“We may be a problem to solve in the next few years”: Stephen Curry repeatedly pauses when making predictions for the future of the Houston Rockets

Apr 4, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) dribbles against
Stephen Curry had complementary things to say about the Houston Rockets after they lost to the Golden State Warriors.

The Houston Rockets are running out of wiggle room for their season, but whether or not they make the postseason this year, they are leaving this season with respect from their opponents.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has seen it all with the Rockets’ ups and downs, but he believes the team is trending in the right direction moving forward.

“They will probably be a problem to deal with in the next couple of years,” Curry said postgame.


The compliments from Curry are nice to hear, but he may have knocked in one of the final nails in Houston’s coffin for the season. The Warriors’ win over the Rockets on Thursday created an even larger gap between the two teams for the final spot in the Play-In Tournament.

Simply put, the Rockets will need a miracle if they want to make the postseason and they will need an epic collapse from the Warriors, who are playing some of their best basketball of the season as of late.

As for the Rockets, they need to remain perfect and hope the Warriors slip up in a major way. That probably won’t happen this year, but in the future, the Rockets may already be in the thick of things at this point in the season if Curry’s sentiments are correct.

The Rockets are back in action on Sunday as they visit the Dallas Mavericks. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT.

Kurtenbach: Everything is on the line for the Warriors. They’re finally playing like it.

Golden State Warriors: With the past, present, and future at stake for Steph Curry and the Dubs, they turned in two of their best performances this season.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - MARCH 27: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors looks on during a game against the Orlando Magic at Kia Center on March 27, 2024 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – MARCH 27: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors looks on during a game against the Orlando Magic at Kia Center on March 27, 2024 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The best piece of direction legendary actor Gary Oldman says he ever received only needed four words to be communicated:

Oldman, playing Commissioner Jim Gordon in director Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, had just fluffed a take, unbeknownst to him, and the director provided that feedback.

Nolan didn’t need to launch into a self-indulgent monologue or provide a rah-rah motivational speech. He just needed to help a great performer shift his tone a bit. In four words, he did that. Brevity is truly genius.

Oldman picked up what Nolan was putting down. He nailed the next take.

I wonder if Warriors coach Steve Kerr provided similar feedback to the Warriors before the team’s Florida back-to-back Tuesday and Wednesday.

Countless hours of talking-head bloviation, barrels of ink, and infinite pixels have been used to discuss these Dubs. Are they good enough? Is the dynasty over? Why can’t they seem to lock in?

Don’t they know there’s more at stake?

The Warriors aren’t just playing for the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference play-in tournament — tiddlywinks by this dynastic core’s standards. Everything is on the line for the Dubs — the past, present, and future.

In a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, people will remember if these Warriors go out sad.

And if these Warriors cannot even make the postseason — or whatever purgatory the NBA considers the PIT — they have to know that dramatic changes are coming this offseason.

It’s not my money, but it’s impossible to justify Warriors CEO Joe Lacob keeping the most expensive team in NBA history together after not even making the play-in tournament.

For the first time in my professional history, I would advocate for a team to cut payroll.

At some point, being expensive is offensive, and these Warriors are toeing the line, putting the futures of Klay Thompson, Chris Paul, and Andrew Wiggins futures in limbo.

There’s some heavy stuff at play here.

And yet we watched the Dubs sleepwalk through critical games the last few weeks as if everything would work out just fine — it’ll take care of itself. The Warriors played with an entitlement they haven’t earned this season or last.

But we haven’t seen it in the last two games. A small sample size? Sure, but at this point, we’ll take whatever we can get.

And whether it was good direction by Kerr, a rah-rah speech from Steph Curry or Draymond Green, the inspiration everyone with a pulse would take from one of my columns, or the red-hot Houston Rockets — a fire was lit under the Dubs before they played in Florida.

Let’s be even more specific:

A fire was lit under Wiggins.

The Warriors have maintained — perhaps delusionally — that amid months of up-and-down play, they have a higher gear they can reach this season.

We might have seen that other gear in Miami and Orlando.

It had nothing to do with Curry (who looks tired). Thompson had strong stretches, but that wasn’t it, either.

Wiggins is the difference between the Warriors being mediocre and something more dangerous. It always has been this way, and perhaps it always will be.

He’s played with force in the last two games. Has he been perfect? Hardly.

But he has made himself known on both ends of the court, and that’s a dramatic improvement.

In all, he scored 40 points on 51 percent shooting and registered two blocks per game. After months of floating, he was a difference-maker.

This Wiggins was the second-best player on a title team less than two years ago. The Warriors looked like a different team with him back in that long-vacated No. 2 role.

It’s equal parts encouraging and frustrating.

My dad used to tell me that some people are “born without a sense of urgency.” I had no idea I’d recall that line so often in adult life.

But Wiggins has, indeed, kicked his game into gear; if he’s figured out that his future with the Warriors is on the line in the final weeks of the season; if he has found a sense of urgency, then we might have some fun down the stretch and beyond.

And if this is just another tease — well, that will make shipping out his contract at the end of the season to dip under the luxury tax threshold all the easier.

No one would be bold enough to predict where this goes.

Perhaps even Wiggins doesn’t know.

But Wiggins saw Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody play with force next to him and decided to get in on the act during the last two games. He’s remembered that he can be a difference maker.

And when you pair that kind of impact from a true three-level, two-way wing with a team that knows there’s more at stake than just a play-in tournament game, you have something quite interesting. You might even have something worthwhile.

Improbably, and perhaps even unjustly, the Warriors can rewrite their season’s story over the final 10 games.

The first draft would suggest that after two well-played games, they’ll go back to dogging it on transition defense, allowing blow-by after blow-by on the perimeter, and standing around a lot on offense either Friday in Charlotte or Sunday in San Antonio. They’ll rest on the laurels they don’t actually have.

But it might be different. That’s why Kerr was handing out bear hugs, first to Wiggins, then to Curry after Wednesday’s win.

That’s why Curry blew his fuse after Draymond’s early-game ejection. That’s why Wiggins has looked like a 2022 edition of himself.

This team might truly know there is more at stake.

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