Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors are back.
For the first time in more than nine months, Curry and his team were back on an NBA floor in a 107-105 preseason victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night in San Francisco.
Curry went 3-for-10 from the field, scoring 10 points in 21 minutes, but just seeing the former MVP back on the floor was a relief for a franchise that has desperately missed him after he played five games last season while recovering from a broken left hand.
“It’s always just great to see him out on the floor,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “And I think he looks really good physically, that’s the main thing. He worked so hard in the offseason and he’s in great shape. And now it’s just a matter of getting his timing and his rhythm down, but he’s definitely a sight for sore eyes.”
Curry knows his team still has a long way to go while trying to fit several new pieces in and attempting to make up for the loss of former All-Star swingman Klay Thompson to a season-ending Achilles tendon injury, but he expressed confidence that the Warriors are building in the right direction.
After playing with Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Thompson for many years, he said he knows it’s going to take some time to find a rhythm with Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre Jr. and a few other new teammates.
“Honestly, I don’t know because I’ve had a solid, consistent core,” Curry said when asked how long that process usually takes. “I think from Monday to now we’re starting to talk about some of the patterns and some of the things that I’m used to, especially if I give up the ball. And knowing where open spots on the floor are. It will come. I don’t know what the specific answer to the question is, but it will come. … It’s just one of those things where you have to continue to communicate.”
Green and No. 2 overall NBA draft pick James Wiseman were held out of Saturday’s game and are not expected to play in the final two games of the preseason against the Sacramento Kings as they follow league protocols.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said last week that two players tested positive for COVID-19. While the Warriors can’t name who tested positive, Green and Wiseman are the only two players who haven’t participated in practice.
In the meantime, both Curry and Kerr acknowledged the learning process it will take for the roster to fully understand what it means to play with Curry.
“It takes time for sure,” Kerr said. “He’s so unique. There’s nobody like him in the NBA. Nobody who can play on and off the ball at that level and who creates that kind of havoc. And so I think with most players who come in, they’re not used to the second half of the possession. They’re sort of used to whatever the pattern is in the beginning. But as soon as maybe Steph gives up the ball, that’s when the action really starts the way we play. And that’s the tricky part for guys to figure out.”
After missing out on the league’s bubble experience earlier this year thanks to the Warriors’ league-worst 15-50 record, Curry said it was different to play in such an empty environment inside Chase Center. He said he knows how much the Warriors have benefited from fans’ energy over the years and understands what an adjustment an arena without spectators will be for his team.
“You got to make sure you pack your own energy in your suitcase for sure,” Curry said. “Because it is a little different. We’ll see how it goes.”