Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn. These are the six players that were selected ahead of Stephen Curry in the 2009 NBA Draft. With all due respect to Blake Griffin and James Harden, the only relevant names today from the draftees listed, Stephen Curry is the one player that all six franchises certainly regret passing on today.
The reigning NBA MVP, Champion and two-time NBA All-Star is a testament to the fact that sometimes even the player experts and analysts get things wrong.
There is absolutely no way to describe the miraculous play of Curry. It’s no longer just basketball when he’s on the court. Regardless of who is guarding him, his nearly unlimited range, no-look-behind-the-back assist wizardry and humbled charisma are components that make him one of the league’s best.
For those of you who still believe Harden should have been crowned the MVP heading into this season, I guarantee that belief has now diminished, as we are all witnessing one of the best starts to a season in NBA history.
Through just four games, the “Baby-Faced Assassin” has completely obliterated teams, scoring 40 in Golden State’s season-opener against New Orleans, 25 against Houston, an NBA season-high 53 in a Warriors-Pelicans rematch and 30 this past Monday against Memphis.
His 148 points to begin the season is the best start since the “Airness” himself, Michael Jordan, who scored 156 points through four games to begin the 1991-92 NBA season.
Currently leading the league with 37.0 points per game along with shooting 59.5 percent from the field, 48.8 from long-distance and averaging a league fourth-best 2.5 steals per game, what can’t Chef Curry do!?
In two games against New Orleans this season, he has averaged 46.5 points per game. Just think of the Pelicans as the little brother to the Warriors that can’t ever win because his brother is just better than he is at everything. He torched New Orleans for 24 points in the first quarter, 28 in the third quarter of the second meeting and scored 21 of his 30 against Memphis in the third quarter.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: Maybe, just maybe, the notion of Curry being the best shooter in NBA history might be true. Sure, some of you may say, “What about Ray Allen or Larry Bird?” But when you have NBA legends like Steve Nash and Rick Barry agreeing with the proposition, there isn’t much you can refute.
Curry’s mesmerizing start to the 2015-16 season has helped the Golden State Warriors get off to a 4-0 start. Consequently, as all great players do, Curry continues to make his teammates better.
The Warriors currently lead the NBA in scoring and are tied with Charlotte for most three-pointers made, averaging 119.0 points per game and 11.5 makes from beyond the arc per game. As effortlessly Golden State makes scoring buckets look, its defense has been stellar as well. It ranks second in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage at .380 and fifth in points allowed, holding opponents to just 94.0 points per game.
Certainly these statistics help illustrate the Warriors’ balance on both sides of the ball, but can we all just take a moment to think about how Golden State has made a mockery of teams so far this season? Each game has resulted in a lopsided victory for the Warriors, who own a league-leading +25.0 points per game differential.
Their 119-69 rout of the Grizzlies handed Memphis its largest margin of defeat in franchise history. While Curry did net 21 in the third, when a star player of his caliber can sit out the entirety of the fourth quarter against a team that made it to the Western Conference Semifinals last year, there is no questioning the possibility of this Warriors squad being that team to represent the West again in June.
Of course, it’s too early to make any definite NBA Finals predictions. But after last year’s 67-15 championship finish, “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson’s idea that the Warriors could possibly be the next team to reach the 70-win plateau is plausible with how they’ve opened the season. If achieved, Golden State would become just the second team in NBA history to do so. The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls are the only team to reach the milestone with their 72-10 record.
But only time will tell as Curry recorded 31 points in last night’s 112-108 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. The victory places the Warriors in first place of the Western Conference standings. Whether you are or aren’t a fan of the Golden State Warriors, there is no doubt we are all watching a legend in the making in Stephen Curry. Keep cookin’, Chef!
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of November 5, 2015’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.