From the moment #NBARank announced that Monta Ellis was the 41st best player in the NBA, Warriors fans quickly began to wonder where Stephen Curry would be situated in the countdown. Given the fact that he was the last Dubs player left on the board, it became rather obvious that he would essentially be deemed the best Golden State Warrior in the league.
After a little suspense, we now have our answer: the Davidson product is the 38th best player in the NBA. After a mere two seasons in the NBA, Curry is already rated amongst the top 40 best players in the league; surpassing seasoned veterans such as Gerald Wallace, Josh Smith and Golden State’s own Monta Ellis.
A large part of the appeal with Curry is his mastery of the point guard position. He may not be Chris Paul (and really, there’s CP3 and then there’s everybody else), but his abilities to run the team, set up his teammates and score efficiently are just too impressive at his young age to ignore.
The Warriors point guard is in the rare position that several superstars have been in before: he is productive enough now to be mentioned with the best at his position, and yet he still displays the potential to in fact get better at the tender age of 23.
During the 2010-11 regular season, Stephen Curry averaged 18.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game on 48 percent field goal shooting. Furthermore, Curry was one of the league’s best snipers, converting 44.2 percent of his 3-point field goal attempts and 93.4 percent of his three throw attempts (tops in the league).
The shooting numbers are eerily reminiscent of a former two-time league MVP that plays for the Phoenix Suns. Indeed, one would expect a player like Ray Allen to display such efficiency from the field, but to obtain it from a player who tends to have the ball in his hands quite often is quite impressive. Given the fact that Curry must bring the ball up court, get the team in the offense and often create shots late in the shot clock, his shooting numbers are a testament to just how skilled the point guard is.
Also, several observers share the opinion (and rightfully so) that Curry is a wizard with the basketball. He is a gifted ball handler that routinely leaves his man confused with a combination of crossovers and he also manages to finish when he attacks the basket despite his diminutive frame. Whether we want to accept it or not, Curry’s play may not be as flashy or exactly on par with Steve Nash’s; but it’s hard not to be reminded of the Suns star when looking at Curry’s exploits.
His statistical output last season resulted in a player efficiency ranking (more commonly referred to as PER) of 19.4, which was 32nd best in the league.
Thus, many may share the opinion that Curry’s ranking was a direct result of people fawning over his tremendous potential, but truth be told he was quite productive during his sophomore season.
He still has some developing to do before we can mention him in the same breath as players such as Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo and even Steve Nash; but make no mistake about it, the young player has not only arrived, but he is trailing the elite point guards in the game today.
And not by much.