Kerr says Curry 'at his peak' physically and mentally

NBA.com Global on Oct 15, 2019 07:24 AM
Kerr says Curry 'at his peak' physically and mentally
Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry, right, drives the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves' Jake Layman (10) during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

NBA.com staff report

To date, Stephen Curry has amassed two Kia MVPs, set numerous 3-point shooting records, made six All-Star teams and been an All-NBA performer six times as well. Some might argue Curry's 2015-16 season -- the one in which he was the first unanimous MVP winner in NBA history -- was perhaps the peak of his powers.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr differs with that, though. Based on what Curry has done to date and his performance in the preseason, Kerr said Curry might be no better off in his overall game and physical status than he is right now. When asked Sunday what to expect from Curry in 2019-20, Kerr's answer was simple.

"Just the usual," Kerr said. "I'm not looking for anything different than what he's done for five years, but what he's done is pretty special: two MVPs and a perennial top-five player. He's had an incredible camp. To me, he's at his peak physically, mentally. He's seen every defense that people have thrown at him now during his career, and he's ready to have a great year."

The Warriors will open their new season on Oct. 24 (Oct. 25, PHL time) with their first game at the new Chase Center by hosting the LA Clippers. Golden State will be without Curry's fellow "Splash Bros." cohort, Klay Thompson, who is recovering from ACL surgery and will be out at least until the All-Star break. Gone from the lineup as well is former two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, who left for the Brooklyn Nets in free agency over the summer.

Curry showed that Kerr's assessment might not be far off in a preseason win against the Minnesota Timberwolves last week. In that game, Curry scored 40 points on 14-for-19 shooting (and 6-for-9 on 3-pointers) in just 25 minutes to pace a Warriors romp. Much pressure will be on Curry this season as he will carry a heavy load as the Warriors attempt to make a sixth straight Finals appearance. To Kerr, Curry is in his prime because he of all the past experiences and defenses he has seen in the league.

"He's in his prime age-wise, strength and conditioning-wise and defensively he's seen everything that's come his way," Kerr said. "Teams have played him every possible way that you could think of, and he's had years now to work on counters. So he's kind of in his sweet spot right now, and he has been the last couple years. And hopefully that continues for the next few years. But he's an amazing player."

Curry will have more of a leadership role this season after the team traded former Finals MVP and fan favorite Andre Iguodala to Memphis over the summer. In an interview with ESPN, Curry said he will lead his own way in 2019-20.

"I don't have to change who I am as a leader," Curry told ESPN. "I think it's more so just about awareness and understanding what this team needs specifically in the details to help us be successful. Incorporating D'Angelo [Russell], who is going to be great for us. Building that chemistry between myself and him in that backcourt and some of our young guys who are going to need to contribute at a very high level for us to be successful and just helping them along however I can. But I've always been a leader by example. Be vocal when necessary and that's just who I am, that's how I continue to lead, but it's all about just having an awareness of how this team is different than teams of past and embracing that."

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