Steph Curry had a season to forget in 2019-20, suffering a major injury just four games into the year and then watching the Golden State Warriors fall to their worst winning percentage in two decades.
In an interview with The Athletic, Dell Curry said that the series of unfortunate circumstances may have actually been a blessing in disguise for his son, and a key to the team’s impressive turnaround this season.
Long Break Gave Steph A Chance To Refresh
Though a broken left hand would cut his son’s season short, Dell Curry said the time off gave Steph a much-needed rest and the disappointing outcome made him hungry to return even stronger this year.
“He played a lot of basketball the last five years. High-intensity basketball,” he said. “So any time you can refresh your mind and get that hunger back — from being injured, not making the playoffs, not going to the bubble — you regain that hunger. All of that combined is why he has good energy, playing like he is.”
Steph Curry appears rejuvenated this year, averaging just under his career best for points with 29.9 per game, and all without the injured Klay Thompson in the backcourt to lessen the pressure. Dell Curry said his son has been defended tighter than any player he can remember.
“Box-and-1s in the NBA? On pretty much a nightly basis? He gets so much attention. Whether it’s an outright box-and-1 or not, it’s some form or fashion of it,” he said, adding that even Michael Jordan never had to face a box-and-1.
With Curry putting up numbers similar to his unanimous MVP season, the Warriors have recovered from the last disappointing season to jump back into the edge of the Western Conference playoff picture. The Warriors are currently in the No. 9 spot, sitting just 3.5 out of fourth place with a number of key players set to return in the coming week, including rookie center James Wiseman.
Steph Has More Productive Years Ahead, Dad Says
Curry’s dad believes he will still be playing at a high level for the next few years, comparing it to his own late-career flourish that saw him leading the NBA in 3-point percentage at the age of 34.
“My body aged. Well — you know what, I was telling somebody the other day, I really didn’t feel a big difference in my body into my mid-30s,” he said. “Now I didn’t play the minutes Steph does, I didn’t go to the Finals five straight years. But they prepare in a different way now.”
Dell Curry credited modern training techniques, saying the methods players use today were not even thought about at the time he retired 20 years ago. That has allowed players to stay in their prime for longer, he added.
Steph Curry has seen more rest this season, with his playing time dipping down to a little less than 34 minutes per game. He opened up about his lighter load this year, saying the plan can be adjusted depending on what the team needs in a given night.
“But we got to be in a position where we do things throughout 48 minutes that that (minute) plan of attack works more nights than not,” he said, per the Warriors’ SoundCloud. “Obviously, if we have to make certain reads and decisions, you kind of make those calls, but you can’t be in a situation where that’s the nightly conversation.”
Curry also missed Saturday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets, with the team saying that he wasn’t feeling well. As ESPN noted, television cameras showed him walking off the floor just before the game started.