GP2 has good reason to compare Steph to a footballer originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Steph Curry loves golf, is a die-hard Carolina Panthers fan and has attended Giants games in the past despite rooting for the Boston Red Sox as a child. In reality, he might as well be a connoisseur of cross-country and cross-country running.
In any Warriors game, Curry makes the field his personal running course. He zigzags, zags and runs through and around obstacles for four quarters. That’s why teammate Gary Payton II walks away from basketball when looking for comparisons to Curry. In fact, he avoids all of the sports listed above, including track.
“He keeps moving,” Payton said Monday. “I sort of think of him as a football player who just goes the 48 minutes and runs out there on the pitch and just goes there. He just keeps moving. He creates so much attention and he uses guys and defenses down. This is ridiculous.
“His conditioning and the way he takes care of his body, it’s ridiculous.”
Going into Monday’s slate of games, Curry ranks third in the NBA with 27.5 points per game. The way he is used, even as the game’s top scorer, is very different from other players in the league.
Through 22 games played, Curry leads the Warriors in distance covered per game by long shooting. He averages 2.54 miles per game – 1.43 on offense and 1.11 on defense. Curry leads all three categories for the team, with Jordan Poole in second at 2.24 miles per game.
At 33, his 34.4 minutes per game this season is also his highest since the 2013-14 season.
Curry led the Warriors to an NBA-best 19-4 record while chasing the 3-point record. He needs just 23 3-pointers to break Ray Allen’s all-time regular season record, and probably would have broken it already had he approached the game differently. Records will be broken, just as he continues to post stunning stats in box scoring.
As Payton knows, that’s the least of Curry’s worries.
“It’s just Steph,” Payton said. “He cares more about winning than personal stats. He gets so much attention and he knows it. He sets up his teammates with screens and so on. We know what the defenses are going to do.
“They’re going to overtake Steph, so he knows his teammates are going to be open. … I know he’s not thinking about it, he just goes out there trying to make the right play for his team and everything falls into place. “
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For how much Curry might amaze us on a daily basis with the numbers he puts up, Payton is proud to be his teammate for much bigger reasons, knowing he’s even more of an MVP off the field.
“Steph, he’s just a good, genuine guy,” Payton said. “He cares about everyone in the locker room, everyone at the reception, everyone in the organization. He talks to you like he’s a regular guy. You can sit down and have conversations on anything – family or otherwise. He’ll give you his full attention.
“I think the fact that he’s just a big human is probably the best trait he has.”
That, and his stamina as Golden State’s Lionel Messi.