After a bumpy introductory few weeks in the NBA, former Davidson star Stephen Curry eventually locked a starting role with the Warriors' and finished his first year with an average of 17.5 points, 5.9 assists and 43.7-percent shooting from three-point range -- a performance that put him in the running for the 2010 Rookie of the Year award. Though his season in Golden State ended more than four months ago, Curry has yet to leave the gym. He's spent the summer playing for the U.S national team and hopes to earn a spot on the final roster for the FIBA World Championship (Aug. 28-Sept. 12) in Turkey. SI.com recently caught up with the 6-foot-3 guard to discuss the lessons he learned from his first go-round in the league and what the Warriors need to learn to turn themselves back toward the playoffs.
SI.com: What lessons did you take from your first year in the NBA?
Curry: It takes a lot to win in the NBA. For me, I needed to figure out the pieces that a team needs to put together a winning roster. We didn't have it last year, but this summer we've definitely tried to make some moves to build a winning team. Now it's just a matter of getting some chemistry and trying to be consistent the whole season.
SI.com: What prevented that from happening last season?
Curry: It was injuries at the start. We also had a lot of turmoil last year, and that's tough to deal with coming right into training camp. But having to deal with that many injuries to key guys, playing with seven or eight in some games, it was tough. It can't get any worse than that.
SI.com:Don Nelson can be an interesting coach to play for. What was it like for you?
Curry: It was a tough year for him, having to deal with inconsistent lineups, not knowing who was going to be healthy day in and day out. He tried to mix and match the lineups to counter the other teams and use our strengths. But with him being so late in his career and near the end of his contract, there were a lot of distractions around him that you had to deal with from the media and the front office. You just have to stay focused on what's going on inside that locker room. He has a different approach to the game. And for me, he put me in position to be successful. He's definitely a players' coach and it was nice to see his wisdom come out throughout the course of the season.
SI.com: Who adapted to whom better?
Curry: Any good coach-player relationship has to include a little bit of both. A coach has a style, and you have your own style. One can't dominate the other.
SI.com: How did your first season change you, as a player and a person?
Curry: It made me more mentally tough, having to deal with emotions, the ups and downs of the season, losing games and especially having to play so many games and so many minutes, I think that helped. We just got a lot of experience, and the young guys who played benefited from having to play playoff-contending teams and having to compete. And we did that, we were right there into the fourth quarter trying to win games, building confidence.
SI.com: How will this season be different?
Curry: I'm approaching it the same way, coming in as if I have a lot to prove, and that will really force me to come in with a hungry attitude and play well in training camp. With the roster we have we can definitely make a lot of improvements from last year.
Curry: I spoke to Monta [Ellis] and David Lee this summer and we're all on the same page. We just have to be positive around the locker room from the get go. We can't have any drama to start off the season. If everyone gets along, we'll work toward that same goal and not have to deal with any agendas or egos.
SI.com: Your father, Dell, was a 16-year NBA veteran. What advice of his did you find most helpful?
Curry: He gave me a lot of advice about how to maintain my own personal routine and how to get through the long season. But the experience I've had at Golden State is nothing like what he had to deal with when he played, so I just have to deal with it on my own.
SI.com: Many players like to add something to their game over the summer. What have you been working on?
Curry: Not one thing in particular. Playing point guard [for Team USA] and learning to play with other point guards who have to run the two guard position, and then having to alternate has helped me for when I have to do that with Monta Ellis during the regular season.