Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors are battling through a tough stretch that has seen them lose five of seven games since their big offseason acquisition, Kevin Durant, went down with a knee injury. San Antonio has pulled even with Golden State atop the Western Conference standings, and Curry has been struggling with his 3-point shot as the Warriors, at least temporarily, reconfigure their offense.
In the midst of one of the team’s most critical stretches of the season, Curry sat down for a one-on-one interview with FOX Sports, courtesy of his partnership with Degree Deodorant and their new 360° video content that he’s featured in. Curry discussed the dilemma of teams resting their players, his current shooting struggles and this year’s race for MVP.
FOX SPORTS: First off, how are you feeling? You guys just came off a pretty crazy stretch of the schedule travel-wise.
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CURRY: Yeah, somebody told me it was the equivalent — these last eight games, and the miles we’ve flown — the equivalent of flying from Oakland to China and back. So, a little exhausted, but it’s nice to be home for a while.
FOX SPORTS:In terms of cities and distance, the whole thing didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. [After wrapping up a five-game East coast road trip, the Warriors went from Atlanta, to Oakland, to Minnesota, to San Antonio, all in a six-day span.] Is that one of the weirdest stretches you’ve ever experienced from a travel perspective, or is there almost one of those every single season that just doesn’t get as much attention?
CURRY: No, this one definitely takes the cake. Just with the pit-stop at home for a game against Boston, and then back out for a back-to-back, Minnesota to San Antonio, it’s just — we were all over the map coming off of that five-game East coast trip. I’m sure some other player from another team in a different year probably had the same complaints, and so it goes. We’ve still got 16 games left to finish out this season, and we’ll be ready to go.
FOX SPORTS:So obviously because of the tough schedule, you guys ended up resting your starters against the Spurs, that’s a matchup a ton of fans would have loved to see, teams with the two best records in the league playing each other this late in the season. Is there a solution? Is there anything the NBA can do to prevent teams from resting players that are healthy? Or is that just going to be a reality as long as the schedule is the way it is.
CURRY: I mean, the league is doing something next season where they’re trying to stretch the actual calendar out a little bit so there’s less back-to-backs, and more time in between games to get the full 82 in before the playoffs. But there’s no way to really prevent a coach from making a decision that’s in the best interest of his team at any juncture in the season.
At the end of the day, that kind of comes with the territory a little bit; with 82 games, a lot can happen. But you can definitely put players in a better position with a little more rest in between games, and I know the league’s trying to do that.
FOX SPORTS:I wanted to ask you about your shooting. Recently over the last handful of games, your three-point numbers aren’t what we’re used to seeing from you, sort of those otherworldly percentages. [Curry is shooting 18-of-76 (23.6 percent) from three-point distance in his last seven games.] When you go through one of those rare stretches, do you do anything differently to try to snap out of it?
CURRY: Nah, I mean, my philosophy is, you shoot your way out of it. You obviously get more reps in between games, try to get that muscle memory back and the vision of the ball going in. You never lose confidence — that’s first and foremost. But there’s nothing really different to my approach. You’ve got to grind your way through it.
Like I said, It’s a long year. I’d rather not have to go through this kind of, whatever you want to call it, shooting-wise. But it challenges you to find other ways of being impactful on the floor, find other ways to help your team win. And I think it’ll make us better in the long run when we start making shots.
FOX SPORTS:Is that something your coaches try to help you with? Do you spend more time watching film of your own shots, to see if the mechanics are off? Is there something a teammate, someone like Klay [Thompson], could help you with? Or do you have to kind of figure it out yourself?
CURRY: Nah, you pretty much figure it out yourself. I’ve been shooting the ball a very long time, and I have certain practice routines that I rely on to kind of get better and stay sharp throughout the course of the season. And those are the ones I stick with. Whether I’m shooting lights-out or going through a struggle period, the consistency of that routine over the course of the season will show itself.
FOX SPORTS:So tell me about some of the work you’re doing with Degree, and what’s going on with this new 360° video.
CURRY: Partnering up with Degree Deodorant, they provide me with the protection I need to perform at my best on the court, and bringing this 360° video and kind of a new perspective to the moves that I try to do on the court, it’s kind of a never-before-seen look at my game, kind of up close and personal.
FOX SPORTS:I like the fact that basically with the camera angles and with you moving around to different spots, you can see what it’s like to get right next to you on the court. Was that difficult to film? You don’t see the cameras at all those angles, but obviously they had to be there at some point.
CURRY: Yeah, I was trying not to break anything (laughs), had to make sure I didn’t lose the ball. It was a little bit of a pressure situation, but it was just me, the cameras and the open court, and I just tried to do what I do.
[The virtual reality version] is definitely better, just to be able to kind of feel spatially where you are on the floor, and see how fast the moves are, the different angles and things like that. It is a pretty cool experience. … It’s as close to being courtside as you can get, right there in your home.
FOX SPORTS: One more basketball question for you, I wanted to ask you about the MVP race. You won it going away last season, There was no doubt — you were the first guy ever to win a unanimous MVP award. When you’re looking at this season, there’s a legitimate argument for four guys, maybe even five or six. I was wondering, when you see a race this close, does it sort of reframe the season you had last year, and remind you of how special it was?
CURRY: I actually haven’t thought about it, I’ve been so wrapped up in this year’s journey. But, yeah, the bar for me personally was set extremely high for what I was able to accomplish last year during the regular season. It does put it in perspective a little bit, just from start to finish the level that I was at — when it comes to winning, my team winning and my individual play.
This year there’s obviously a bunch of guys that you could argue for, and it’ll be a pretty competitive race down the stretch. I’m sure there’ll be some guys who felt like they deserved to win it if they don’t, but that shows you how healthy the league is, and the competitiveness that’s there across the board. You like to see that, and it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out.
FOX SPORTS:MVP has always been a very subjective award, do you think there’s any way for the league to define it more closely? Make it more objective? Or is it good for the league and for the fans to be able to argue about four or five different guys having a case.
CURRY: The subjectiveness of it is I think what makes it special. Because there are a lot of different approaches to the game of basketball, a lot of different perspectives, preferences, whatever. But at the end of the day, the people that they have voting — whether you value team success, statistical numbers, rankings, even just style of play — whatever it is, there’s only one person that can win that award every year.
So, I think that makes it a little bit more special when it is such a subjective kind of approach, that you’ve just got to make a decision to see who you think had the most special year out of all of them.