Steph Curry Says Chris Paul Has Been ‘A Great Mentor’ To Him

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It’s been almost a year in the making, and all roads have been leading to this point, i.e. a Western Conference Finals showdown between the NBA’s two best teams, the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors.

Storylines abound, whether it’s the career apex of Chris Paul, who’ll make his long-awaited appearance in a conference finals series, the titanic clash of two all-time offensive juggernauts that are the embodiment of how we think of basketball in the modern era, or the chance for James Harden to find redemption after an ugly playoff meltdown last season against the Spurs.

Not to mention the matchups. Klay Thompson will have the honor of trying to slow down Harden. Trevor Ariza will likewise try do the same with Kevin Durant. And then there’s Draymond Green, who’ll do everything from battle Clint Capela in the post to chase Harden and Eric Gordon around on the perimeter.

But the main event will happen in the backcourt, where two of the best point guards in league history go head-to-head for a chance to play for an NBA title. Steph Curry talked about his upcoming matchup with Paul on Friday, noting that he considered the Rockets’ All-Star point guard something of a guru earlier in his career.

Via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“He was a great mentor when it came to understanding how a guy on his level prepared over the summer for an NBA season,” Curry said after practice Friday. “How disciplined he was, his work ethic, and I got to see that firsthand after summer league through the beginning of the season. And obviously we got a Carolina connection.”

Paul, who played collegiately at Wake Forest, was 24 at the time he worked out with Curry. In an interview that year, he revealed some of the advice he gave the young Curry.

“I just told him to be aggressive, as aggressive as possible,” Paul said then, almost nine years ago. “And as you watch games, because you’re not sure if you’re going to start when you come in as a rookie, I told him when you watch, learn different things. The best thing you can do coming in as a rookie is to watch. Watch basketball. When your team’s not playing, watch another team play because that’s how you learn.”

It’s a classic tale of the student becoming the teacher, as Curry and the Warriors have mostly gotten the better of Paul in recent years during his time with the Clippers. However, Paul enters this conference finals showdown armed with his best supporting cast to date.

Either way, someone is going to get an education when Game 1 tips off on Monday night in Houston at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.