Stephen Curry comes to town with the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, a fun prospect for everybody but the 76ers, who can only hope to slow his roll.
Curry’s shooting range? The loading dock.
His release? “Stupid,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said the other day, meaning it as a compliment.
His balance? “Ridiculous,” Brown said.
When asked if Curry might be the best shooter ever, Brown paused only a moment.
“I think he is,” he said.
Sixers guard Nik Stauskas took it a step further.
“At this point, you can say with confidence he’s the best shooter ever,” he said. “If he keeps this up for a long period of time and the team keeps playing well, he has to be in the conversation for the best player ever, because he’s changing the game. He’s on a different level right now.”
But the best perspective of all might be that of Sixers point guard Ish Smith, who knew Curry well before he was an NBA champion, well before he had the Warriors on a collision course with history (at 42-4, they are actually a victory ahead of the pace of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who set an NBA record by winning 72 games), well before he even made a splash at Davidson, which seems a very long time ago indeed.
Smith was, you see, an AAU teammate of Curry’s from ages 12-14 on the Charlotte (NC) Stars, an AAU team run by Curry’s dad, Dell, toward the end of a solid 16-year NBA career.
Curry, who like Smith is now 27, recalled in an interview earlier this week with Matt Steinmetz, a Bay Area reporter, that he and Smith might have teamed up a year earlier, and that their partnership lasted until Smith went to another team. Smith’s memory is that Curry moved to Toronto, when his dad went to the Raptors, though that timeline doesn’t quite match up.
Whatever the case, they did play together. And now here they are again — Smith continuing an itinerant career that has seen him toil for nine teams in six years, Curry making further mockery of a 2009 draft that saw him chosen immediately after the immortal Jonny Flynn.
Smith giving a faint pulse to a flat-lining team (the Sixers, 1-30 before he arrived in a Dec. 24 trade from New Orleans, are 6-10 since), Curry setting the sport on its ear.
“I’m so proud of him and what he’s doing,” Smith said recently, sounding much older than Curry when in fact he is about four months younger. “It’s actually kind of crazy, what he’s doing. It’s amazing what he’s doing.”
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