Famer.

[RELATED: KD picks Steph over Russ]

Curry has revolutionized the way the game is being played, just like some guy named Jordan did in the 1980s and 90s.

Jordan did a lot of good during his playing career, but since he hung up that Wizards jersey, not much has gone right for him. These comments are just another black eye on Mike.

Programming Note: Get ready for the 2019-20 Warriors and Kings seasons with the NBA Tip-Off Show, streaming live on the MyTeams app at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Download MyTeams and tune in to the show by clicking here!