Thursday figures to be special day for Curry, Warriors

Thursday figures to be special day for Curry, Warriors
January 22, 2014, 9:00 pm
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It's a win for the good guys. It says a lot for this organization and for Steph Curry. It would be tremendous, tremendous honor, a thrill and blessing.
Mark Jackson on Stephen Curry starting All-Star Game

Programming note: Timberwolves-Warriors coverage begins Friday at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territorial restrictions apply)

OAKLAND – Conclusion jumpers in 2009 were loud and rampant in dismissing the slender guard from the small college in North Carolina. He was too thin, too soft and too invisible on defense.

The kid from Davidson College might, if he worked hard enough, become a designated shooter off the bench. The next Dana Barros or Steve Kerr.

Stephen Curry, taken seventh overall by the Warriors in the '09 draft, has spent his formative NBA years dribbling through doubters, whizzing passes around skeptics and, most of all, drilling 3-pointers over the outstretched critiques.

The 6-foot-3 point guard now is poised for two announcements that could further raise his profile. Curry is among the names expected to receive an invitation from USA Basketball to join a pool of 25-30 players to represent the National team. Moreover, he likely will be the first Warrior named to the starting lineup of an All-Star Game since Latrell Sprewell in 1995.

The votes are in, the starters for the NBA All-Star Game will be announced on Thursday and Curry is a virtual lock to be in the Western Conference lineup.

"Assuming that it comes, it's well-deserved for him," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said Wednesday. "It's a win for the good guys. It says a lot for this organization and for Steph Curry. It would be tremendous, tremendous honor, a thrill and blessing."

Given that Curry was No. 2 among guards – behind the injured Kobe Bryant and ahead of the injured Chris Paul – in the most recent balloting update and it's expected he'll remain at least that high.

[REWIND: Curry 'humbled' to be in position for possible All-Star start]

Curry ranks second in the league in assists, averaging 9.2 per game, and seventh in scoring at 23.5 points. Though shooting a career-low 38.3 percent from 3-point distance, Curry's 128 treys are more than everybody except teammate Klay Thompson (132) and Portland's Damian Lillard (131).

"People don't understand, he's nine assists per game. That's Rajon Rondo-level stuff," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said on Monday. "On top of the scoring that he adds to the equation, he's clearly in the conversation for being the best point guard in the game."

It was only four months ago that NBA coaches and executives named him the third-best shooting guard in the league, so Curry's drive for universal respect continues.

"Everyone knows he was snubbed last year," teammate Draymond Green said.

Curry, 25, may have felt that way. Despite being one of four players – along with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Bryant – to average at least 22 points, six assists and four rebounds, Curry received no All-Star love. He then went out and averaged 26 points a game after the break, fourth in the league.

Expect the snub days to end Thursday. Curry was not available Wednesday but will be on Thursday. The USA Basketball announcement is scheduled for 7:30 a.m., via teleconference, the All-Star Game announcement for 4 p.m., telecast by TNT.

Barring a frenetic last-minute balloting rush, Curry should have two good reasons to celebrate.

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