Fantasy Basketball: Early Season Must-Watch Guards

I maintain, that when Steph Curry gets going, he’s the best show in the NBA. There are certainly other contenders for the NBA’s best show on hardwood, but Curry’s blend of fundamental and evolutionary NBA skills are what separates him from the competition. Curry walked into the league as an offensive engine in the mold of Reggie Miller, who shot 35.5 percent from three in year one and 40.2 percent from three in his second season in the NBA. Curry shot 43.7 percent from three in his first season. As a young player, Curry was not the statistical outlier he has become, as he only attempted 4.8 threes a game his rookie year. Miller took 2.2 threes as a rookie, but he was up to 4.4 attempts in his third season. Curry’s early career numbers were the result of the game’s natural evolution and increased acceptance of the three-point shot. In Curry’s early years, he did a lot of his work off-ball, running off screens and mirroring more traditional shooting guards like Miller and Ray Allen. It’s part of the reason many people insisted Curry wasn’t a true point guard. His conditioning allows him to run around for part of or even the entirety of some possessions. This non-stop movement draws a lot of attention and fatigues the defense, both mentally and physically—hence all the back-cut layups for Curry’s teammates. Check out this illuminating breakdown from the 2018-19 NBA Finals by Ben Taylor.

Steve Kerr: Klay Thompson ‘Unlikely’ to Play This Season

Klay Thompson is “unlikely” to suit up for the Golden State Warriors this season, according to head coach Steve Kerr.

Kerr says “we have to understand” that recovery from a torn ACL typically lasts a year.

Kerr attempted to clarify his comments while chatting up reporters Monday afternoon: “I wasn’t announcing anything. He’s doing great with his rehab. It’s still possible he could play.”

Per NBC Sports Bay Area:

“It’s unlikely that he’s going to play this year,” Steve Kerr recently told NBC Sports Bay Area. “So we have to understand that.”

Thompson, who suffered the knee injury during Game 6 of the NBA Finals, had surgery July 2, and has said he hopes to play after the NBA All-Star break in February. Recent history, however, suggests that might not be possible.

“You have to look at it realistically,” the Warriors coach said. “I had an ACL [tear] in college, and I missed a whole season. Generally, an ACL for a basketball player is a full-year recovery, and if it’s a full year for Klay, that puts them out for the season.

“We’ve kind of left the door open in case the rehab goes perfectly and the doctors say he can go. But the reality is, on April 1, that’s the nine-month mark. … April versus nine months post-op for an ACL.

“We have to prepare our young guys to fill that role behind him, and when he gets back, whenever that is, hopefully these young guys now are developed and in the rotation and ready to really be contributors on a playoff team and we can get better,” Kerr added.

Related Klay Thompson Felt ‘Close to Unstoppable’ Prior to Torn ACL

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Stephen Curry: ‘A Championship is Still the Goal’

Stephen Curry and the Warriors have NBA championship aspirations heading into the 2019-20 campaign, critics be damned.

“It’s the North Star,” says Curry.

Steph isn’t particularly concerned about carrying a bigger burden for Golden State, nor does he feel any additional pressure.

Per Yahoo Sports:

“We’ll see. I’ll have to listen to my body,” Curry told Yahoo Sports. “I know how the playoffs felt last year when KD was out and having to get your rest and your recovery and being able to play at that level. But I’m pretty smart around understanding exactly how I can be at my best and sustaining that over the course of the year. I’m obviously not going to play 82 games, but whatever the intensity is out on the court, I’ll be ready for it.”

But these are still the Warriors, a proud franchise that made reaching the Finals the norm. The pressure to perform at a high level is still very much present, especially while breaking in the new Chase Center in San Francisco.

“If I wasn’t confident in myself, that would really bother me,” Curry told Yahoo Sports. “I’m not worried about it. And pressure isn’t the right word. I feel there’s an awareness of what our situation is and there’s a freedom in that, too, because I can just go out there and hoop. I’ve never lacked confidence. That’s the thing that’s hard to really put into words with the teams we’ve had the last couple of years from 2015 to now. I’ve approached the game the exact same way, but it just looks different based on who I have out there playing with me like [Kevin Durant] and playing with Klay [Thompson]. It looks different, but my mindset is exactly the same. So, I’m approaching the season the same way, which is to give my all until proven otherwise.”

Good health or not, Curry said his aspirations haven’t changed.

“A championship is still the goal,” Curry told Yahoo Sports. “It’s always been. We’ve experienced it all and we’re going to keep pushing to get back there. That’s the goal. It’s the North Star. The narrative might have changed internally, but we’re still chasing the same goal.”

Related Steve Kerr: Stephen Curry at ‘His Peak Physically, Mentally’

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