The Golden State Warriors fashioned what can be considered a dynasty in today’s world when they appeared in five consecutive NBA Finals and captured three titles between 2014 and 2019. However, last year they went from the penthouse to the outhouse in the blink of a season but this year they have risen from the NBA basement to a middling contender. Many believe their ascension would not have been possible without the herculean performances of Steph Curry.
Although the NBA odds on Curry to win the MVP of the 2020-21 season is a longshot, as he is currently listed at 20-1 along with Joel Embiid, trailing the overwhelming favorite, Nikola Jokic at 1-100, one can certainly make a case for the two-time MVP and three-time NBA champion. And if the argument for Steph Curry winning the coveted award this season needed any street cred, then let LeBron James take it from here.
“For our paths to continue to cross in our careers is pretty unique and pretty cool,” LeBron said. “Our paths have been crossed again. It’s always been a level of respect that’s even beyond the game of basketball, the way I feel for Steph. Just look what he’s done this year. Everybody counted him out this year. Everybody saying now that Klay is hurt, can Steph lead a team on his own, can he carry a team into the postseason, can he keep a team afloat, he’s done that, and more.
“If you’re looking for MVP if Steph is not on Golden State’s team, what are we looking at? We get caught up in the record sometimes instead of just saying, ‘who had the best season that year?’ And Steph has had, in my opinion, the best season all year. Obviously, I don’t think Steph is going to get [the MVP]. … That’s another conversation. But in my eyes, he’s played the best basketball all year round.”
Curry Wins Scoring Crown
Stephen Curry has wrapped up the second scoring title of his storied career, averaging 31.98 points per game this season. But what made this year’s scoring crown even sweeter than his first back in 2016, is that this time around he bested his previous high of 30.1 points per game and did it at an age when most players are taking days off and limiting their minutes on the court to save their legs for the postseason.
But at 33-years-old, Curry has never been more dangerous and even though his supporting cast is no longer elite, his ability to single-handedly take over and steal a game is at an all-time high. Only one player in NBA history has won the scoring title at a more advanced age – Michael Jordan at age 35 in 1998.
When Curry was asked about his reaction to LeBron James’ ringing endorsement of him as the league’s MVP this season, he stated, “I respect him for it and I appreciate it. We all know as competitors, though, when the lights are on, I can talk about how great he is until I’m blue in the face and he can do the same, it doesn’t change how we approach that competition when we’re out there.”
If we ponder where Steph Curry ranks in the pantheon of all-time greats, we should consider that he is only the fourth player in league history to win multiple NBA championships, MVP awards, and now scoring titles. The other three, you ask? The late Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and of course, Michael Jordan. Noticeably absent is LeBron James who has more championship rings and MVP trophies than Curry but has won only one scoring title (2008).
What makes this achievement even more impressive than most, if not all, of Curry’s other individual awards, is that he did it despite the opposition being able to double team him throughout the season. When Curry played on those championship editions, he was allowed more room to roam because there were the likes of Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, and Andre Iguodala to consider.
And lastly, he didn’t have to be on the court for the full 48 to achieve this lofty scoring average. As a matter of fact, Curry has had several seasons in which he exceeded the 34.2 minutes per game he averaged this season. He was a force to be reckoned with on a team devoid of the requisite luminaries who normally accompany a scoring champ.
“Well, he’s never been better, I can say that,” Golden Ste coach, Steve Kerr told reporters. “He’s been great for a long time, though, so it’s hard to say he’s at his best now because he’s been like this for years. I think what’s different this year is just the supporting cast.”
And although Stephen Curry will likely wind up second best to Denver’s Nikola Jokic in the MVP balloting, we can’t help think that without him, the Warriors would be on vacation right about now.