There’s always a buzz after the NBA Finals when teams are searching for new hope in the draft, free agency, and Summer League. The Golden State Warriors are juggling it all: two lottery picks in Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, two shrewd acquisitions on the vet min with Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica, and an undefeated Summer League record.
Although Kuminga and Moody didn’t play last night, we got our first look at the long awaited prospect Justinian Jessup. He started off cold offensively but finished with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in his first time in a Golden State jersey. He’ll be joined by Kuminga and Moody tonight as they tip off against the Miami Heat at 5 pm PT.
With all that said, the most important basketball news in the Bay came this week when franchise hero Stephen Curry signed a massive extension to stay with the Dubs. He became the first player in league history to sign two $200m deals, and sent a message to the NBA that he’s committed to resurrecting the Golden Empire from the playoff drought of the last two years.
Curry on organization: “We want to win”
As much as Warriors owner Joe Lacob, general manager Bob Myers, and head coach Steve Kerr speak confidently about the continuing direction of the franchise, there’s no doubt that the Curry’s voice carries the most weight with the fan base. The NBA is a star driven league, and we’ve seen several times how a team and star not being on the same page is a breeding ground for drama.
So when the 33-year old Curry shared his thought process about Golden State’s future in an interview with the Athletic’s Marcus Thompson, it shined a light on his confidence in the team’s strategy to reclaim the throne.
“The draft picks — love ‘em,” Curry said. “There’s a lot of potential in terms of trying to implement them early and continue to develop them.
“Yeah the effort is there. Just being around the conversations that some people are privy to and most people are not — we want to win. And if anybody was not with that, then we’ve got issues. And I don’t think I’d have signed up for five years of that. So that’s the vibe.”
“It’s dope to think about what has all transpired in the last 12 years, where we currently are and what we’re trying to do with this championship window that we have.”— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) August 4, 2021
Steph Curry talks $215M extension and the Warriors’ offseason.
With @ThompsonScribe: https://t.co/hve3B0FVpV pic.twitter.com/nfFJqUgaE9
Curry mentioning his massive extension taking him to age-38 in a Warriors uniform sounds awesome, but it did get me thinking: how long is this guy gonna keep destroying worlds? I can see why some fans are concerned that Golden State’s youth movement may not gain the requisite seasoning until Curry’s a worn out vet. Will the Warriors be ready for the playoffs relying on young guys on rookie contracts like Jordan Poole, James Wiseman, and the fresh crop of newbies?
Then again, what if Curry’s greatness alongside his Core 3 brethren Draymond Green and Klay Thompson bridges the gap for the newer faces to mature into the next generation of killers... while simultaneously competing for titles? That’s the best case scenario anyone could ask for, one that only the San Antonio Spurs accomplished in the modern era.
No one knows how long the two-time MVP will continue ripping souls out of grown men’s chests, but I do find it interesting that there’s a rival future hall-of-fame point guard in Curry’s division who is in his mid-30’s and just signed a huge new deal. His name is Chris Paul aka CP3 and he’s apparently not slowing his game down anytime soon.
If CP3 can do it, why not Steph?
After watching CP3 ball out last season it’s hard for me to freak out over the Warriors not getting Nicholas Batum this offseason and potentially “wasting Curry’s prime”, as if Curry’s life force was the enchanted rose in the Beauty and the Beast.
Let’s pause and think about the longevity of today’s NBA players. Paul is 36 with an injury history longer than Al Capone’s rap sheet, and yet he finished fifth in MVP voting last year and made his first Finals trip. Don’t forget, he was a betting favorite to win Finals MVP!
I find that encouraging sitting on the couch drinking Hennessy and projecting Curry’s future. I remember talking to Paul’s trainer David Alexander in 2020 for Lets Go Warriors, and he took great pride in helping CP3 bounce back from his previous physical issues. If the Suns are planning on believing in (and paying) Paul until he’s 40, I for damn sure have confidence that Curry will keep getting busy in his mid-to-late 30’s. Of course, a freak injury could alter everything, but that goes for every player in the NBA right?
Curry just had arguably his greatest season ever last year; is it really crazy to believe he could maintain something close to 80% of that dominance as he reaches the end of his extension? I think he has an excellent chance of keeping his foot on the neck of defenders until then, and maybe even beyond.
Heck, I recall another Suns’ hall-of-fame point guard Steve Nash was an All-Star at age 38. I kinda feel bad for Phoenix having had the services of Nash and Paul and no titles to show for it while Curry helped deliver three rings in the Bay. Paul’s Suns might be the NBA champions today if not for
Giannis Antetokounmpo breaking their spines like Bane did Batman Jrue Holiday turning in a surreal defensive performance on CP3.
Jrue Holiday's defense throughout the Bucks playoff run was incredible. Just a legendary performance.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) July 23, 2021
The numbers (via @nbastats) are mind-boggling.
In the 29.1 mins Holiday was matched up vs. Chris Paul in the Finals, CP3 committed 9 turnovers and dished out only 12 assists.
Cheers to Chef Curry continuing to cook
After watching Holiday terrorize CP3 in the Finals, I remembered that Kevin Durant called Holiday the best defender in the NBA. There’s no shame in being locked up by a defensive savant, but it did get me wondering how Curry did against Holiday in their two matchups last season.
Per NBA.com, in 14:35 minutes spanning their Christmas Day matchup and their battle in April, Curry shot 7-of-14 from the field (3-of-8 from beyond the arc) against Holiday with 5 made free throws, 4 assists, 4 turnovers, and one Holiday block.
Check out their battles:
If Curry keeps giving defenders like Holiday that much pressure as the years roll by, the Warriors can buy time for their youth movement to get up to speed.