The English language is filled with words that overused to the point of being rendered meaningless. “Buzz” is quickly becoming one of those words thanks to wanna-be marketing geniuses across the globe. They think posting corporate news on Twitter and Facebook will generate buzz. More often than not, the “b” and the “u” are missing and they are left generating “zz.”
True buzz is generated when there are rumblings of Quentin Tarantino working on a new movie. When Kanye West releases a new single with a nighttime video displayed on buildings across the country. Historical buzz was Jesus walking across Lake Galilee and the disciples on the boat watching from the other side saying, “Seriously? This cat’s walking on water now? I’m in.”
Some new “true buzz” was created by the Warriors own Stephen Curry over Memorial Day Weekend at Carnival in San Francisco.
Four Warriors players were scheduled to appear on Saturday at the NBA’s traveling basketball medicine show at Carnival. By 11:30 a.m., Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Kent Bazemore had all spent time with a huge crowd of fans, signing autographs and shooting hoops. Make no mistake, fans were excited to see the three rookies.
But then it happened. Whispers began circulating through the crowd.
“I heard a car just dropped Curry off in the back. He’s on his way.”
Then more pronounced and excited comments.
“I think someone saw him. Curry is here!”
And then he arrived. Led through the crowd by security and Warriors employees up to the main stage. The crowd began to roar. Curry hurried up to the stage, moving quickly to avoid the dangerous potential of a mob. Like a scaled down version of The Beatles running onto the grass at Candlestick Park, he made it atop the stage and fans rushed to the front hoping for a glimpse of the newest member of the NBA’s star coalition.
I have been to Warriors events featuring players like Chris Mullin, Latrell Sprewell, Baron Davis and Monta Ellis. But something was different on this day. Something was different with Curry.
It was a buzz. A buzz not seen around these parts for who knows how long. Warriors fans had something new. Like Miami fans and LeBron James. Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant.
A genuine star.
Welcome to the club Warriors fans.
As part of the Warriors involvement with the NBA and Carnival, I was able to speak with Curry and Barnes for a few minutes alongside a local TV crew. Here is an edited version of those two short interviews:
Just polishing up my overall game. Not only working on offense, but working on defense. Just making sure I play both sides of the ball better next year.
Does the team work together to build relationships and chemistry in the offseason?
We’re a young group compared to most teams. It’s nothing big for us to hang out away from the court; kick it. Which I think helps us so much on the court.
What’s a moment from last season that stands out for you?
Probably when we beat Denver. That was such a fun experience. To be able to win your first playoff series in your first year. It was a lot of fun.
You had a great run in the playoffs. Do you foresee a 3-headed monster with you, Curry and Klay?
I don’t know. That is yet to be seen. I’m just trying to improve my game. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to shoot like them, but hopefully I can get close. I’ve never seen (shooting) like theirs. A mix of a lot of hard work and crazy ability.
How’s the head? How have you been feeling?
The head is good (starts laughing).
I just got the stitches out (Friday). No swelling. None of that. I’m able to get back out on the court. So everything is good. No residual effects.
What is one specific area you want to focus on most this offseason?
Shoring up my mid-range game. I get a lot of post ups and a lot of mid-range jumpers off the bounce. Trying to polish that up and make sure that’s more efficient next year.
You mentioned the Denver series as a highlight from last season. Is there anything looking back on the season that you wished you would have known then or anything you would have done differently as a rookie?
Yeah, I probably wouldn’t have rotated on that weak side and jumped when Boris Diaw undercut me. (referring to the play in the series-ending Game 6 loss to the Spurs where he hurt his head)
(starts laughing) That’s probably the one thing – if I would have known – I wouldn’t have done that. No stitches and I would have gotten to play more.
Other than that, it was a good season.
Basketball never really stops, so to have an atmosphere like this and to come shoot hoops with everyone, sign autographs and take pictures with fans; it’s a very cool experience.
You said basketball never stops for you, so what are your offseason plans?
A little bit of rest right now. Letting the body heal after a long season. But we start up pretty quick. About two weeks and then we’re right back getting prepared for next year. I’m enjoying this time right now and then we’re going back to work.
What was one moment that really sticks out for you from last season?
We had a lot, so it’s hard to pick one. But the whole Denver series and getting that win at home in Game 6 was a lot of fun. To see our fans cheering like that and to go somewhere that a Warriors team hasn’t gone in a long time. We enjoyed that.
As the elder statesmen you are now, what’s it been like seeing the rookies develop over the past season?
It’s cool. I was a rookie once. For them to have played the way they did all year on a playoff team and to have an impact all season, that speaks a lot for all our draft picks. We have a lot of young guys and that will bid well for us as we try to get back to this stage next year.
How do you prepare for next year?
Study the whole season. What we did right. Hopefully we have the same team back and we can capitalize on the chemistry we built this year. Start off in October running to get in position to capitalize on a great season.
Now that you have an offseason of no surgery and not having to worry about all the rehab, what facet of your game do you plan on focusing on this summer more than anything else?
Really, it’s just taking advantage of the full summer. There’s no real rehab process, there’s no worrying about ankles. I plan to get in the weight room and work on my conditioning over the course of four months. I feel like I will be able to raise what I do even higher.
Last summer, Klay spent one hour everyday working on defense. Are you and some other guys planning on joining him in that this offseason?
Oh, for sure. You could see the way that he prepared over the summer, how that allowed him to guard some great offensive talent this year and really try to stop them. We are going to follow that example.