Opinion: Steph Curry making a case for best player in the NBA

Ray Strickland

The Golden State Warriors are off to a hot 10-0 start, obliterating every opponent standing in their way. The Warriors mirror a team that is primed to make a deep run in the NBA playoffs and repeat as NBA champions.

The main reason: Stephen Curry is playing out of his mind.

Curry, who enters his seventh season in the NBA, is averaging a career high 33.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 5.3 apg, while shooting more than 53 percent from the field and more than 47 percent from beyond the arc.

Last season’s MVP scored 46 points on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night and it looked effortless. The shots he took were unbelievable. There were moments I saw T’wolves players shaking their heads in disappointment because of what they were witnessing.

So why isn’t Curry getting the respect he deserves? Curry and the Golden State Warriors were one of the most underrated teams coming into last season.

The firing of Mark Jackson came as a surprise to many in the league due to his success getting the team to the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.

In his first year, Steve Kerr led the team to their first NBA title and was praised for his basketball acumen. However, Kerr is not coaching right now, due to offseason back surgery, handing the keys of the franchise over to assistant coach Luke Walton.

Curry combined with Walton having no head coach experience makes his season even more special. If you add in all-star Klay Thompson’s struggles, you can argue he’s playing some of the best basketball ever to start the season.

NBA.com released their annual survey before the season with the league’s general managers predicting their NBA champion, MVP and other season awards. The GMs picked the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the title this season, as 53.8 percent of the votes were cast in their favor, according to the survey results released.

What was more surprising, however, was the Warriors got just 17.9 percent of the votes, putting them behind the San Antonio Spurs, who received 25 percent. An even bigger slap in the face was the GM’s predicted defending Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, who received only 7.1 percent of the votes to win the MVP again. LeBron James was picked as the favorite with 39.3 percent.

Now, I know it’s easy to say James, who has been to five straight NBA finals, is the best player in the league. To some degree, I can respect your argument, but that doesn’t mean we are going to deny the greatness of Curry at the same time.

He is already the NBA’s best shooter. He holds the NBA record for most threes in a regular season with 286. He is on pace to shatter that record this season.

James is arguably the best small forward in NBA history and one of the top five players basketball has ever seen. James is not the player he once was. It sounds crazy, but he doesn’t have time on his side. I know he can still sky for the occasional alley-oop tomahawk slam, but he’s played a historic amount of minutes.

Curry, who can and will only get better as he matures, doesn’t rely on athleticism like James does. He’s a shooter, as opposed to a bruiser like James. The physical toll the NBA season has on a player won’t affect Curry like most players.

Let’s remember, it took the greatest of all-time, Michael Jordan, seven years to win his first championship and James nine years to win his. Curry won his in six seasons, delivering James with his fourth finals loss.

The legacy of Curry has yet to be defined and James has a lot of years left in the tank, but I challenge anyone to come up with someone like Curry. He’s on another planet by himself right now and I think we better take notice.

Ray Strickland is an opinion writer for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].