Stephen Curry: "I definitely see myself as a Rookie of the Year candidate"

Stephen Curry: "I definitely see myself as a Rookie of the Year candidate"


Stephen Curry: "I definitely see myself as a Rookie of the Year candidate"

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Tell me a little bit about your summer. What has been the focus for you during the offseason?

Stephen Curry: Well, I’ve been working with a lot of different NBA guys ever since summer league was over. I’ve been working on my ballhandling and point guard skills, and trying to make it in front of the best competition possible. Just preparing myself for training camp and stuff like that. Everybody knows I can shoot the ball, but they haven’t seen my playing the point. So I’ve been working on my ballhandling, working in the weight room to get stronger… With the way that we play in Golden State, you’ve got to be in shape and able to run. Being in top condition is something I’ve been working on. So I’ve been putting a lot of work in this summer.

Do you feel you’ve held your own against those NBA players this summer?

SC: Yes, no doubt. Guys like Chris Paul, Joe Johnson, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade… I’ve been working out with those guys, playing one-on-one all the time and they all see that I can play. It’s great competition and we have a lot of fun doing it. I definitely held my own and I’ve got a lot of confidence going into my first season that I can play with these guys.

How do you think you can contribute to a team like Golden State that already has so many scorers and guards?

SC: Just being another option. It’s nice, I think, to have a guy that can shoot the ball and be a playmaker for others. Whatever my role is on the team, wherever I fit, we have a lot of talent in our team with Monta Ellis and Stephen Jackson in the backcourt. Wherever coach Nelson thinks I fit, I’m gonna play up to the best of my abilities. My ability to shoot and spread the floor, I think that’s something coach Nelson values in his offense. So I’m looking forward to it.

Have you talked with Don Nelson about your role on the team?

SC: Yeah. I spoke a little bit about it with him in summer league. They just wanted to see if I could be a point guard, and I think that’s the position where they see me, playing alongside guys like Monta Ellis, CJ Watson, Jackson… Just to complement their game. They said training camp would define my role a little bit better.

Are you aware that for the most part Don Nelson doesn’t play the rookies much?

SC: That’s what I’ve heard. This team has a lot of young guys who already have a lot of experience, so I think he’s going to go first with them naturally. Hopefully I can convince him that I help win games when I’m on the floor and he’ll put me out there. I’m going with the attitude that if I work hard and prove that I should be on the floor, he’ll see that and I will play.

Golden State seems to be a team going through a lot of turmoil. Are you worried?

SC: Not really. NBA’s business is to win and there’s going to be a lot of drama in the offseason for teams that didn’t do so well the previous year. But when training camp starts, that’s all going out of the window. We’re going to have one goal and that’s to play hard and win. That’s the attitude I have, hopefully the attitude my teammates have… I’m sure they’ll come focused and ready to play, so all this stuff that happened over the summer will disappear.

You talked a lot about your desire to play in New York during the draft process in May and June. Why was that?

SC: It was just a system thing. Like Golden State, they like to run up and down, giving freedom to make plays. Mike D’Antoni has been known to develop point guards. He’s coached Steve Nash. That was a big part of it. But all that stuff goes out the door on June 25, when you’re at the mercy of the draft. I got a great team to play for now, with the same kind of system, which is up and down with a lot of freedom to shoot.

Do you think there’s any added pressure on you because you’re the son of a very good basketball player like Dell Curry?

SC: A little bit. It could affect me if I let it. There’s going to be a lot of comparisons between my career and his. It’s kind of weird, but there are a lot of guys in the league that played against my dad or with him. I just got to play through it and I’m hopeful I can make it in the NBA. I’m not really worried about living up to my dad’s career. Just want kind of make it on my own.

In which ways being the son of Dell Curry has helped you?

SC: This offseason, I’ve been able to ask him questions about things that I’ve got to go through that he went through. How he prepared for his first year, what things he would look out for… That kind of thing. I got that in my home with my dad. That type of advice is great for me in order to prepare myself for my first year. Even down the road, I can always go back to him and ask him, “How did you handle this?” or whatever.

Do you see yourself as a Rookie of the Year candidate?

SC: Definitely. If my opportunity comes, I’m going to take it and run with it. I feel like I’m one one the best guys that were drafted this year. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to play and show that.

You have talked in the past about how playing golf helps your basketball game a little bit. Can you explain that?

SC: Well, for me mentally the game of golf is a lot harder than basketball. If you want to be good at golf, you have to be able to focus for hours straight. That’s something I can transfer to basketball – being able to focus and being confident in your own game. For me it’s a mental relief kind of thing. I have fun out there and it takes your mind off the game of basketball, so when I come back and play I can focus on basketball a lot better. I play golf a lot. That something that helps me.

Do you think you could have been a pro golfer had you put your mind into it?

SC: I like to think so. I played a lot growing up, played a lot in high school… I was decent. If I had proper coaching and the time to play every day, I’d probably be very good. But who knows?

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