OAKLAND — Asked about Paul Pierce’s recent comments calling John Wall the best point guard in the NBA, Stephen Curry handled the latest in a long line of slights from former basketball giants with aplomb.
Fresh off the practice court on Thursday afternoon at the Rakuten Center, the Golden State Warriors downtown Oakland training facility, Curry nodded slowly and shook his head back-and-forth a few times before burying his face in a towel.
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The Splash Brother’s wordless reply spoke volumes on Pierce’s claim. On Friday night, with Wall and the Washington Wizards arriving at Oracle Arena, Curry will have the chance to offer his on-the-court answer.
“He’s an all-star, he’s been an all-star [and] will continue to be an all-star,” Curry said of the Washington floor general.
Through the Wizards first quartet of games, Wall is nearly averaging a double-double, pouring in 22.8 points and dishing out 9.8 assists.
“We know what he does night in and night out, and yeah, he’s always in that conversation anytime I hear the subjective list of top point guards in the league,” Curry said. “His name is always up there. So, he’s not sneaking up on anybody.”
While the 3-2 Warriors have wobbled through the opening week-and-half, the two-time MVP has been locked in.
Curry’s putting up 29.2 points per game and is playing as aggressive as ever, getting to the free-throw line nearly twice as frequently as he did a season ago.
He’s a perfect 47-for-47 when he does, but he’s not willing to discuss that unblemished run.
“The more you ask me, man. I don’t know,” Curry said with a smile. “I’m going to give you the most clichéd answers for that.”
Curry, who’s averaging 9.4 trips to the line — up from 4.6 a season ago — said he hadn’t even thought about the streak until Wednesday night’s escape against the Toronto Raptors.
His head coach, Steve Kerr, is impressed not just by the string of makes but also by the difference it underscores in Curry’s approach.
“It feels like he’s attacking more and drawing more contact,” Kerr said. “Forty-seven free throws was like a whole season for me, so five games …”
Kerr is paying more attention to Curry’s up tick in free-throw attempts rather than his minor dip from beyond the arc, where his early-season 3-point percentage has dropped from 41.1 percent a season ago to 36.5 percent.
“I’m much more interested in the free-throw numbers because I think that’s a really good sign,” Kerr said.
LIVINGSTON OUT VS. WIZARDS
Curry’s backup, Shaun Livingston, will be absent against the Wizards.
The veteran will be out of town, attending the funeral of Dallas Mavericks guard Devin Harris’ brother. Livingston is expected to be back in time for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Pistons.
DUBS TO SALUTE ATTLES
The Warriors will honor Al Attles with a bobble head night against the Wizards, but the legend won’t be on hand as he’s currently in the hospital.
Kerr will wear a retro suit to pay his respects to Attles.