Stephen Curry has been criticized this season for having an off year. This is despite having excellent numbers for just about any normal, good, non-2-time-MVP player.
New teammate Kevin Durant — a superstar, scoring champ, and 2014 MVP himself — took note of Curry’s “off” year, and apparently decided to start having conversations with Curry as a means to integrate himself into the squad and boost Curry’s play, according to a story from ESPN.
Most importantly, Durant told Curry that he was essentially looking to play around him, instead of ahead of him.
“I just said to him, ‘Don’t worry about me,'” Durant told ESPN of his ongoing dialogue with Curry. “I said, ‘Just play your game. I’ll figure it out. I’ll figure it out around you. You’re the engine of this team, and I know that. I’m not trying to come over and feel like everything just revolves around me. Just do you, man. I’m going to play around you. I’ve played this game long enough. I know how to score. I know how to find the ball. Just go out there and play your game.’ And that’s what he’s been doing.”
Durant, meanwhile, is still a legitimate MVP candidate who is somehow more offensively efficient than he’s ever been. He’s shooting the best he ever has from the field by nearly four percent, and his overall play is due in large part because of how Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have worked together this season.
I’d say the whole “integration” thing has gone better than we expected for Year 1. If Curry goes on a tear from here, things are going to get even more bleak for the rest of the Western Conference.