Resume: 14.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.5 steals, 28.2 minutes, 49% FG, 45% 3PT (3rd in league), and 81% FT… Team record in games played: 13-13 (10-30 without)
I feel as though I should give you a mild disclaimer before getting to the bulk of the Stephen Curry section. Curry is my 2nd favorite player in the league. I saw him play in Buffalo, New York in the 1st round of the NCAA tournament in 2007 when he was just a freshman at Davidson. I was on the Curry bandwagon when every seat was still available. I even wore number 30 for my high school basketball team because of him. With all of that said, I’m going to attempt to do this section without completely gushing about how much I love Stephen Curry.
In the summer of 2011 ESPN’s panel of NBA experts ranked Curry the league’s 38th best player, which was high praise for a player going into his 3rd season. I only dropped him ten spots because when he’s healthy I firmly believe Curry could be one of the top 25 players in the league. In fact, about two years ago my friend Collin Stucko and I made a ten dollar bet that at one point in Stephen Curry’s career he’ll be considered one of the five best point guards in the league. I’ll admit, it looks like I’m going to be losing ten dollars in about 10 or so years because there are so many good point guards in the league right now, but there are some nights when Curry gives me a glimmer of hope.
Take for example the 2nd night of the NBA season when Curry thoroughly outplayed the reigning regular season MVP Derrick Rose. Curry had 21 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds and 6 steals compared to Rose’s 13 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds. It wasn’t just from a statistical standpoint that Curry outplayed Rose however. Curry simply looked like the better point guard. Shoot, he looked like the better player. It didn’t look like a one night fluke that we see so often when a mediocre player or team was locked in and the other player or team was going through the motions, and you could tell that was the case right from the start of the game. If a casual observer were watching that game, they would’ve walked away thinking Stephen Curry was the better player, and the best player on the floor. And that it was a shame that as Golden State was putting the game away, Curry rolled his ankle and another injury plagued season had just begun.
As a basketball fan it feels like a crime that Stephen Curry’s future is in jeopardy because of a bum right ankle. Maybe it’s a little more painful for me because I have a #30 Davidson jersey hanging in my closet, but I have to think that if Curry never fully reaches his potential because of injuries it goes down as one of basketballs more notable tragedies, with every other player who never had a chance to have an injury-free prime of his career. Rewind the tapes back to 2008 and Davidson’s run to the Elite Eight was the biggest story in college basketball. A year later Curry was entering the NBA draft and being considered as high as the 3rd overall pick. A lot of people had hopes that if Curry did slip later into the draft, it would be to the 8th pick so he could spend his career playing at Madison Square Garden for the Knicks. Anytime there were rumors about Dwight Howard being traded to the Warriors, Curry was a piece Golden State was very hesitant to give up for a one year flier on Dwight. That’s putting a lot of faith in a young point guard with some health issues. This could have to do with Golden State believing Curry could one day be an all-star caliber player, but it also has to do with the fact that there is something inherently special about him. By all accounts he is one of the great people in the league. He’s a humble kid who represented his country in 2010, won the NBA’s Sportsmanship Award in 2011 and has a certain aura about him that has been noticeable since he was a 19 year old freshman playing Maryland at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York.
If Curry (and Andrew Bogut) manages to make it through the season relatively injury free it’s conceivable to think that the Warriors could potentially contend for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Warriors have gone so long without a face for the franchise or a team that their incredible fan base could get really excited about. They deserve that kind of team and that kind of atmosphere in Golden State. Wouldn’t a healthy Stephen Curry be the perfect place to start? I like to think so.