There is something tantalizing about the Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis backcourt in Golden State. Two guys who can create, who play smart, who can knock down shots (they combined for 42.7 points per game last season). But it’s never seemed smooth. To be sure, part of it is the whole “who plays defense” thing. Still, you feel the pair should be better together than they have been.
Part of that is attributed to a rocky relationship between the two. That may have been the case in the past, but it’s not now Curry told 95.7-The Game radio, as reported by Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com.
And Curry doesn’t expect Ellis to be traded.
“No,” Curry responded. “I think he’s happy where he’s at. We want him on our squad. He brings so much to the table from a leadership standpoint. He’s had some things going on with the front office with the Warriors, but all that’s cleared up now….
“(The pair’s relationship has) gotten a lot better from Day 1, but that’s to be expected when you have two guys about the same size,” Curry said. “We play differently. Me being the point guard and trying to lead the offense and him playing his brand of basketball.
“He attacks the lanes very well when he has the ball in his hands. If he’s not getting to the basket he can make plays. There’s a balance we have learning how to play together. When I don’t have the ball in my hands he knows I’m pretty good coming off screens. We kind of work off of each other. There’s a good, unspoken chemistry when he’s out there and it’s only going to get better with time.”
I want to see this work, I want to see what Curry and Ellis can really do together in the backcourt. But what the Warriors really need is size in the middle for defensing and rebounding (no offense intended, David Lee and Andris Biedrins). To get something of quality, you have to give up something of quality. Which brings us back to trading Ellis.
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.
Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.
Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?
Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?
“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.
“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”
I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.
But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.
The 76ers lost a heartbreaker to the Celtics last night, dropping Philadelphia to 0-16.
Jahlil Okafor was apparently in a foul mood after the game.
We’re told everyone got up and fled the scene and no arrests were made.
We’re told the altercation began because one of the men in the other group yelled at Jahlil, “The 76ers suck.”
We spoke with a rep for Jahlil who tells us … Okafor says he was being heckled from the moment he left the club and felt threatened because people swarmed him on the street.
This video obviously doesn’t show everything, but it certainly makes Okafor look like the aggressor.
Okafor will probably face punishment from some combination of the legal system, NBA and 76ers.