Why Dell believes Steph can be elite for ‘several years to come’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
STATELINE, Nev. – Although Stephen Curry’s dazzling NBA Finals performance has generated discussion about the duration of his career, all we know for certain is that the end is not in sight.
“I would say another eight to 10 years,” ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins says.
That would put Curry, 34, well into his 40s. Slow down, Perk. Although it’s not impossible, it is highly improbable.
Don’t completely dismiss the prospects of Steph playing until age 40, though, says Dell Curry.
“Watching him play at 34, he can stay at his level and be this productive on the floor,” he tells NBC Sports Bay Area. “He might not score 30 a game, but you’re going to have to guard him. That’s important to have on your team, someone you have to guard. It makes things easier on your teammates.
“He still has the drive. He wants to win more. He’s hungry to win more. So, he definitely can play at this level for several years to come.”
Playing until age 40 is possible. To quote a recent example, Vince Carter was 43 when he retired two years ago. And his game was based largely on superior athleticism, which generally declines while approaching 40.
A better comparison might be John Stockton, who was a starter for the Jazz when he retired at 41.
Curry, like Stockton, is a point guard who relies less on extraordinary athleticism than skill, guile, and fitness. Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd, who retired at 40, considers Steph “the best-conditioned athlete in this game.”
The offseason for Curry, when he dives into grueling sessions with personal trainer Brandon Payne, is a time for sharpening his body, which has developed significantly from his early years in the NBA. He was 6-foot-2, 180 pounds as a rookie. His height has not changed, but he has added at least 10 pounds of muscle, mostly to his upper body. The result is wiry strength.
“I’ve seen it up close and personal every summer,” Dell Curry says. “Two-a-day workouts. Before everyone in the house wakes up, he’s already got one in.”
Dell played 16 years in the NBA before retiring in 2002, a few weeks before he turned 38. He knows both of his sons, Steph and Seth, want to surpass 16 seasons in the league.
Dell Curry was known for his outside shot — well, of course — and shooters tend to endure. Dale Ellis retired at 39, Ray Allen one month before turning 39, and Reggie Miller three months before turning 40.
Curry’s current contract triggers next season and runs through 2025-26. He’ll be 38 and will have played 17 seasons.
“I know 16 (seasons) was the number for both of them because that’s how long I played,” Dell says. “But now if you ask them, they both want to play longer than that. To say, ‘Dad, got you again.’
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“He’s got a four-year deal coming up. He can easily play at this level to fulfill that contract.”
Steph doesn’t dare put a number on his remaining years as a player. It might be four. It might be six. Eight is ambitious, 10 practically dreamy.
There was no sign whatsoever of a slowdown last season, so Steph remains very much in his prime. As long as people question his ability, he’ll be motivated to keep going.
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