Stephen Curry bought enough food to feed 400 families and was there to greet them at a church in North Oakland the day after Christmas. A rep from the Oakland Fire Department came to retrieve a bounty for delivery to families in need. So Curry loaded several boxes onto his arms and walked them out himself. And he was giddy about it.
“I love helping out. There is no better feeling than doing something for others. It's a great thrill just to be able to assist in any way I can.”
He's talking about charity. But he's also talking about basketball. And if you're too mesmerized by his jumper, or too irritated by his turnovers, you may be missing this element to his game. If so, you're missing something special.
He is known for his ability to shoot the ball, a craft passed down from his sharpshooting father. But Curry's parlayed that one trick into a basketball magic show.
The talented shooter has evolved into a premier facilitator producing at ridiculous levels. As a result, before our very eyes is blossoming the caliber of player the Warriors haven't seen since Chris Mullin left to play for the Pacers.
Curry is a virtual lock to make the All-Star game, possibly as a starter. When's the last time you said that about a Warrior?
He is second in the league in assists at 9.6 per game, nearly three assists above his career-best average. He has assisted on 38.8 percent of his teammates' baskets when he is on the court, the third-best assist percentage in the league.
Only Chris Paul, widely considered the NBA's best point guard, tops Curry in both categories. That's crazy considering just in October, the annual general managers' survey had Curry tied for third-best shooting guard in the NBA.
Curry, finally, confessed how he really feels when people say he's not a point guard.
“I get salty,” Curry said. “That's the position I've envisioned myself playing since my junior year in college. I knew I was going to be able to make an impact in the NBA — whether they think I do it in the stereotypical way or whatever. In any situation, when anybody sees you in a different way than you see yourself, it's frustrating.”
That's why his turnovers — his 4.1 per game is tops among qualified players — bother him so much. He knows they only play into the slight he fights so hard to disprove.
He said one time he got so mad at his turnovers he launched his mouthpiece into the crowd. He acknowledged after a bad turnover game it usually takes the ride home for him to simmer down.
That area of his game is a must to develop. But lingering on that element is like being too mad about the salad at Morton's to enjoy the steak and asparagus.
Despite lacking in athleticism, Curry has learned to use wizardry to get in the lane consistently and set up teammates. Seemingly every game, he pulls off at least one pass that makes you wondering how he did it. And he's doing it despite defenses determined to nullify his production.
The craziest part about Curry's growth as a passer and playmaker is that it hasn't taken away from his production as a scorer. He is less efficient a shooter, down to 44.9 percent from the field, which is on pace for a career-low. But his 23.4 points per game ranks seventh in the NBA.
Curry has a chance to become the first player since Hall of Famer Tiny Archibald to finish top five in scoring and assists.
“A dynamic scoring point guard with incredible range and skills,” is how Miami coach Erik Spoelstra described him Thursday.
In many ways, this development in Curry's game is a basketball prophecy coming to fruition. Basketball minds such as Don Nelson and Steve Kerr said when Curry was drafted they saw another Steve Nash, a two-time MVP and future Hall of Famer.
Such was evident his rookie season, when Nelson gave him the keys to the Warriors late in a lost season and Curry started putting up numbers that drew Oscar Robertson comparisons. Since then, it's been a constant fight for him to get back to that player.
Now, Curry is that player. He is vindicating himself in historic fashion. And if you're not paying attention, you're missing it.
“I still feel like I can get better,” said Curry, who said his best feeling as a basketball player is completing a long alley-oop because it requires a nearly perfect pass. “I haven't mastered anything.”