It’s hard to imagine Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors having an even better regular season than last year, but maybe using their collapse and eventual defeat in the NBA Finals as a motivational source can actually push them to new heights.
Curry isn’t inventing the wheel by avoiding a certain painful subject for as long as possible. He didn’t rewatch the game 7 tape, that included him ice cold (4-for-14) from beyond the arc, and the Warriors losing by 4 points to complete three consecutive losses after already leading 3-1, until this week, as he prepares for the new seasons. LeBron James said he didn’t leave his house for almost two weeks after the 2011 NBA finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks when he was playing for the Miami Heat. The Heat won two NBA championships following that season, and James won back to back MVPs and Finals MVPs.
Curry didn’t say anything too interesting when speaking to Darren Rovell of ESPN (he rarely does). The Warriors don’t create drama, at least not on purpose, and Curry, the most popular player in the NBA last season (that might change this year), is as predictable as possible when it comes to his contact with the media. He leaves his creativity to the NBA courts, which is probably a good thing.
Maybe extra motivation isn’t going to be the thing the Warriors use to top their 73-win season. Kevin Durant arriving, along with others “sacrificing” themselves to chase rings, could be enough. The Cleveland Cavaliers might be the defending champions heading into next season, but the Warriors once again, and maybe even more than last season, are lone, major favorites to win the NBA title.
On a team level, setting a new regular season record, or coming close to it, doesn’t matter. Last season was the perfect example, if the 16-0 New England Patriots in 2007 weren’t enough, that the regular season matters, but not as much as the playoffs. And both Curry and his teammates have demons to exorcise this season. Like a lot of things in the NBA, it’ll be a build to April through six months of basketball before we know if the offseason work to fix whatever it is that went wrong did the job.