The Utah game was blessed by a fantastic Stephen Curry performance, a real 29 and 12 Nash imitation. Or was it Chris Paul? Curry made a typical CP3 move in the first quarter, when he jutted his butt to keep a trailing defender at bay. The result was a swish, courtesy of a seemingly effortless wrist flick. Many of the post game questions fixed on the synergy exhibited between he and Monta Ellis, but Monta is something of a known quantity.
Stephen is not. His reputation vacillates from “role player” to “future All Star.” He looked most promising in a rookie campaign, and seemed to regress in his sophmore season despite higher efficiency metrics. Curry shot better that year, but failed to improve as a distributor, and distribution defines the point guard position in the eyes of most. Repeatedly, Steph fell prey to an ankle that has the constitutional integrity of a nation embroiled in civil war.
For all we know, his future is bright as it ever was, but it certainly feels dimmer than it once did. Between the injuries and the ownership handover, the situation has been far from ideal. The team never gave Curry full grip of the reins, and Monta Ellis plays as though reigning. Upon arrival, Steph has been mired in a half-measure where the Warriors can never seem to choose between him and Monta. Have we seen the real Curry? With Monta Ellis out of the picture, would Thursday night’s version be the real future Curry?
Stephen does not carry a reputation for inconsistency, mainly because he is of impeccable NBA pedigree. Inconsistency is for players we associate with “not having it together.” Stephen Curry certainly seems to have it all together with his new house, new marriage, new baby on the way. But fans of this team have witnessed his confusing gaffes, his maddening unpredictability.
One handed passes sail directly to the opposition, and occasionally out of bounds. He has a nasty habit of compounding such mistakes by fouling the opposition in a panic. Some nights, he’s firing pocket passes with the precession of Odysseus splitting axe heads. Other nights, he’s getting trapped above the arc, melting into the floor as opponents take the ball from the uniformed puddle.
There is the small matter of how he can’t beat people off the dribble. Steve Nash has worked around this fault, thanks to his handle, his shot and his passing. Curry has two of those attributes, but the passing lags. Whether or not he can improve that aspect of his repertoire will decide a ceiling that breathes up and down with each performance.
Who is Stephen Curry, what is he capable of? Is he tragically hobbled? A role player, currently role-playing as the point guard he’s not? An All Star in waiting? Is he out of here, destined to be the star another team boasts? Are the Warriors holding him back or vice-versa?
I’m not even sure Curry knows, and I’m very sure that the Warriors don’t–because the team will not decide on which guard to keep. In the mean time, he remains the biggest question. Every day is July 25th, 2009. Stephen Curry has just been drafted and who knows what the Warriors are getting?