GP2 has good reasons to compare Steph to soccer player


Steph Curry loves golf, is a diehard Carolina Panthers fan and has frequented Giants games in the past despite rooting for the Boston Red Sox as a kid. Really, though, he might as well be a connoisseur of cross country and long-distance running. 

In any given Warriors game, Curry makes the court his personal race course. He's zigging, zagging and running through and around obstacles for four quarters. That's why his teammate Gary Payton II goes away from basketball when looking for Curry comparisons. Actually, he avoids all the sports listed above, including track. 

"He doesn't stop moving," Payton said Monday. "I kind of think of him as a soccer player that just goes through the 48 minutes and runs out there on the pitch and is just going. He doesn't stop moving. He creates so much attention and he wears guys and defenses down. It's ridiculous.

"His conditioning and how he takes care of his body, it's ridiculous."

Entering Monday's slate of games, Curry ranks third in the NBA with 27.5 points per game. The way he's used though, even as perhaps the game's greatest scorer, is much different than others across the league.

Through 22 games played, Curry leads the Warriors in distance run per game by a long shot. He's averaging 2.54 miles per game -- 1.43 on offense and 1.11 on defense. Curry leads all three categories on the team, with Jordan Poole coming in second at 2.24 miles per game. 

At 33 years old, his 34.4 minutes per game this season also are his most since the 2013-14 season.

Curry has led the Warriors to an NBA-best 19-4 record, all while chasing the 3-point record. He needs just 23 3-pointers to break Ray Allen's all-time regular-season record, and likely would have already broken it if he approached the game differently. Records will be broken, just as he keeps putting up head-scratching stats in the box score.

As Payton knows, that's the least of Curry's worries. 

"That's just Steph," Payton said. "He cares about the win more than personal stats. He calls so much attention and he knows that. He sets his teammates up with screens and whatnot. We know what defenses are going to do.

"They're going to double Steph, so he knows his teammates are going to be open. ... I know he doesn't think about it, he just goes out there trying to make the right play for his team and everything falls into place."

RELATED: What exhausting 1-2 week revealed about 19-4 Warriors

For how much Curry might amaze us on a daily basis with the numbers he puts up, Payton's proud to be his teammate for much bigger reasons, knowing he's even more of an MVP away from the court. 

"Steph, he's just a good, genuine guy," Payton said. "He cares for everybody in the locker room, everybody in the front office, everybody in the organization. He talks to you just like he's a regular guy. You can sit down and have conversations about anything -- family or whatever. He's going to give you his undivided attention.

"I think him just being a great human is probably the best trait he has."

That, and his stamina as Golden State's very own Lionel Messi.

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