Stephen Curry grows into star for Warriors
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson knows point guards.
One in a long, storied line of New York City point guard prodigies, Jackson made one NBA All-Star team (1989 with the New York Knicks) and ranks third on the league’s all-time assists list behind John Stockton and Jason Kidd.
So with that knowledge, he doesn’t think Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is an All-Star after 20 games this season.
“I don’t think it. I know it,” Jackson said. “I’ve seen the best in the league, and there are some awfully good point guards in this league. But when you look at his body of work and the fashion that he’s leading this basketball team, he certainly is.
“He’s playing at an elite level. That can’t be debated.”
This is Curry’s fourth NBA season and, perhaps, his best. He’s averaging career highs in points (19.7), assists (6.5) and minutes (37.3). He and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook are the only point guards averaging at least 19 points and six assists.
In the past seven games, Curry has scored at least 20 points — averaging 22.4 points and 8.3 assists and shooting 51% from three-point range. The Warriors, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2006-07, are 6-1 in that stretch, improving to 13-7 heading into Monday’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
In four consecutive games recently, Curry had least 20 points and 10 assists, the first time a Warriors player has accomplished that Tim Hardaway in December 1992. Golden State’s emergence is one of the enjoyable developments in the first quarter of the season, and Curry deserves significant recognition.
Curry, Jackson and Golden State general manager Bob Myers don’t hesitate to pinpoint the reason for Curry’s play this season: his healthy right ankle which required surgery in 2011 and again in 2012.
Free of persistent ankle sprains and pain that forced him to miss 40 of 66 regular-season games, including the final 28 of last season, Curry is the healthiest he’s been since “my rookie year (in 2009-10). The start of my second year is when everything started to snowball,” he said.
Not only is Curry healthy, he no longer … [For more on Stephen Curry grows into star for Golden State Warriors, click here.]