Stephen Curry is a new age MVP. Like that information/microwave age type generation. Like a kid that skipped college and started a multi-millionaire dollar startup and now is a millionaire overnight type generation. Like a had an amazing two years and is now is in GOAT conversations, type of generation. Steph Curry has probably had the best two years as any individualÂ playerÂ has had in the history of the entire NBA, but before you go crowning him the best player in the NBA,Â let’s look a bit deeper.
The 2-time MVP has abnormal superstar deficiencies. He’s a subpar defender, a score first and pass 2nd guy and if his jump shot is not connecting his impact drastically diminishes. He’s the perfect MVP to take out the game because in doing so would only require you to shut down one thing and that is shooting. Fortunately, for him, his deficiencies are amazingly covered up because he plays on such a historic team. The Golden State Warriors as a TEAM is one of the best-constructed organizations that I have ever seen in any sport on any level. They are a display of a perfect basketball painting. If basketball was a puzzle, Golden State would be an example of a complete and fitting puzzle. This was not always the case, so let’s look deeper.
Early in Stephen Curry’s career he nursed ailing ankles and was nothing too special, to rant and rave about. As an under the radar recruit, he landed at Davidson College and played well enough to land himself in the NBA lottery. Everyone knew that he was an outstanding shooter. He even amazed LeBron James once in a college game. StephÂ had the potential to be a good pro but no one had super star expectations for him coming out of college. After a few okay yearsÂ in the back court with Monte Ellis, he did not wowÂ many past Oakland, largely because his teams were horrific and he wasÂ simplyÂ not that valuable as an individual to change the tide. He did average 17 ppg in his first year then 18 ppg in his second. During the 2011-2012 season, he only played 23 games as injuries kept him off the floor. He came back strong the next season as he averaged, 22 ppg and began shooting more three’s and making more three’s. It was theÂ draft of Klay Thompson in 2011,Â Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes in 2012 that helped change the tides for Golden State. Together their versatility helped space the floor much more and the system courtesy of the wise, Mark Jackson was birthed.
Golden State went on to change the game of Basketball with their small lineups and major emphasis placed on 3 point shooting. What about the pre- Mark Jackson system? I am glad that you asked.
Prior to the birth of the new system, the Warriors did not make the playoffs in Curry’s first three years. They were the laughing stock of the league atÂ 26-56 in Steph’s first year, 36-46 in his second and 13th in the west, with a 23-43 record in his third year. With the hiring of Mark Jackson before the 2011 NBA season the Warriors, similar to the Phoenix Suns in the early 2000’s started to favor a system of transition and jump shooting. The back court featuring Monte Ellis and Curry was aborted and Ellis was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Andrew Bogut. The dynamic and emergence of 2nd round pick, Draymond Green proved to be more worthy than starter, David Lee so they eventually traded Lee and placed their trust in Green as he fit better into the new system. The move proved to be a smart one as the Warriors made the playoffs for the first time and their first playoff series in Barnes and Green’s rookie year. It was evident that the Warriors were a team on the rise and General Manager, Bob Myers targeted the off season to get better yet again.
Summer of 2013 was a big one for the Warriors. While OKC and San Antonio were the West elite and Miami was dominating out East, Myers knew that he had a system that could be successful with the right personnel. On July 10, 2016, he executed a sign and trade that landed, an underachieving, former “franchise player,” in Andre Iguodala, two days later he reached an agreement with the versatile big man, Marreese Speights. The team went on to win over 50 games but they experienced a first round exit at the hands of the poised Chris Paul and his Los Angeles Clippers. The defeat came on the heels of a controversial season for their head coach, Mark Jackson. Jackson’s days were numbered all year, as he lacked support from management, ownership, and his own coaching staff. Jackson was axed at the end of the season and, Steve Kerr was hired.
Summer of 2014 was a big one for the Warriors as they got even better. During the off season, Myers signed, Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa to add more support off the bench. That move has by itself has impacted this year’s NBA finals. In short the large lump sum of the Golden State Warriors stems from great drafting, free agent acquisition and a successful offensive and defensive system. Someone obviously had to get the credit for the sudden success and for the past two year’s it has been Stephen Curry.
Stephen Curry has the most valuable presence on the Golden State Warriors in his opposition’s eyes. His presence on the court is enough to impact the game because he is a constant threat behind the arc. His presence has changed the way teams play defense and his ability to pull from anywhere on the court has given him theÂ power to influence the way the game is played today and moving forward.
At 6 for 3, 185 pounds he’s a new generation MVP but this is not the first time a little guy has dominated so heavily. Allen Iverson changed the game in his day, but Steph is different, much different. The two players are night and day as far as technique. Stephen Curry is a new type of MVP. He has exceeded any expectations ever placed on him. If you rather be surprised than disappointed then expectations should be low, I am told. If that is the case then, Stephen Curry has already exceeded any expectations ever placed on him to date.
Today is different, thus, expectations should be as well. Today, Stephen Curry is the first unanimous MVP award winner in the history of the NBA. Today, he did lead the league in scoring at 30 ppg during the regular season. Today, he did win back to back MVP awards. Today, he did break his own records and shoot from behind the arc with record-breaking accuracy. Today, hisÂ Warriors are up 2-1 in the 2016 NBA Finals. Today, the MVP is averaging a less than MVP like 16 ppg, which is nearly 15 points below his regular season average. Today, he is judged by fans and media much differently under the bright lights than his other super star counterparts of today and yesterday.
LeBron James has had grand expectations placed on his shoulder’s since High School. He’s exceeded them all, but not without harsh criticism from the world. Criticism and comparisons have been a constant during his entire 13-year career. Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Tracy McGrady have all never experienced great playoff success and they all have been criticized because of it. The expectations were always grand for them. The expectations are still unclear for Stephen Curry but the praise is routine. Perhaps that is a result of the new generation superstar treatment.
Stephen Curry is a two-time regular season MVP, and reigning NBA champion. He is the first MVP voted by unanimous decision in the history of the NBA. What are the expectations for Stephen Curry? Do we expect 16 ppg from this new generation’s MVP? When LeBron was regular season MVP in 2011 and lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals after averaging a mere 17 ppg, the entire world crucified him and blamed him for playing small on the big stage. When it has come to great players fans and media have always criticized them when they failed to play well as individuals. With Barkley, Stockton and Malone, some diminish their greatness for their lack of championship hardware. For Cp3, McGrady and countless other players many fans and media folks are hesitant to place “great” on their names for the sake of them failing to carry their teams to prominence. For LeBron James, we question how his finals record taints his legacy. Never mind that he leaves his all on the court as an individual, like he did in a losing effort in last year’s finals when he averaged 35 ppg, 13 RPG and 8 APG. Winning championships is a team accomplishment and not every great player has been fortunate enough to play on great teams. Nonetheless, great players are great players individually. What do we expect from Stephen Curry as a “great player” and “MVP”? He is a man that has defeated so many odds to this point. From exceeding his own father’s expectations, being overlooked in college recruiting, breaking records in collegeÂ to breaking records in the NBA, he’s shined bright but what now? Do we expect him to disappear and not have an impact in big games? How good would Stephen Curry be without his supporting cast and the
Do we expect him to disappear and not have an impact in big games? How good would Stephen Curry be without his supporting cast and the shrewdness of his general manager? Who would he be if he still played with Dorell Wright, Jermaine O’Neal and Monte Ellis? Would he look so great? We know what LeBron James was with the likes of Eric Snow, Drew Gooden and Donyell Marshall. He was good enough to carry his team 4 games shy of a NBA championship as a 21-year-old kid. We know what Allen Iverson was with the likes of George Lynch, Eric Snow and Aaron McKie. He was theÂ the type of player great enough indivdually to bring his team 3 games short of an NBA championship.
Stephen Curry fits the mold of today perfectly. He reflects an instant gratification and low expectations type of generation. A generation blinded by the present and dismissive of the past and what matters. Stephen Curry is a great shooter but, 131 sportswriters seemed to believe that he was the most valuable individual in the entire league. If I had a vote, I would have been the lone media member anti-Steph Curry hype, as my vote would have gone to the more versatile, RussellÂ Westbrook or LeBron James because I find value inÂ versatility.
We all know that the Golden State Warriors are a great team. Their 73-9 record shows me exactly that. What I do not know is how valuable Stephen Curry is when he is not shooting the ball well. Him and his splash brother, have not been making many splashes in this year’s NBA Finals. How nice it is to haveÂ strength in numbers. The depth is amazing and the system is solid, I am just not one to give Stephen Curry all the credit for that.
Perhaps he can start in game 4 of the NBA finals to show me something great because right now I am greatly disappointed in the league’s first unanimous MVP. I guess we do not have conversations about his “legacy” because no one expected him to have one. Anything he does from this point on is an exceeding of expectations, even for a unanimous MVP. As mentioned previously, it IS a new generation of the NBA and Steph Curry is a new generation MVP.