The future of the Warriors trumpeted its manifest expression in one man Tuesday night when Stephen Curry took center court to address an eager home crowd. Mic in hand, Steph voiced appreciation amidst the ring ritual, flossified,donning new diamonds and the UnderArmour SC2s on his extremities.
More will play like Curry
When you think of the Bulls, you see Jordan. When you think Hawks, you see Nique. Stephen Curry will forever be the face of the Warriors, because like Jordan and Dominique, he's changed the game.
After last night's game, Ethan Sherwood Strauss publicly wondered, "Why not Curry as the NBA's best?" And now that he has a ring, it might be easier for people to ask the question in earnest.
He's the fabled Pan — a world shaker, trend-setter. An original. If the team's glory ended this season and Warriors fans headed back to the desert of mediocrity, roaming the wasteland of the NBA for another 40 years, Stephen Curry's Bay Area legacy would still ring unshakeable in its legend, because he's a brand new brand.
The league produces talent every decade that the rest of the NBA just isn't ready to see. Increasingly , a unique player births a new era with his originality, while prospects follow suit to their predecessors. Shaq came to Orlando bringing a raw power that hasn't since been felt. Adaptation follows. Nowitzki paved the way for players like Durant; seven-footers move from the paint to beyond the arc. That migration has bled over to form a whole new style of collaborated offense — every team now covets a stretch big. The league pursues, catches up. Jordan's physical specimen was too electric for the men of his era to contain. They were not ready for MJ, and the typical 6'-6" athletic swing moved his home up above the rim and out of the mid-range boonies. LeBron James? Originality — A 270-pound steam roller who can hop over a car while tossing dimes like Showtime's Magic.
The scoring point guard who shoots with range on the move; Nash introduced us to the possibility, but we were so busy watching him run a team in the classic Cousy style that we weren't listening. Stephen Curry might be the best at what he does, but he won't be the only. Sure, he's redefined the nature of this franchise, but he's more importantly changed the way people everywhere aspire to play the game.
I hope not. Most people who tried to emulate Steph’s game would be very bad at it. https://t.co/bYn7quZCty— Avinash Kunnath (@avinashkunnath) October 28, 2015
After last night's win, a 4th grader snuck out of the house to go face the imagined Pelicans down at the local court under a street lamp. Except now, he's playing to be Steph instead of Marbury. That kid will make the pros in 10 years, and the NBA will be changed. Why? Because the Warriors won in a league that recognizes Stephen Curry as its golden child.
Versatility is the new model. Pat Riley once mused that one day, most players in the league will be 6'-8" with interchangeable skills... His prediction seems to inch closer to the truth every season. A sample embodiment of that future is rookie Kevon Looney; a superior rebounder who handles the ball with length, shoots from deep, and passes.
Harrison a new man?
There was a noticeable get-up in HB's step as the game got underway Tuesday night. He looked like a man on top of the world. Sure, he opened the game 0-for-7, but I can't remember Barnes shooting so much in a first quarter as long as he's been a Warrior. His moves and decisions were immediate and to the point — that's how we want Barnes. The team will win more if he lives now through trial and error while shooting at a higher volume. And as reported by Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group, he entered the game with confidence despite his contract situation.
After breaking off extension talks earlier in the day, Harrison Barnes showed that he’s going to have an interesting contract season… by missing his first seven shots... On Tuesday morning, Barnes looked serene and confident in the decision—after reportedly turning down a $64 million offer during the summer—and said he just wanted to focus on basketball and let the talks re-start in July.
The problem with Barnes isn't his missing shots...It's his consistent mitigation of his own talents by abstaining from making the play. Barnes is a versatile scoring threat, and this reluctance ultimately quells his value. So the squad needs him to get off early and settle in by the time they have to face revamped teams with healthy starting fives in April/May. Last night was a great start. That old 'aw shucks' crap went MIA when the ball came his way.
You game plan for Steph. You plan for Klay. You can't stop the Warriors if Harrison becomes a name on that dry board every night. Barnes is going to make them better if he keeps a cold-blooded demeanor. He needs to kill people. Add an extra length to his leash and let him go do it. After watching his body language, it's possible he's figured out that he needs to be someone different to get these things he wants.
Luke Walton's strong, silent debut
Whether it was falling victim to ex-Warrior Ish Smith's career night, or giving Livingston the affirmed nod as he clanked two three pointers, Luke Walton stayed cool to his name and steered his team to it's first victory of the season.
Diamond Leung followed the post game reaction closely after Walton's "nerve-wracking" debut. Luke may have been victorious, but he was undoubtedly the more tired of the coaches after the coliseum's lights went out.
"It was a million things racing through my mind all night last night, all day today. It's a lot more stressful as the head coach. You don't ever really relax during a game."
It may have been hard for the restless interim sidekick to relax, but an encouraging pre-game word came from Steve Kerr that Walton admits helped bring down his nerve.
"He told me that, 'Don't worry, we won 67 games last year, and I didn't know what I was doing at all.' His point being, trust that we have very good players, and players make plays."
- Luke Walton
If the end result wasn't evidenced enough of Walton's cool, Curry had his own thoughts about Luke's lack of nervousness.
"He didn't show it. Very loose. Confident in what he was telling us in the preparation and game plan. He seemed very comfortable."
- Stephen Curry
Thoughts on future match-ups vs. New Orleans
Pretty much. Anthony Davis and his Pelicans have too many hoops to jump through yet if they're going to beat the champs. Frustration looms for the brow.