Stephen Curry has remained sidelined with injuries, but that has not prompted him to sit glued to the bench. Despite seeing losses pile up almost by the game, the Warriors’ star has often joined the legion of fans who still want to relish in the small victories.
So when teammate Glenn Robinson III threw down a tip-in dunk in a recent game, Curry waved his towel, applauded and then sprinted down the baseline.
“It’s surreal that Steph Curry is on the sideline jumping around like a little kid and cheering for me,” Robinson said. “That’s the unselfishness that he has.”
That moment offered a glimpse on how Curry has handled frustration with both his injured left wrist and the Warriors’ league-worst 9-31 record. The Warriors have noticed injured guard Klay Thompson acting the same way. They no longer can help the Warriors with prolific 3-point shooting as they did through three NBA championship runs in five Finals appearances. So, they have channeled their energy toward embracing the team’s young roster.
“That’s what our team has been in the last five years, in terms of taking a lot of joy out of a game and joy in each other’s accomplishments,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “When you see Steph jumping around on the sidelines when one of these young guys is doing something well, it’s a reminder that the foundation has been built.”
Warriors guards Stephen Curry (front) and Klay Thompson (back) celebrate during the second quarter against the Rockets at Chase Center. (Photo: Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports)
In only the fourth game of the season, Curry fractured his left wrist after Phoenix center Aron Baynes fell on top of it following a hard fall. Thompson has yet to play this season since injuring an ACL in his left knee in the Warriors’ decisive loss to Toronto in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Therefore, they have spent most of their time rehabbing their respective injuries. After completing shooting workouts in the past week, Curry will be reevaluated on Feb. 1. Though Thompson has also completed shooting workouts, the Warriors will not evaluate him until after the NBA All-Star break (Feb. 13-17).
It appears more likely that Curry will return at some point this season, while Thompson will sit out for the remainder of the season. Regardless, they have exerted their presence elsewhere.
Whenever a teammate has stolen the ball, Curry has lifted his hand out of his pants pocket to indicate someone was just pick-pocketed. When the Warriors make a run that prompts an opponent to call a timeout, Curry and Thompson are the first to stand up and high-five their teammates. Thompson served as a guest analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area during a Warriors-Bulls game, which ended in Thompson interviewing teammate Omari Spellman about the win.
“They’re just supportive with their antics and are goofy,” Spellman said. “They’re trying to keep it uplifting and loose instead of it being so hectic and chaotic. It’s definitely appreciated that the older guys are taking the time to talk to us younger guys.”
Their teammates depict Curry and Thompson as more than just cheerleaders, though.
Sometimes, they offer advice on shooting, training or on the playbooks. Sometimes, they rehab around the team so they still feel connected and their teammates can observe their routine. Sometimes, they ask their teammates questions about their background. Sometimes, they praise their teammates after an encouraging performance. Sometimes, they encourage them through the losses.
“Seeing them do that to these young dudes is going to be big,” Warriors center Willie Cauley-Stein said. “They’re giving them confidence. When star players are telling you to shoot it or do something else, it gives you a whole different kind of mindset.”
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