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And she will. That’s the plan thanks to her new landmark agreement. SC30 Inc., the umbrella company over all of Curry’s endeavors, has entered into an NIL agreement with Fudd, the freshman from UConn. In July, the NCAA changed its rules, under pressure from state laws, to allow college athletes to make money by selling their name, image and likeness (NIL). Previously, student-athletes were deemed amateurs and barred from receiving any pay or added benefits outside of their scholarship. Since the rules change, college athletes have been signing endorsement deals to take advantage of their individual fame. Curry became the first NBA player to enter into such a partnership with a college player. “I want to hopefully be a mentor and open up the doors that have been opened for me to her,” Curry said, “and hopefully many more in the future. So it’s kind of dope to make a splash like that with somebody who has the same kind of values as I do. And her family has been amazing through this whole process. So I’m excited. It’s a lot of unknowns going into it but it’s all about just creating opportunities for her.”
In taking Fudd under his wing, Curry is investing in women’s basketball. He’s also seeking to create a lane in the brand-building space for a demographic that often gets overlooked by companies seeking endorsers: Black women athletes. “It means a lot to us to have this honor to support and serve this Black woman athlete with so much potential,” said Tiffany Williams, COO of SC30 Inc. and vice president of Ayesha Curry’s company AC Brand. “At our core, we are here to uplift, and a big part of that focus is the Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities. For so long, there hasn’t been a space for us at this level. We now have the platform to make a significant impact, which ultimately drives these initiatives. We want to tell stories with intention, provide opportunities to uplift, and this opportunity with Azzi — with her story, work ethic and everything she has accomplished to this point— felt like a natural next step.”
Some of the usual suspects are anchoring Golden State’s defensive effort. Draymond Green has held opponents to a field goal percentage 4 points lower than their usual averages, one of the best rates in the league, and though Andre Iguodala has been battling injuries, he has an outstanding +7.1 defensive RAPTOR in his return to the Bay Area after two seasons away. Warrior mainstay Kevon Looney continues to be one of the most underappreciated defensive big men in the game, putting up a better-than-average RAPTOR at that end for the sixth consecutive season. But Golden State’s newcomers are also playing a huge role. Bolstered by Otto Porter Jr. (+2.9 defensive RAPTOR) and Nemanja Bjelica (+3.1) in the frontcourt, the Warriors’ newcomers3 have combined for a collective +3.2 defensive RAPTOR, which ranks No. 1 among all teams’ new additions this season. (Meanwhile, our preseason forecast had projected both Porter and Bjelica to be below-average defenders.)
To illustrate that point, Golden State is leading the NBA in effective field goal percentage, true shooting percentage and threes made per 100 possessions, a deadly combination that harks back to the Durant-era Warriors offenses that were among the most unstoppable ever. Again, some of that owes to Curry returning to his peak 2016-era form: When your best player is scoring 28.6 points per game with a .645 true shooting percentage, your offense is almost certainly going to be dominant. But Curry’s teammates are also doing more this year, shooting for an effective field-goal percentage (55.6 percent) more than 2 points higher than they did last year (53.5), including a scorching 63.5 percent off of direct passes from Curry himself, according to Second Spectrum data.