OAKLAND — On the surface, everything about Stephen Curry looked the same when he returned to work earlier this week.
On Wednesday, Curry showed his competitive side by renewing his post-practice shooting routine with Kevin Durant. On Tuesday, Curry showed his nurturing side by including fourth-year guard Quinn Cook as well as training camp invitees Tyler Ulis and Kendrick Nunn in his post-practice workout. And on both days, Curry showed his playful side by finishing those sessions with half-court shots.
Dig deeper, though, and the 30-year-old Curry has actually become a changed man. Before training camp started, though, Curry spent his offseason fulfilling a different routine. And it is something that Curry projected could have significant implications entering his 10th NBA season.
“It’s probably one of the best summers I had in terms of my prep work going into a year,” Curry said. “I’m excited with what that will mean on the court.”
What could that mean? Curry already has won three NBA championships. He has collected two regular-season MVPs. He has cemented himself as the league’s best shooter. But as Warriors assistant coach and Curry confidant Bruce Fraser said, “he wants to be the best.”
Therefore, Curry said he spent this past summer completing “a lot of consistent work” that did not reflect his usual offseason routine.
“In the past, there were times he would get the work in when he could get it in. I feel like this summer, there was a dedication to that,” Fraser told Bay Area News Group. “Not that he hasn’t been dedicated in the other summers. He’s a dedicated person and player. But mentally, I think he got more rest and also he assured himself a space each day that he could use for basketball.”
Therefore, Curry mapped out his offseason with specific parameters to reach this goal: “I definitely wanted to pace myself.” After Curry missed a combined 31 regular-season games and six playoff games because of overlapping ankle and knee injuries, the Warriors determined he did not any surgery or non-invasive procedures to heal those ailments. So after the Warriors won the NBA championship in mid- June, Curry estimated he spent about a month resting.
Once he began training, Curry reported that “my body felt pretty solid.” So after describing his past four offseasons as “chaotic” because of numerous vacation and business trips, Curry spent most of July in the Bay Area. Then, Curry worked out with his personal trainer, Brandon Payne, on strengthening his ankles and knees, while also sharpening his conditioning and shooting.
Curry stayed active in early August by golfing at the Ellie Mae Classic in Hayward. Even when Curry went on Under Armour trips in early September in Manila, Phillippines, China, Japan, France and the U.K., he squeezed in workouts there, too. Curry found that itinerary more manageable than in the past four offseasons that he described as “chaotic” amid other business trips. In the 2016 offseason, Curry also skipped the Rio Olympics and mostly spent that summer healing his rested right knee.
“As you get older, to maintain, you can’t take too much time off,” Curry said. “It was part of the gig. I had a lot of consistent work. That had me feeling good physically and mentally going into the season.”