Steve Kerr says Stephen Curry has ‘many more great years’ ahead of him: he is ‘one of the greatest athletes on the planet’


Over the past decade, there has been a debate about the ubiquitous integration of analytics into sport. Traditionalists reject the idea that computers know how to win games better than humans, and long for days when the term “load management” was reserved for the factory floor.

There are certainly arguments on both sides, but it’s hard to deny that advances in sports science have resulted in better-conditioned athletes who can play at a higher level for much longer. Look at Tom Brady in football, Justin Verlander in baseball, LeBron James in basketball — they all said goodbye to their traditional primes a long time ago, yet they still rank among the best in their respective sports.

There was a time when we thought basketball players shouldn’t lift weights because bigger muscles would mess up their firing mechanism. Now trainers tailor hyper-specific regimens to each player, with year-round programs often lifting on game days.

If anyone can confirm the benefits of training analysis, it’s Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry. It’s easy to forget as he enters his 14th NBA season, but there was a time when Curry’s basketball future was in doubt due to significant ankle problems. Thanks to medical procedures, strength and conditioning programs, and an undying work ethic, Curry has been one of the most enduring and prolific stars in the league, appearing in at least 60 games over nine of the past 10 seasons.

As he prepares to turn 35 during the 2022-2023 season, there are questions about when we’ll see signs of Curry’s decline. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on Thursday that he thinks the future Hall of Fame warden still has a lot of great basketball in him, and that we could see Curry shining on the field as he was 40 years old.

“I think with Steph you have to consider a lot more than just age. You can’t just look at his age and go, well he’s only got a year or two to go because that’s traditional when players start to fade,” Kerr said. “I think about Steve Nash a lot when I think about Steph. I’ve seen Steve play at a really high level in Phoenix until he was 40. John Stockton did the same in Utah. You’re talking about athletes who are relentlessly committed to their craft, to their bodies, to their conditioning. Every aspect of Steph’s day, he’s committed to staying at the top of his game for as long as he can.”

Kerr also stated that Curry may not look like a hulking supreme athlete, he is actually the elite of the elite.

“You’re talking about one of the best athletes in the world,” Kerr said. “Maybe not how high you jump or how fast you are, traditional athletic stance. But when you talk about hand-eye and balance and core strength, Steph is one of the greatest athletes on the planet. All those things matter. His ability to keep himself at such a high level, it’s no coincidence. He’s both very, a little gifted by nature, but also completely dedicated. I really expect him to have many more great years.”

The idea of ​​athletics has also evolved, thanks in part to analytics. The emphasis on vertical jump and sprint speed has softened, especially in basketball, while attributes like deceleration and balance have come to the fore. That’s why players across the league are constantly making comments about Curry’s conditioning and strength, especially compared to where he was when he got into the league.

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Curry is coming off the worst shooting season of his career, which would be considered a great year for any mere mortal. He averaged 25.5 points per game on 44/38/92 shooting splits, compared to the absurd 48/43/91 splits he had made in his first 12 seasons. All thoughts of decay were quickly put to bedhowever, when Curry averaged 31.2 points on 48/44/86 splits while earning his first NBA Finals MVP in a six-game win over the Boston Celtics in June.

Curry certainly hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, and his skills coupled with an elite conditioning level and work ethic could lead to an extended first as we’ve seen other superstars enjoy in recent years.