J-Lin did not expect Steph to transform hoops forever originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
One year before “Linsanity” was born, Bay Area native Jeremy Lin spent his rookie 2010-11 NBA season with the Warriors, practicing and playing alongside 22-year-old Steph Curry.
In a recent interview with Sky Sports, Lin recalled that season in the Bay and the potential he saw in Curry, who 11 years later is a four-time champion and the undisputed greatest shooter in the history of the sport.
“I felt like he was really, really good,” Lin said of his former teammate. “I did not think he was going to be that good.”
Curry, in his second NBA season that year, played 33.6 minutes per game — a decrease from his playing time as a rookie. Multiple times, Curry found himself oddly getting benched in the fourth quarter by coach Keith Smart.
“As poorly as he was treated, he still averaged 18 or 19 points,” Lin said. “I thought, ‘Imagine when this guy gets a couple more years of experience under his belt, and really gets the reins, the keys to the franchise, what he will be able to do.’
“So, I always knew he was going to be great. But I didn’t know he was going to be like legendary, revolutionary, transforming the entire course of basketball. I did not expect all of that.”
Smart was relieved of his coaching duties after that season. Two years later in 2012-13, Curry began leaning into his outside shot even more, putting up over three more attempts from 3-point range per game compared to the first three seasons of his career.
Curry, now the league’s all-time 3-point king, changed the game forever.
In that 2010-11 season, the Orlando Magic led the NBA by attempting 25.6 shots from beyond the arc per game. Last season, the Chicago Bulls ranked dead last in the league with 28.8 3-point attempts per contest.
Basketball at all levels — from the NBA to weekend pick-up games at the YMCA — gravitated towards the arc, prompting some online trolls to claim Curry damaged the game, a claim the superstar refutes.
“Stop tagging me in all these horrible basketball clips of people taking bad shots, telling me I ruined the game,” Curry joked on the “Knuckleheads” podcast earlier this year. I did not tell you to shoot that shot.”
“Anybody who knows basketball knows where I stand on that. It’s an amazing way to play the game. It opens up the creative,” Curry told The Athletic’s Shams Charania in January. “Everybody loves to shoot the ball. But you can’t skip the work and years and years and years and years of reps that I put in and everybody on this level has.
“So, don’t skip that process. It is a fun way to play, and it’s dope to know that everybody feels an attachment to it.”
Sure, Lin didn’t see Curry developing into the generational, game-changing talent he is today. But he saw plenty of star potential in the young sharpshooter.