Every player in the league goes through a period of adjustment after the offseason. Practices and preseason games aren't quite on the level of competition that regular season NBA games exhibit; this is why some athletes struggle on their return to the spotlight.
Stephen Curry's recent play indicates he might be part of that group.
Prior to their victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 4, Curry turned the ball over an average of 6.3 times per game. That number is grossly inflated due to his abysmal 11 turnovers against the Los Angeles Clippers on October 31, a 126-115 loss despite 38 points (9-of-14 three-point field goals) and nine assists.
Chris Paul, the star point guard of the Clippers, is consistently held in high regard and most often credited as being the best defensive point guard in the league, thus it's not entirely fair to tear Curry down for his high turnover rate. And though the long-range specialist is considered a star in his own right, Curry can't be excused for committing many errors.
That's unacceptable to me as his coach. But more importantly, he knows it. So there is no sense in me beating him upside the head. What will not happen is (me) taking him out.
Jackson, one of the more underappreciated head coaches in the league, did a great job of not only being brutally honest about his point guard's lack of efficiency on the court. He also reinforced his belief in Curry as his starting point guard.
Curry called himself out on his performances of late, saying he needs to "play smarter" and "sometimes, getting a shot up is better than trying to thread a needle when it's not necessary." Most fans would implore Curry to shoot rather than pass, given his scorching 53.2 percent shooting this season, but it shouldn't take away from his role as the team's central distributor.
Curry was able to keep true to his statements on Monday, as he had a fantastic game against the Sixers. His triple-double of 18 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in only 29 minutes of play was quite impressive, but he also limited his turnovers to just two.
The first came at 8:52 remaining in the first quarter, as rookie Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young trapped Curry at midcourt. It was close to being a blocking foul on Young, but the end result was Curry's first miscue of the game. The second turnover was committed with 1:07 left in the third quarter, as Sixers guard Darius Morris stole the ball.
Curry was patient throughout the game and consistently got his teammates involved on the offensive end. He isn't a pass-first player by nature, and the Warriors don't need him to be. His ball-handling and passing are stellar; thus Curry minimizing his turnovers should occur as he reacclimates himself to the defensive intensity of regular-season NBA basketball.
His impressive output in the playoffs last year (23.4 points and 8.1 assists) will no doubt mean that Curry garners further attention from opponents this season, hence the early-season sloppiness should really come as no surprise.
Hopefully, that's all it is, unless Curry somehow forgot how to play basketball over the course of the offseason. His 22 points and 9.8 assists this season certainly don't indicate that, nor does his jaw-dropping 4.5 makes per game from three-point range.
Curry's high turnover rate certainly won't become a trend, but Golden State is no doubt hopeful it ends sooner than later.