Stephen Curry is an emotional 'tweener right now. It comes through in his tone.
He's excited about new Warriors coach Steve Kerr but also still frustrated by the firing of Mark Jackson. He's encouraged by the prospects of a fresh start under a new regime but still bummed out by the manner the last one just ended.
He's empowered by the task of leading this team through it all, yet feeling a bit marginalized as a player in the NBA machine.
"It's difficult, but it's good to know what the next direction is," Curry said Thursday in his first public comments since Jackson was fired. "It's still kind of stressful knowing how it all went down.
"I heard a lot of different explanations and reasons. I heard the positions on why management and the front office wanted to make a change. I can't say I agree with all of them, but I know what they were thinking and I understand where they are coming from."
Curry said he would prefer if ties were severed and that was it. But he admitted it stings to hear negative talk about Jackson. It feels a bit excessive.
"It's definitely frustrating for that to be the narrative about Coach," Curry said. "But that's so far from my perception of Coach and the reality I dealt with every day. From my dealings with him, I just don't see him that way."
His feelings about Jackson aside, Curry likes Kerr. If he had to have another coach, which management concluded he did, he likes what Kerr brings.
And he really liked that Kerr called him to talk before the news broke. Curry had just returned from a family vacation in Mexico, and that conversation went a long way for the star point guard.
Curry said he and Kerr have further plans to talk about the new system and get to know each other better. But Curry already has a good relationship with Kerr and is convinced the incoming philosophies and connections will help them win.
And he doesn't see Kerr having a problem meshing with the guys in the locker room.
"I just want to see him build that relationship with the players," Curry said. "To be able to get the most out of us. To challenge us. Pushing us to a higher level. And I don't think he'll have a problem with that. We're in good hands. I'm not worried about that. He just has to develop his coaching style. I agree with the decision (to hire Kerr)."
But moving forward isn't quite so easy. Curry said the emotions of watching his coach -- the guy he most credits for improving his Warriors tenure -- get canned and being helpless to stop it have yet to subside.
Remember, Curry came to the Warriors in the midst of dysfunction. His early years were shaped by Don Nelson and Robert Rowell. Monta Ellis and Stephen Jackson. Three coaches and 145 losses his first three seasons.
For him, Jackson embodied winning, stability, a change in the culture he involuntarily inherited. Curry said he noticed the strides Jackson made offensively and felt like his coach would continue growing with the team.
And just like that, it was all gone. Back to starting over. The baby out with the bath water. Two days after the team put together a playoff performance he was proud of even in defeat.
"We accomplished a lot," Curry said. "We've done things this franchise hasn't done in a long time. Management, Coach and us players had parts in that."
This was also a rude awakening for Curry, who is relatively new at this stardom thing. Perhaps he thought he had more currency than he did. Or maybe he was never forced to think about these things before.
He got a clear picture of what kind of power he really has. Even though he said he appreciated general manager Bob Myers keeping him in the loop on the search, Curry hit that players' ceiling pretty hard.
"We've just got a bunch of players that are trying to win. A lot of things are going on, decisions have to be made, and I can't control that," he said.
Eventually, Curry won't be torn. He said he and his teammates are too tight to be shaken, and he believes Kerr can maximize their strengths. They may not be the same strengths Jackson maximized, but the Warriors should be good nonetheless.
Curry said it is his mission to make sure this new arrangement works. He already likes what he hears from Kerr and the plans of management.
Doesn't mean he liked what just happened with his franchise. But ...
"At the end of the day, we're in a good spot," Curry said. "We've got a great locker room, and we know the direction we are going. We're still a good team."
Is this a 50-win team?
"We've got to be."
SIMILAR STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS
Stephen Curry's new coach was arguably the best 3-point shooter of his era, as Curry is today. Here's a look at how the two shooters' career 3-point numbers stack up:
905 Career 3-pointers made 726
2,058 Career 3-pointers attempted 1,599
44.0 Career 3-point percentage 45.4*
272* Season high 3-pointers made 122
* -- NBA records