Last night was only the first exhibition game, and I didn’t watch it -- Could you? Was it on? Anywhere? -- but reading some of the brief coverage, and looking at the stats, I can’t help but think that it’s the start of an introduction to a much wider audience to the fact that that’s not all he does. Because I think there’s a sense with some fans out there that at Davidson he was more than anything else a one-dimensional ball-hog beneficiary of one of the greenest green lights in the history of the sport. Nope. Sorry. Just not true.
So here we have this intriguing stat line in the first exhibition game of his first season as a pro: He shoots 2-for-10 from the floor -- something he did at times in the Vegas summer league, too, remember -- but even when he’s missing, and missing, and missing, he’s not a zero on the court. Nine assists in 24 minutes. Five steals. In an NBA game, that’s a lot of steals -- especially when you’re a rookie, and it’s your first exhibition game, and especially when you play half of the available 48 minutes.
Here’s Marcus Thompson:
Curry impressed those in the Warriors locker room with his court presence. He handled the ball comfortably, controlled the tempo, found the open man and fed the hot shooters.
Here’s Don Nelson:
“Anybody who’s going to play with Curry is going to be a beneficiary of a lot of open looks.”
And here’s Stephen:
“I work just as hard on the defensive end as I do on the offensive end,” he said. “Being in the right position is where I’m going to be the most effective. ... I’m trying to be everywhere pretty much on defense. A lock down defender? They might not call me that. But I’ll be a great help defender.”
It’s just one game. Silly to make too much of just one game. Especially an exhibition game. Obviously it’s only the very beginning. But check out the box score. See that +12 next to his name? Best on the evening. Maybe it was a fluke -- like I say, I wasn’t there, I didn’t see the game -- but I’m thinking probably not.
I would say it’s not inconceivable that Stephen, one of the great scorers ever in the college game, could make an early mark in the pro game not so much with that lovely shot of his, or his knack for finding his way to those briefest bits of space and light on a congested court and spinning or banking or adlibbing his ball up and through the hoop -- but rather his sticky hands and his active eyes, assets made valuable because of a mind that for whatever reason seems to enable him to see what’s about to happen better than most. Passing. Defense. From Stephen the shot-slinger.
We know this. Others might not. Out there in the Bay Area, though -- the watchers who aren’t just watching but are seeing? They’re about to.