Nothing can bring hoops heads together like a spirited NBA debate. And as quickly as misuse of you're contractions cocks the eyebrow of a grizzled literature teacher, a quick this or that proposition is all I need to get your sports synapses firing; your blood boiling.
Kobe or T-Mac?
Bird or Magic?
Russell or Wilt?
Right now, the basketball world overwhelmingly supports LeBron James as its lord and ruler, with minor factions taking up arms for Kevin Durant, and perhaps even Anthony Davis. You can see the appeal: larger than life, handles like a point, and a legitimate jump shot. Monsters. All three of them could rightfully be considered game-breaking in a way that no baseball or football player could ever hope to be. They're just next-level genetic freaks in a league full of genetic freaks: legendary folk heroes who our older brothers and fathers may have thought impossible just thirty years ago.
But Golden State's own Stephen Curry, the everyman who lives on trickery on offense, and hides on defense, deserves to join the conversation. Scratch that: it's time we end the conversation.
The game of basketball has sharply, and definitively shifted towards one that is at once highly scientific and analytical, yet free-flowing and creative. No one (and I mean NO ONE) exemplifies this shift nearly as well as Stephen Curry. Curry (a member of the first generation of hoopsters born and raised with the three point line), a muscle-memory genius raised by one of the game's greatest three point specialists, Dell Curry. And right as he reached an NBA age, the very first NBA teams were experimenting and discovering the value of a three-point fueled pace offense. Curry would be drafted by the mad scientist himself, Don Nelson, patron saint to long ball, high speed offensive gurus. And just as Greg Popavich, Mike D'Antonio and Alvin Gentry would later tweak and perfect a three-point pace offense, their perfect prodigy was just coming into maturity.
It is funny that the three-point savant who couldn't get a scholarship to Virginia Tech (a school which counts his father as a Hall of Famer) went on to essentially cement his status as a college basketball hall of famer at Davidson. And once he was drafted, all he did was improve each and every season, despite a chip the size of North Carolina on his right shoulder. In his own peculiar way, he's a freak born of the most perfect circumstances imaginable.
Now, the reigning and rightful MVP, NBA Champion and deserving Finals MVP has nothing more to prove and a scorched league in his rear view. He's broken the Da Vinci Code that is smart basketball with a longer than impossible range and cartoonish super-handles. He's not the greatest defensive player at his position, but he is a real asset on that end - something that few other MVP candidates can boast right now.
Warriors make us believe the impossible is possibl
•SBNation.comSB Nation's Tom Ziller writes that you want to be reasonable and assume they'll lose at some point, but then you watch them play and lose all skepticism.
His development arc is so unprecedented, we really have no idea when (if?) he'll stop taking steps. No one can tell you with certainty that Curry won't shoot 50% from three this season. It's anyone's guess as to whether or not he'll demolish the all-time PER record. Will he earn All NBA Defense recognition this season? He might. And the disdain with which he swats lesser teams for selfish stretches (he'll bury you in a quarter FAST)...there are no words.
But there is a narrative: a player so great, that he can intentionally decide to end games by blowing a team off of the court, single-handedly. Of course, narratives are just that: stories. They don't have to be true. But if Curry can keep up what he's doing now, regardless of his admittedly great teammates or also-great opponents - that's what we'll see years from now. Just as Stockton had eyes in the back of his head and just as Jordan could never miss a game winner.
Whether it was his rival, or a critic, his coaching staff or even Sebastian Curry, something has pushed Stephen Curry to the next level. And for a young man who still isn't content with even a Championship and league MVP, how much further is there? We're in uncharted territory here, so put a pin in it. Enjoy the ride, and check back in ten or fifteen years. We'll see what the world will have to say about this guy.
Welcome to the NBA's Stephen Curry era (dated 2014 - ?)