With all the talk of physical this and “playoff foul” that, I wanted to focus a bit on how position and role impacts perception. Fans are constantly squabbling over who’s “soft” and who matters in this series, so I figured it’d be a good time to ask Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut about how their roles influence how they’re viewed.

For expository, Marcus Thompson reported that Nuggets players were taunting Curry as “soft” specifically. The following is from yesterday afternoon’s practice.

Me: Is it possible for a three-point shooting point guard not to be called soft? What would you even need to do to be (considered) hard?

Stephen Curry: I have no idea.

Ann Killion: You need more tattoos, Steph.

Stephen Curry: (Laughs) I can’t smile, and I can’t laugh, or joke. Seriously, I weight 185 lbs so I guess when I get hit by a 230 lbs guy, my natural body reaction…makes me look a little soft, but, I’m not worried about it. I gotta call Dirk Nowitzki, he went through that. The whole championship run, everybody said he was soft. He finally won a championship, and now it’s kinda gone away, so I don’t understand that whole concept.

(Andrew Bogut starts taking questions)

Me: Does it bother you that big men don’t get as much credit as the guys who handle the ball?

Andrew Bogut: Not really. For the general fan, the NBA’s ‘put up the stat sheet,’ and look at the stats. So, a lot of times, there are players out there who do a lot in the spirit of the game that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, and unfortunately that’s a lot of what we do. We play up the middle and we take charges, that’s just how it is. I mean, everyone within the game knows that, but the general fan probably doesn’t.

Me: Do you think that big guys are more defensively important than small guys?

Andrew Bogut: Oh definitely, especially on our team. We have so many great scorers at the 1, 2 and 3 spots, and so, it’s kind of our job to control the paint, rebound and set screens.

I found the exchange with Curry especially amusing because it shows how absurd such labels can be. Nearly any NBA player who isn’t David West or Zach Randolph can get their masculinity questioned, and there isn’t much to be done about it. The great shooters especially are called “soft” as a default, which means, what exactly? You’d think we could find smarter ways to baselessly criticize people.