SAN FRANCISCO – Golden State Warriors’ star goalie Stephen Curry is happy that his play is relevant to this season’s MVP race.
Curry, 32, is coming off one of the best periods of his career. In the last eight games, he is averaging 35.3 points per game and has shot from the midline 53 of 101 times.
After scoring 40 points in Thursday night’s win over the Orlando Magic, the former MVP doubles player spoke with the same confidence that characterized the final years of his career when asked if he wanted to be part of this season’s awards show.
“The game speaks for itself,” said Curry, who already won the MVP award for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. “These two years [MVP] are exactly the same conversation. It’s obviously an extraordinary achievement, and with everything we’ve been through in those two years, it means something to be in that conversation. These stories make you who you are during the season, and my work is clearly at the level I expect, and that usually means being at the top of your game at the end of the season.
“I try not to get distracted, because that ruins the moment. And really, right now, if I’m doing my job, I’m here at the end of the season and she’s taking care of herself. ”
After hitting 10 3s on Thursday night, Curry hit at least 10 3s in 17 games, extending his NBA record. Screener Klay Thompson ranks second with five such games.
“It’s a routine, that’s the crazy thing,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Curry’s latest offensive outburst. “You just wait for it. And those three he hits when there’s nothing offensive and he uses his dribbles to free himself up, not really with a lot of space, just a few inches of space, and then he goes up and you expect them to come in one by one. It’s crazy. He’s really working on it.”
Asked about Curry’s place in the MVP rankings, Kerr, who said several times last week that he thought Curry played the best basketball of his career, was candid in his assessment.
“I think so,” Mr. Kerr said. “How could it be otherwise? He’s from the other world.”
The only thing that seems to be keeping Curry from winning the award is the Warriors’ 14-12 record. When asked to consider the team’s record in terms of wins and losses, Curry gave a balanced answer.
“This has always been the case and will always be the case,” he said. “You can always make judgments about what you estimate and what you see, about numbers, about winning and losing, about eye exams and stuff. That’s the beauty of this award, because everyone has a different opinion of what it means. But sometimes the goalposts change. So it’s all about work, and if that means people want to bring me or another guy into this conversation, that’s great. Otherwise, it won’t change my approach to the game”.
Curry’s ability to shoot from anywhere on the floor continues to amaze his teammates. Even they seem unable to digest the guard’s tear.
“It’s literally like a video game,” Warriors rookie Juan Toscano-Anderson said. “We all sat on the bench, laughed and said, ‘Man, he’s incredible.’”
Andrew Wiggins, who also plays for the Warriors, expressed himself in similar terms, saying he thinks Curry is the best player in the league this season.
“What he does, even with two or three defenders on him, is he always makes his shot and he does it,” Wiggins said. “The space he creates, it doesn’t matter who is holding him. It’s just a joy to watch him. It’s one thing to see it on television, and it’s another thing to be here and experience it…. He’s at his level now.”
Curry admitted it was one of the best periods of his 12-year career.
“One hundred percent,” Curry said. “But it’s about what’s happening now. I’m not comparing it to what’s happened in the past…. I’ve been saying this for a while now, I feel confident and strong and in rhythm, and it’s a good feeling, and I want to keep improving. That’s the goal”.