June 4, 2015 / 8:30 PM / 2 years ago

Pelicans' Davis keeping eye on NBA Finals from afar

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during practice prior to the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena; Jun 3, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - As Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors battle the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA Finals at least one of his peers will marvel at the guard’s shooting magic in the same way any fan would.

New Orleans Pelicans All-Star forward Anthony Davis had a front row seat for Curry’s long-range exhibition in April when his team faced the Warriors in a first-round playoff series, ultimately coming away impressed.

“The shots you see Steph make, you think the same thing as a player you would (as a fan): ‘how does he make that?,” Davis told Reuters in a telephone interview to promote the video game NBA 2K16.

“You might think they’re bad shots but (they are not). They have a team built that way and they know he is going to take them.”

It was a season full of new honors for the 22-year-old Davis who was named to the All-NBA First Team and made his first trip to the playoffs in his third season.

It ended quickly, with a four-game sweep at the hands of Golden State, and the indelible memory of the series was a three-pointer Curry made over the outstretched hand of Davis that forced overtime.

Curry’s brilliance aside, Davis now has his own vested interest in the NBA Finals, opening on Thursday in Oakland, after Warriors assistant coach Alvin Gentry was recently named the new head coach of the Pelicans.

“I know that he’s an offensive coach who likes fast-paced, get up and down scoring,” said Davis, who is on the cover of the NBA 2K16 with Curry and Houston shooting guard James Harden.

“We haven’t had a chance to speak yet. He’s coaching a team in the Finals so I’ll let him focus on that.”

Davis’s focus this offseason will be on his continued improvement. The 6-foot-10 standout averaged 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks during his breakout campaign but he is hoping to reach greater heights, and that this time next year he will still be playing rather than watching.

“It was a big year for me but you always want to get better and try to go into next year with a different mindset,” Davis said. “I want to figure out how I can make my team better and do more than just make the playoffs.”

Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue

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