To make the claim today that Stephen Curry is the best basketball player alive is like walking up to an apartment door that has waves of smoke billowing out from the cracks around its frame, and placing your hand on the searing hot door knob.
The moment you open that door, the backdraft explosion would be enough to incinerate the average basketball fan.
But our very own SleepyFreud pointed out that that daring statement was just made by the analysts at FiveThirtyEight, when they unleashed a powerful but unfortunately named algorithm (“RAPTOR”) to calculate the league’s most valuable players since the 2013-2014 season. And yes, Curry was the leader of the pack.
So who are the best players of the past six seasons? According to RAPTOR wins above replacement (WAR), Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors has been the most valuable, checking in with 120.0 WAR between the regular season and the playoffs, followed by Houston’s James Harden (107.9) and LeBron James of the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers (93.2).
— Neil Paine for 538
The 5 most valuable NBA players of the last 6 seasons, per FiveThirtyEight's shiny new metric:— Jacob Pramuk (@jacobpramuk) October 18, 2019
5. DRAYMOND https://t.co/0hiNySJ8mQ
Curry was joined by on the list by teammate Draymond Green, who came in ranked fifth, one spot ahead of former Warrior Kevin Durant.
Curry also had seven of the top-20 seasons (including playoffs) since the 2013-2014 season, including the two top spots for his 2016 and 2015 respective years (you know, the MVP campaigns).
Of course, this statistical model isn’t the end-all-be-all for determining a player’s value, but rather another helpful tool for us to quantify Curry’s greatness.
It’s also a reminder that with Halloween coming around the corner, it is time for the NBA to be afraid, very afraid, of what Curry is about to unleash when the season starts. TRICK OR TREAT!