Rockets coach Stephen Silas reflects on coaching rookie Steph Curry

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Historically, Steph Curry hasn’t made too many friends in Houston. The Warriors star and two-time MVP is 4-0 against the Rockets in the NBA playoffs, including a pair of dramatic series wins in 2018 and 2019.

But the animosity has died down in recent months after James Harden’s exit, which took Houston out of immediate playoff contention and put the Rockets on a different timeline than Golden State — which is led by a trio of 30-somethings (Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson).

It also helps that Curry has a strong relationship with Stephen Silas, who took over as Houston’s head coach before the 2020-21 season. Silas was a Golden State assistant when Curry entered the league, and they made a quick bond as Silas worked to help develop the No. 7 overall pick from the 2009 NBA draft. In his personal documentary, which debuted Friday, here’s what Silas said about his time with Curry as a rookie:

He was from Charlotte, and I had spent a lot of time in Charlotte. My dad coached his dad. We had a lot of connections, a lot of people we knew in common.

So every single day, we were in the gym, working on whatever. He would be at my house. The two-ball dribbling stuff, we started that together, and he was bouncing it off his foot. Now I laugh, when people are coming to the gym early to watch him do his two-ball dribbling.

Similarly, when Golden State last visited Houston in May, Curry said postgame that he was rooting for the Silas-led Rockets to succeed.

Among his comments:

Coach Silas is always good in my book. We watched so much film my rookie year. He helped me understand what it meant to be a pro and see the game as a point guard, and deal with some of the uncertainty that was going around the Warriors back then in ’09. He’s such a good, solid dude; he shoots it to you straight, very approachable. He made me comfortable asking questions and learning. He pushed me, too.

Things kind of clicked halfway through my rookie year. A lot of that was because of the constant work that we put in behind the scenes. I know he’s got a lot of experience since then, but he hasn’t changed in terms of his personality, and that will, hopefully, get them to a place they [the Rockets] can turn the tide.

I told him after the game I was excited that he’s in that head seat. It’s been a long time coming. That story is going to be awesome to watch unfold. I’m rooting for him.

“To see where he’s come from 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,” Silas said in May.

Now, in the offseason-compiled documentary, Silas can offer more perspective and without the immediate backdrop of defeat.

“They knew he could shoot, but they thought he was slow and small,” Silas said of his early-career stint with Curry. “But he got his body together, he got his mind right, and he was just a pleasure to coach.”

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