The last time the Golden State Warriors won an NBA championship, Rick Barry was named MVP. That was in 1975, and the Warriors haven’t been back to the Finals since then.
Now they are – and Barry likes their chances against Cleveland.
“Well, I think they’re fun to watch,” Barry said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I think they’re the best team in the league. It’s nice that the fans finally have a team to root on to a championship. It’s been a long drought, to say the least, and I’m happy for the ownership and the whole organization and the players. I’m hoping that they get the full experience and they get an opportunity to enjoy celebrating an NBA championship along with their Western Conference championship.
“But this is a fun team to watch,” Barry continued. “Steph Curry is an exciting player – as exciting a player as you could possibly watch. There are very few people I say that are worth the price of admission, and Steph is one of them.”
So was Barry. In fact, Scott Ferrall said that Curry reminds him of Barry.
“Well, he does things that I could never do,” said Barry, a former scoring champion. “His handle, if I were playing today, I’d have to have a better handle. They used to talk about, ‘Wow, Rick can really handle the ball.’ I could only dribble with my right and left hand and do a crossover. That was the extent of my ball-handling skills. Steph is amazing. He shoots the ball incredibly well from long distance. I never played that many years with the three-point shot, but I only got up to about 33 percent. I think I would have gotten better if I had all my career to practice, but he’s special. He’s not only a shooter; he’s turned himself into a scorer and a facilitator – and that makes him a triple threat. That’s very rare.”
So is a first-year coach leading a team to the best record in basketball and the NBA Finals – which is exactly what Steve Kerr has done. But has Kerr actually done a great job, or does he just have so much talent that it was impossible to screw up?
“No, no, no, you can screw up a lot of talent a lot easier than you can screw it up when you have bad talent,” Barry said. “He’s done a tremendous job. He’s taken what Mark Jackson started, got them to be a better defensive team (and) I think he’s freed them up a little bit more. I think he’s probably been very helpful – Steph would have to be the one to validate this or not – but I would assume with him having played with Michael and being a part of all that and understanding what it takes to be around a great player that he probably has given Steph a lot of encouragement, a lot more freedom maybe than he had before. I’m sure he’s talked to him a little bit because Steph has actually toned down his game somewhat. He was always trying to make the spectacular pass. He still sometimes has a tendency to throw more difficult passes than are necessary, but he’s nowhere near as erratic with his passing as he was in previous seasons, and that’s taken him to a whole new level. But Steve’s done a remarkable job.”
Game 1 is Thursday at ORACLE at 9 p.m. ET, with Game 2 to follow on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.