Stephen Curry says watching the NBA bubble from afar a low point in his career
Stephen Curry’s “lowest point” came when his Golden State Warriors weren’t good enough to warrant playing basketball at all.
This occurred in the summer and fall of 2020, when the NBA held a bubble in Disney World to finish the 2019-20 season, which was suspended for the pandemic.
Curry’s Warriors were 15-50, last place in the Western Conference and too far out of the playoff picture to be invited to the bubble.
Curry missed all but five games that season with a wrist injury. Klay Thompson also missed the entire season with a torn ACL and Kevin Durant had left the team in free agency. The fall from title contenders to lottery dwellers was swift.
Speaking to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes, Curry said watching the bubble from afar hurt him, but it also motivated him to return to the top.
“Watching the bubble was the lowest point of those two years,” Curry told Yahoo. “There was a part of me that felt it was nice to get refreshed, and a part of me really missed playing on that stage. That was the first time in seven years of not being in the playoffs. We know each player had their own experiences in the bubble, but I would have loved to have been there competing. I would say that was the lowest point in terms of my basketball experience because I felt so far away from it. This is what I love to do.”
Curry added: “It got to me a little bit because you’re so used to performing in certain times of the year… That was hard because we know what it’s like to prepare for the playoffs and into a championship chase and how much fun that is. That’s the motivation I needed. That’s why I’m enjoying the ride we’re on now, and we’re not done.”
It’s become clear that the break Curry received was beneficial for his career. After playing into June five straight years as the Warriors chased championships, Curry got much-needed rest while working on his game and his body.
“I was like, I have to really take advantage of this window in time to get my body in shape, get stronger, get more efficient with every movement, work on my skill set,” Curry said on “The Rex Chapman Show” in April. “That I could come back with fresh legs and not be your normal 33-year-old coming back on the court.”
It also made him hungry — while other stars competed on the biggest stage, Curry was out of sight, out of mind.
Since returning to the floor last year, Curry has been dominant. He led the NBA in scoring last year while putting up stats comparable to his unanimous MVP season in 2015-16. He finished third in MVP voting, despite the Warriors missing the playoffs, a testament to his greatness.
He has continued his stellar play this season. Curry is averaging 29 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists per game while shooting 42.3% from three. He leads the NBA in made threes and is on pace to hit 451 three-pointers, which would shatter his own NBA record of 402 in a season.
Meanwhile, the Warriors look rejuvenated, with an NBA-best record of 18-2. The young players the team cultivated over the past two seasons have stepped into bigger roles, and offseason additions have fit the Warriors system.
There is a chance to still get better. After missing the past two seasons, Thompson is slated to return in December and second-year center James Wiseman, the No. 2 pick the 2020 draft, is on the mend from knee surgery.
Curry and the Warriors are back in the NBA spotlight, just like he wanted.