As Stephen Curry ascended towards the podium and received the NBA's Most Valuable Player award, it was clear he and his team knew there was still unfinished business on their agenda. As Curry expressed, winning the MVP was just a minor checkpoint on that mission, noting a bigger goal ahead.
Similarly, in his sixth season, it's just the end of a chapter for Curry's story with the next one potentially even more exciting.
Curry became the fastest player in NBA history to make 1000 career three-pointers this year and finally came out victorious in the three-point contest at All-Star weekend. In the 2012-13 season, he broke Ray Allen's previous mark of 269 made three-pointers by nailing 272 threes of his own. Amazingly, Curry shattered his own personal best by dropping 286 triples in 80 regular season games this season. It would not be surprising see him surpass 300 made triples in a season one day.
Steph can downright shoot the ball but there are things he does that certainly separate him from his peers. Despite attempting them at an astounding rate (8.1 3PT attempts/game), Curry is shooting treys with efficiency and using creativity to get the looks he wants. For his career, Curry has converted 44% of his three-pointers per Basketball Reference. To put that into perspective, the league average for three-point percentage this season was 35%. Additionally, Curry is an excellent shot creator off the dribble sporting 52% on pull-up threes and 55% on step-back threes via NBA.com's Advanced Statistics. He utilizes a mixture of deadly hesitation and crossovers moves to create space and sometimes break the opponent's ankles and the internet.
When looking at the NBA's current trajectory, it points to more three-point shooting -- one of Curry's greatest strengths. Furthermore, the evolution of the three-pointer correlates with "small ball" and "space and pace" offensive systems. This style is evident in Steve Kerr's offense and Curry has thrived in both situations as a ball handler and off-ball spot-up shooter.
Curry has improved statistically per 36 minutes in points and assists. His field goal, three-point, and free-throw percentages remain constants even in an injury-lost season. His consistency across the chart shows that he's able to fully maximize his skill set despite not having the body of an athletic specimen. Steph is capable of pouring in points and he has the potential to drop averages of 20-and-10 in a season or even join the 50/40/90 club.
Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.
Faith. Passion. Drive. Will.
Those were the four ideals that Curry described his journey in his MVP acceptance speech in which he emotionally thanked everyone who played a role in his life including his family, friends, coaches, front office & staff, and teammates.
His heartfelt and meaningful message reflected his values as a player and person and how he strives to become better. Steph's story is about embracing what is around him and making the most of it.
The MVP is a quiet leader for the most part. He is rarely seen as the enforcer or the locker room vocal guy. His calming presence stabilizes the team and his effortless ability to do insane things brings energy to the crowd. Per ESPN, Draymond Green added that Curry will change plays to get his teammates going.
"One time, Bogut tried to call a play for Steph, and Steph's like, 'Nah, we're going to Klay.' And Klay gets a bucket. And that's important to our chemistry and important to our success."
Curry plays with a passion and loads of confidence that resonate in his game. There is never anger or fire in Steph, but a sense of freedom when he dances around defenders right into a beautiful jumper. Curry's a joy to watch because he doesn't have negative body language even when things aren't going well. With his drive to overcome a deficit and will to take over the game, Curry finds a way to make an impact when the going gets tough.
With a humble and genuine personality, Steph is a role model on and off the floor. He's a great teammate, class act and family man. His teammate Green says "[Curry] is a great guy to everybody". On top of that, Curry has been involved with the United Nations Nothing But Nets campaign, distributing mosquito nets across Africa to protect against malaria. Last season, he also started his own Three-For-Three Challenge by donating three bed nets for every three-pointer made in the season.
Chef Curry cooks defenders by day but he's also a magician by night.
Curry's rise in popularity may soon put him in the same category as global icons like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. After leading all vote-getters in the 2015 NBA All-Star balloting, starting in his second All-Star game and finishing second in NBA jersey sales, Curry has more than captured the attention and admiration of basketball fans around the world.
Couple that with his long list of endorsements which include Under Armour, Degree, Express, State Farm, Muscle Milk, and JBL, the MVP is just scratching the surface of his booming marketability.
Whether it's throwing a nifty pass, draining a clutch three or hitting a circus shot, Steph's dazzling style of play will definitely earn him highlight reels on Sports Center Top 10. Regardless of his athleticism, the human torch with the hot-hand, cold-blooded mentality certainly knows how to ignite the crowd with big-time performances.
At 27 years of age, Curry's time is now. He's made his first All-Star appearance as a starter. He's gotten his first signature shoe, the Curry One. He's received a shoutout in Drake's song "0 to 100". He's found his long-lost twin brother Sebastian Curry.
As the humbled basketball player and baby-faced assassin, his story isn't close to completion.
It's still in the making.