Golden State’s Stephen Curry will start for the West in next Sunday’s All-Star Game alongside Timberwolves star Kevin Love. It is a collaboration that once again might leave Wolves fans wondering what if their team had drafted Curry sixth overall in 2009 instead of Jonny Flynn. Son of former NBA guard Dell Curry, the game’s best shooter sat down recently with Wolves beat writer Jerry Zgoda at the Warriors’ downtown Oakland, Calif., practice facility to chat about now and then.
Q Congratulations on being named to the U.S. National Team pool and your All-Star selection. Is it true that this whole journey here started with you just wanting to be taller than Muggsy Bogues?
A Yeah (laughs), that was my goal. Him and my dad played so many years together. It happened faster than I thought.
Q Can it be? Is this really your first All-Star Game?
A Last year was my first legit shot because of my ankle injuries. I’m healthy now, team’s winning. It’s a different situation than two years ago. I’m just blessed to be on the floor and to be able to represent the organization. We haven’t had much representation since ’97.
Q Did you know Kevin Love well before you played together on the 2010 World team?
A We played against each other in college one year. We didn’t know each other personally, crossed paths every once in a while.
Q Did he ever say that summer, ‘Dang, we could be playing together?’
A No, whatever happens in the draft, that kind of stuff, is hard to say.
Q Wolves fans make themselves feel better now by saying you never would have played in Minnesota. Would you have?
A It’s all relative. I wouldn’t have known what would have come to pass here or in New York, which is where I kind of had my sights set on going in the draft. I would have tried to make the best of wherever I landed. I know some people in Minnesota, so I wouldn’t have been alone up there. It would have been good.
Q Who do you know?
A Got some college friends who are from there, some family friends as well. I’ve been up there a couple times just to hang out.
Q Would you have fit well beside Ricky Rubio?
A Yeah, who knows what would have happened? The dynamic of that combination would have been fun, I’m sure. But it didn’t work out that way. Looking back, this is a spot here where good things definitely have happened.
Q One of your concerns about the Wolves at draft time was they didn’t have a coach, right?
A That’s right, they didn’t. I forgot about that. You never know what kind of system will be put in place. I probably wouldn’t have played well in the triangle offense.
Q Nobody really did. Did you know you almost lived in Minnesota? Bill Musselman wanted to trade a first-round pick in 1990 for your dad but was overruled.
A Oh, really? It’s crazy how much can be affected by a decision here or there. Pretty crazy. I didn’t know that.
Q A guy like Ricky has everything but a jump shot. What makes a great shooter?
A Some of it is natural, obviously. You can study the fundamentals, but it’s really about practicing at game speed. That’s hard to do. It takes time. You can stand in one spot and shoot it and feel good about it, but in a game there are so many different variables: Your legs get tired, the pass might be high or low. It’s really hard to implement from practice into a game. That’s part of the science behind it.
Q Any of it genetic?
A A little, for sure. Some guys just see the rim better, have a softer touch than others. That’s what differentiates each player.
Q Who’s the best you ever saw?
A In person? Ray Allen. My dad played with him in Milwaukee, and I used to go to practice and see them do shooting drills and it was like art, man. Every shot looked exactly the same. The arc looked beautiful. How high he jumped when he shot was crazy, you could tell how athletic he was. Obviously, the numbers back it up.
Q Have you been able to turn it into art yourself?
A I think so. I’m not shooting the ball as well as last year, but there’s just something about the way it comes off my hand. It just feels good. I’m always real confident in my shot, not matter how I’ve been shooting.
Q When was the last game of H-O-R-S-E between you and dad, and who won?
A My dad did, at this basket right here, in October. Still kills me.
Q No more one-on-one games?
A No, I don’t want him to hurt himself. But shooting the ball? He can still get out there and knock ’em down. I owe him one.
Q How’s the golf game?
A Solid. Somebody told me one of David Kahn’s excuses for not drafting me is I wouldn’t be happy playing there because the weather is not golf-friendly. It’s a big part of my life and a lot of fun, but I don’t think that would deter me from trying to establish myself in the league.
Q Well, that was one of the conspiracy theories: that you preferred to play someplace warmer.
A During the season, I don’t play much anyway. It is nice to be in the Bay Area, where it’s 65, 70 degrees today. But even in New York and the East Coast, it’s snowy and 12, 20 degrees. … I had the same situation here as with Minnesota: I didn’t come work out for the Warriors, met with the GMs back then. I would have been happy to be in the league and not have been some spoiled little brat who manipulated his way into the league somehow. I would have been cool whenever I was drafted.
Wolves week ahread
Monday: 7 p.m. vs. Houston (FSN, NBA TV)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. vs. Denver (FSN)
Player to watch:
Dwight Howard, Rockets
He’s not the franchise player the Rockets thought they might have been signing, but he’s an All-Star Game center nonetheless and defensive anchor to a team contending with the Clippers for the fourth and final home-court playoff spot.
“That’s why we pay him the big bucks and why he’s an All-Star starter, to do things like that.”
Wolves guard Kevin Martin on Kevin Love playing nearly the entire second half in Tuesday’s victory over the L.A. Lakers, even after he was injured in a nasty fall.