Steph Curry once had the greatest offensive season in the modern history of the NBA.
He’s not far off the pace of it this season.
But when conversations about the 2021 NBA MVP come up, I never hear Curry’s name mentioned.
That needs to change.
A quarter of the way through this season, we’re actually seeing a surprising amount of clarity in the league standings. The top five teams in the Western Conference? I’d bet on them remaining static. Same in the Eastern Conference. There are a few surprises here and there, but most teams have figured out where they are supposed to be at this early juncture.
And because of that, we can have serious, meaningful conversations about who the NBA MVP should be. It’s not normal, but this year, it’s acceptable.
LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, and Joel Embiid are the consensus leaders for the award — as well they should be. All three are doing exceptional things for exceptional teams.
I’m not saying that the Warriors star is on the level of those two bigs and the King right now, but he’s not far off their pace, either.
In 2015-16, Curry averaged 30 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game and became the first player in the NBA history to join the prestigious 50-40-90 club to score 30 points-per-game, shooting 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from beyond the arc, and 90 percent from the line.
That’s the season I maintain is the high mark for any player in the 3-point line era. (Sorry to exclude ya, Wilt.)
Five years later, Curry is averaging 28 points, 6.1 assists, and the same 5.5 rebounds on 47/41/93 shooting.
And it should be noted that he’s doing this in 33 minutes a game.
Efficiency has always been the name of the game for Curry, and of all the players that have played 20 games this season, he’s averaging the most points per 36 minutes, a parameter that often better explains impact.
All this to say that Curry wasn’t just being cheeky when he said that he feels like he’s in his mid-20’s earlier this week. He’s playing like it, too.
Anyone who has watched the Warriors this season knows that Curry is everything to Golden State. Draymond Green might be the team’s point guard and defensive quarterback. Andrew Wiggins might be a key wing. Kelly Oubre might be the streaky player that can swing a game. But the system is Curry. Going well beyond the box score, the Warriors go as he goes.
And with all due respect to Jokic, Embiid, and LeBron — all of which deserve nothing but praise for their play this season — I have yet to see any of those three mess up defenses the way that Curry does. Opposing teams lose their mind when they face the Baby Faced Assassin. Double teams? How cute. Try triple-team traps and box-and-1 sets.
Curry is still performing, amid an incredible amount of roster flux for the Warriors, too. The latest bit of roster worry is the fact that the Warriors have — let me check my notes here — zero healthy centers. Yep, zero. Unless you want to count the 6-foot-6 Green or Wiggins as a center.
Just for reference, I’m taller than both of those men. Now that doesn’t make me a center. No sir. (Though I am willing to accept the NBA minimum to find out the hard way.) But I don’t think it’s persnickety to say that I prefer NBA centers that are taller than every schmuck who is covering the team.
Still, Curry produces at an MVP level.
We’ve seen players win MVP awards on lesser teams. Russell Westbrook once won MVP while shooting 42 percent from the field because it was perceived that he dragged a bad team to the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.
What if Curry takes these ragtag Warriors to the No. 4 seed in the West while scoring 30 points per game and being a 50-40-90 player?
Right now, his MVP odds, per the reputable BetOnline.ag. (love a good dot-ag website) are +1200 — seventh-best in the NBA. That means if you throw $100 on Curry, you could take home $1300 if he wins.
I’m not saying it’s going to happen. Again, there are a handful of worthy picks ahead of him at the moment.
What I am saying is don’t let Curry and the Warriors (who are yet to win three-straight games this season) get hot.
Because if they do, it’s going to prove impossible to continue to keep Curry out of the MVP conversation.
Contributed by local news sources