Stephen Curry is about as hard to describe in words as he is to guard on the basketball court. If I had to describe him to someone that’s never seen him play before, I’d probably say he’s the coolest, smoothest, down-right filthiest basketball player I’ve ever witnessed in my life, and that still wouldn’t cut it. If the human race had to leave something behind for the aliens to discover, I’d leave them a video of Stephen Curry pulling up from the perimeter. At 28 years old, the Warriors already-legendary point guard just won his second consecutive MVP award, becoming only the 11th player in NBA history to reach that milestone.
However, the real story isn’t the back-to-back awards, but rather the fashion he just won them in. Yesterday, Steph became the 1st player in history to win the coveted award unanimously. That’s right, something the great Michael Jordan couldn’t even pull off. Watching him ball the last two seasons has not only been a joy for sports fans, it’s been a gift — from him to us.
Just a few years ago, watching LeBron James dominate the league to take the award by storm, and the NBA Championship to follow, I would’ve told you that we’ve seen it all. Basketball can’t get any better than this. But last season, when Steph really became Chef, he reinvented basketball — not just the way its played, but the way we watch it as well.
In Game 4 of the Warriors series against the Houston Rockets, led by James Harden, Curry went down in the third quarter with an MCL Sprain, after awkwardly slipping near half court, to the dismay of basketball fans everywhere who looked forward to seeing what he’d do in the playoffs after one of the greatest seasons in basketball history. However, the time frame of the Curry’s return was set at two weeks, meaning it was likely he’d make it back to the court as long as his team could carry on without him. However, after an emphatic performance from Damian Lillard in Game 3 of the Warriors’ second-round series against the Portland Trailblazers, Curry did everything he could to make it back on the court to lead his team.
On Monday night, I flipped on Game 4 of the Warriors-Trailblazers series at the start of the fourth quarter. Curry wasn’t expected to play more than 25 minutes in the contest, until Shaun Livingston was ejected after arguing a call. Steph hadn’t hit a three-pointer yet — in case you don’t live on planet Earth, that’s unheard of when it comes to Stephen Curry. Not long after, Steph came off a screen from Andrew Bogut and picked up his dribble. Instead of waiting for someone to get open, Steph dropped the ball off to a spot near Bogut, ran to the corner, caught the ball back, pump faked, one dribble, and nailed his first three of the night. When he hit a step-back 35-footer in overtime with Al-Faruq Aminu breathing down his neck, I didn’t jump out of my seat or drop to my knees; I shook my head and smiled. I knew it was coming as soon as he got the ball.
For any other player, this is a season highlight, a one-time deal. Steph does it every game. He has turned the unbelievable into the expected. Curry went on to record ten points in the fourth quarter to push the game to overtime, where he then scored all seventeen consecutive points for his squad to lock up the game, putting the ball in the basket in every way imaginable. That is not a mistake; he scored SEVENTEEN points in five minutes of overtime basketball. That’s more than the overtime points of the Heat-Raptors’ Game 4 that night, where the two teams combined for fifteen.
The next day, to no one’s surprise, Stephen Curry received his MVP award, dedicating his success to his family and his wife, Ayesha. This season he broke his own single-season three-point record for the third straight time with 402 made three-point field goals, which is a 40% increase from last season’s record. Curry led the league in both points and steals per game, something only Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson have done. However, he is the first to have done so averaging less than 35 minutes per game. He also joins Magic Johnson and Steve Nash as the only point guards in NBA history to win the award back-to-back. I call that good company.
Others believe Russell Westbrook and LeBron James were overlooked in the voting, having incredible seasons of their own overshadowed by Curry’s dominance. But the stats aren’t even the most impressive thing about Curry’s season. As tough to guard as Westbrook and James can be, Curry was unstoppable. You could turn on any game this season and tell he was the league MVP. His combination of shooting-ability, ball-handling, quickness, and relentless effort every time he steps on the floor are unparalleled in the history of the game. Franchises are rethinking their entire schemes. Larry Bird just fired one of the best coaches in the league in Frank Vogel to transform the Pacers to match the small-ball style that the Warriors have had so much success with around Curry. In a game where height has been the most important factor, Stephen Curry has made the big man irrelevant.
It’s hard to argue that Curry can get any better, but based on his career thus far, I doubt anyone would be surprised.
Article Written By: Dylan King
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Dylan_King3495