Austin Rivers knows a thing or two about defending Steph Curry.
The Houston Rockets guard isn't shy about his confidence when guarding the Warriors star, but that doesn't mean Rivers is unaware of Curry's impact on the NBA. To hear him tell it, Curry's transformed basketball as much as anyone in recent memory.
"Comparing him to other players, he's not the most athletic guy on the floor nine out of 10 times," Rivers told Warriors sideline reporter Kerith Burke and guard Quinn Cook on The Uninterrupted Road Trippin' podcast. "But nine out of 10 times, he's usually the best player on the floor, and that's changed the game. Kids used to want to dunk, and now they want to shoot 3s.
"He's changed the way basketball is played. It's a [3-point shooter's] league now."
Rivers said that impact is clearest on his own team. Under Mike D'Antoni, the Rockets lead the NBA in 3-point attempts per game (44.8) and 3-point makes (15.7).
He thinks you can draw a straight line between D'Antoni's strategy and what Curry and the Warriors have done over the last five years.
"The effect that Steph has singlehandedly had on the NBA has been huge -- and Golden State, period," Rivers continued. "They've set this trend where now we follow. We shoot 40-to-50 threes a game because we're trying to emulate what works, and what they've had."
They've also had a trickle-down effect, according to Rivers. When he's working basketball camps, he said kids want to emulate one of two players' specific skills: Curry's, or Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving's ball-handling.
When 6-foot-3 Curry nails a half-court shot, or 6-foot-3 Irving crosses over a helpless defender, Rivers thinks a young player would see either as more attainable than what, say, 6-foot-8, 240-pound LeBron James can on a nightly basis.
"They're not going to be doing the stuff he does, so what's realistic for a person," Rivers asked, rhetorically. " ... They're not freak athletes. They don't dunk on people. They're just skilled. So, that's every kid's dream."
Something tells us Rivers won't be dreaming of facing either Curry or Irving in the postseason.
You can hear the rest of Rivers, Cook and Burke's conversation on Road Trippin' in the player below, and subscribe here.