HOUSTON — Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas joined the Golden State Warriors as an assistant in 2006 and served under Don Nelson until his jettison in 2010.
Stephen Silas and Stephen Curry
Stephen Silas and Stephen Curry
Silas worked with a ton of young players throughout his four-year tenure in San Francisco. But the one season he spent working alongside Stephen Curry became Silas' most prominent task.
The Warriors drafted Curry with the No. 7 pick of the 2009 NBA Draft. At the time, no one knew what to expect from the sharpshooting point guard from Davidson. His draft profile listed him as an undersized combo guard whose size could prevent Curry from reaching his NBA potential.
Over a decade later, Curry is on the verge of completing a resume that could rival Magic Johnson's title as the greatest point guard in league history.
Curry has credited several coaches from his past who have helped him reach the pinnacle of his basketball career. But the two-time regular-season MVP winner has a special appreciation for Silas — who embedded a foundation during Curry's modest rookie season.
"Coach Silas is always good in my book," Curry said in May of 2021. "He helped me understand what it meant to be a pro and how to see the game as a point guard. He’s such a good and solid dude. He shoots it to you straight and is very approachable. He made me very comfortable asking questions and learning. And He pushed me."
Curry had a suitable NBA debut when he notched 14 points, seven assists and four steals in a 108-107 defeat to the Rockets on Oct. 28, 2009. He scored a dozen in a 22-point loss to the Phoenix Suns two nights later but struggled to find his footing over the next 12 days.
Curry averaged 5.8 points and 4.7 assists on .382/.333/.600 shooting splits over the next six games. But it was during his early-season struggles Curry began to lean on the stewardship of Silas.
Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant
Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis
The duo spent extensive time watching game film together, and private workouts helped Curry adjust to the NBA level halfway through his rookie year. It's the same tactic Silas used 12 years later to assist in the rookie development of Jalen Green.
Curry — similar to Green — fell short of Rookie of the Year honors while averaging 17.5 points, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals on .462/.437/.885 shooting splits across 80 games. Curry's lone recognition came by receiving All-Rookie First Team honors.
"We went through tough times back when we were going through this point his rookie year," Silas said. "To see where he’s come from there to where he is now, MVPs and leading the team, it’s hard to see when you’re the coach of the opposing team. But he’s just a great person and a great player."
After leading the Warriors to their sixth Finals appearance in eight years, Curry took home the inaugural Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP award Thursday night, following a 120-110 Game 5 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
While Curry is preparing to win his fourth NBA championship, Silas is scouting prospects ahead of the 2022 NBA Draft. Whoever the Rockets select at pick No. 3 will have an opportunity to learn from a coach who has helped guide the likes of Curry, Luka Doncic and LeBron James over the previous 20 years.