Curry feels he has an obligation to uphold, and it stems from his childhood experiences shadowing his father, Dell Curry, who had a 16-year NBA career.
I have a different perspective on kids. I was in that position where I was around NBA athletes all the time and I knew which ones were a–h—s or not, Curry said. That actually affected me as a kid. My dad’s teammates or the people he played against, if I sat in the hallway and I said ‘hey’ and said ‘what’s up’ to them, if they even said something back to me, that made my day. If they just cold-shouldered me, that hurt. It wasn’t a lasting effect, but in the moment, that means a lot.
The only rookies currently averaging more blocks per game than Ball (0.9) are Jonathan Isaac, Jordan Bell and John Collins. He is also second among rookies in deflections per game (2.5) and steals per game (1.5), trailing only Simmons, who is in a dead heat with Donovan Mitchell for Rookie of the Year, in those categories. Ball hasn’t lucked into those numbers, either. He has a good sense of where to be when he isn’t defending the ball, and he can pick errant passes out of the air with his long arms.
Butler has delivered what the Timberwolves needed, not only providing a veteran leader and defensive stalwart on the perimeter, but giving Minnesota an able scorer (22.4 points per game) from all parts of the floor. Butler is a good midrange shooter, but he has developed the consistency from the 3-point line that was missing early in his career, shooting 37.2 percent from deep.
Butler leads the league in minutes played, which is of some concern because he has battled a bad knee this year.
Lillard has had reason to gripe about not making the All-Star team in the last two years, but with the talent-stocked West, it’s never easy. But he has been relatively efficient this year, shooting a career-best 44.7 percent from the field for his 26.1 points per game. And he enters the weekend especially hot: In his last three games, he has scored 50, 39 and 44 points, shooting 55.3 percent in that run.