Thursday, June 21, 2012
Steph Curry, Lin's ex-teammate, a believer
By Jared Zwerling
Warriors starting point guard Stephen Curry, who teamed up with Jeremy Lin in Golden State during the 2010-11 season, says the Knicks' restricted free agent has enough game to not only start, but thrive in any offense.
"Oh yeah, I think he's shown that," Curry, one of the best young point guards in the NBA, told ESPN New York on Wednesday at a launch event for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone. "Granted, it was great to see him play in the (Mike) D'Antoni system, which is wide open and it's a point-guard offense. But if he's in New York or wherever he is, I know he'll adjust to whatever role. The skills he showed that month he was out there won't go away."
Two of the biggest reasons Curry believes Lin has what it takes: Witnessing his work ethic while he was with the Warriors and watching him continue his late-season tear for a while -- from Feb. 4 to March 24, to be exact. During that 26-game span, Lin averaged team-highs in points (18.5) and assists (7.7).
"People always ask me, 'Did you expect him to go up like that?'" said Curry, who considers Lin "a great dude," and they still remain close friends. "Nobody could expect him to play at that high of a level for (how) long he did, and probably even longer next year. I knew he'd last in the NBA. He's a great talent, he works hard, he gets better every day you see him. But nobody could expect once he got an opportunity to start and play significant minutes that he would over-exceed everybody. I'm happy for him. Nobody saw how much work he put in his rookie year and even over the summer before we had to release him."
Curry called the point guard "the toughest position on a night-to-night basis," and said Lin will have to bring it every game. For almost two months, he did. Can he do it for a full season, not only on offense, but defensively against widespread talent at the one?
"You have Russell Westbrook, Mario Chalmers, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Tony Parker -- I can go and on," he said. "You've got to be on your game every night or you'll get exposed. You can have fun with it that way, too. When you know you're playing well, you're really doing something. You're playing obviously with 30 of the best point guards in the world.
On a side note, Curry said he still doesn't forget about draft night, 2009, when the Knicks were just one pick away from grabbing him at No. 8. But instead, his name was called right before by the Warriors, just as excitement was starting to build inside the WaMu Theatre at Madison Square Garden, because the Knicks needed a point guard.
"Obviously whenever I'm meeting New York fans just randomly, they remember the '09 draft," Curry, in town for a Samsung smartphone event, said. "The hype going into it was New York because they had expressed if I got to No. 8, they'd pick me, so that was just all I remembered. But there were seven other teams that had a choice. It's a funny story to me, still, that people remember that and how I was No. 7 and how close I was to coming to New York. For me, it makes me laugh. I have flashbacks to being in the green room and hearing the crowd booing the (Warriors) pick."
Spike Lee even once reminded Curry about what could've been.
"I talked to him during the world championships (in 2010)," Curry said. "He came to Turkey and watched us play, and he dropped a line about (the draft)."
But now Lee and most of Knicks nation is looking forward to the potential of Lin, who's now 100 percent healthy. On the other hand, Curry is still recovering from right ankle surgery he had in April -- his second in two years -- but he expects to be cleared to play in August.