Stephen Curry, two-time MVP of the NBA, is arguably the most dominant player in the league and last night against the Denver Nuggets he put on the sort of display to remind us all that he belongs in the upper echelon.
Although his basic box score looks somewhat less impressive, his 22 point, 11 assist performance in just under 30 minutes was one of the most impactful of his career.
I don’t want to get out too far ahead of myself here, but with about 1/8th of the season completed, is it too early to start wondering if Curry could earn a third MVP award? He already leads the Basketball Reference MVP award tracker by a fair margin.
When the 2015-16 season began with Curry astonishing us nightly, it turned out that that wasn’t too early to begin the discussion of the MVP race. This season may be another of those where Curry so completely obliterates the upper realms of possibility that he’s impossible to ignore in the MVP conversation. And perhaps his colorful nickname from Chinese social media is the most appropriate because he smashes the bounds of limitations—over and over again. You think you know how good he can be until he proves that you underestimated him, again.
But back to last night and Curry’s dominance in the game:
Plus/Minus is a fairly simple stat - it just measures the net score differential while a player is on the court. However, because basketball it is nearly impossible to isolate one players effect in a vacuum. Opponents, teammates, and matchups all have an effect on the score so you’ll often see people warning each other that a single game’s plus/minus impact doesn’t really mean all that much.
But it’s not completely meaningless. Especially once a distinct patter emerges; take a look at this article about last season:
Offensive RAPM ranks Steph most impactful player in 16/17 by a decent margin...again pic.twitter.com/6Wj86GQGwm— sam esfandiari (@samesfandiari) June 26, 2017
Curry’s gravity is becoming nearly as famous as his jump shot - bending defenses to the point of failure through the mere threat that he represents at all times. Last night was one of those nights. Outside, his shot was falling - 5/10 on his three-point attempts - including two “and ones” for a rare double four-point play:
Two 4-point plays for Curry...in the same quarter pic.twitter.com/xhbLf1a5Gl— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) November 5, 2017
Curry wasn’t just scoring and defending either, there was one point where he identified a design flaw in the Nuggets defense and just keeps going after it by dropping passes off to Javale McGee for two consecutive dunks and then a layup - which just confirms the point about Steph making everything easier and better for everyone on his team.
Warrior Wonder: Steph Curry
Now, feel free to make a different selection in the poll - and then make your case for high-scorer Kevin Durant, or ol’ reliable Klay Thompson in the comments below.
Who’s your Warriors Wonder against the Nuggets
This poll is closed
Stephen "Sky ‘breaker" Curry
Zaza "almost 3 in the key on a fastbreak" Pachulia
Klay Thompson, esquire
Omri "I’m here if you need me" Casspi
Draymond "don’t forget about my +33" Green
Other (answer in comments)