The conventional wisdom is every team has to have a "franchise player", that alpha guy who takes the big shot, makes the big play at crunch time. Recently the implication has been with Monta gone, the Warriors will be built around Stephen Curry. We know the famous ones, Kobe, Dirk, Rose. Some teams seem to have more than one which at times creates as much drama than results, Wade/LeBron, Durant/Westbrook, Melo/Amare. Some teams' player with that role in or outside their organization are questioned as deserving that label, Granger, Joe Johnson, Iguadola. Some teams have young players they are trying out as that guy. Cleveland/Irving, Washington/Wall, Milwaukee/Jennings. My question to Warrior fans, is Curry that guy?
Actually my headline may tip my hand with the added word, "really". Monta was that guy which in parts explain his departure. A favorite on many fans he had that role for several seasons. It also made him a target of frustrations by other fans who felt he wasn't enough given the Warriors perpetual position in the standings. Obviously management eventually sided with that latter group of fans. Since it also made him their most trade worthy asset, he is now gone to fill an obvious need, a talented big man with both length and breadth.
Does that mean by default Bogut is that guy? Despite the clamor for Dwight Howard I think a center can seldom be that guy. Centers are too dependent on the facilitation of others to get them the ball at crunch time since except by virtue of size, shot creation is not usually in a center's repertoire. Especially in Howard's case where his dreadful free shooting, a trait he shares with several other big men, often removes him from the equation. Bogut wasn't even that guy in Milwaukee. That was becoming the aforementioned Jennings.
Many fans assume now Curry is that guy. Articles in the media would hint as much. When he has been healthy it even created schizophrenic drama with Monta going back to his being drafted that occasionally played out on the floor. Ultimately his recent injuries gave it back to Monta and the burden of the teams failures as well. That era is done.
So back to the question, is Curry that guy, now? Management has not really come out to say so. In the absence of Curry, Mark Jackson's actions have implied Klay Thompson might be at the very least, an alternative. I don't want this to become a vehicle for disgruntled Monta fans to express their displeasure. Monta is gone. This is about the dynamics of the team going forward.
I will tip my hand if for no other reason than to give this discussion direction and allow others to make counterpoints. I have remained a Warriors fan simply because of Curry. That said, I don't think he can successfully be that guy. Teams are five positions, some starters, some reserve. Just like having that legitimate big man in Bogut, I think Curry can be an integral part of any future Warrior success. I just don't think he is "that guy".
Curry is a beautiful, almost effortless looking player when he is in his zone. He is a joy to watch and one of the more gifted shooters to come along. My feeling is that is not enough. "That guy" seems to be a fearless, aggressive player who is either quick enough or tall/strong enough to create his own shot when you need it most. Whether it is posting down deep, flying past a screen or breaking down the defense with his dribble/penetration, that guy gives you a chance. In my mind, Curry does not have any of those traits. He is wonderful throughout the flow of the game getting shots but when you need that one big play at the end of the game, his only way to secure that advantage is maybe to back off to thirty feet to fling a three. As good a shooter as he is that doesn't seem something with a high percentage outcome, something inspiring confidence when it is all on the line.
My feeling is Curry is another solid piece but the Warriors do not yet have anyone capable of being that final piece that pushes this team where fans want to be, a championship contender. Maybe Thompson can become that guy but he is too young and raw to do that consistently yet, if ever. It has to be a guy everyone is so confident in that even when he fails everyone believes that if he couldn't, it wasn't meant to be this time. I don't believe Curry really is that guy.
What do you think?