With the NBA season starting this week, we’re running through mini previews of the Golden State Warriors’ 16 players, focusing on what their best and worst case scenario is for the upcoming year. Next up is the most valuable player in franchise history: Stephen Curry. You can check out the other best case/worst case articles below:
4 games, 26.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game
60.0% 2FG, 43.2% 3FG, 95.8% FT, 69.0% true-shooting
2018-19 stats (Warriors)
69 games, 27.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per game
52.5% 2FG, 43.7% 3FG, 91.6% FT, 64.1% true-shooting
Role on the 2019-20 Warriors
There’s no need to waste much of your time here. We all know what Steph Curry’s role is. He’s the face of the franchise, and the superstar of the Warriors. He’s the engine, the leader, the catalyst, the this, the that, and everything in between.
Curry is one of - arguably the - best player in the world, and his role is to continue to be that.
Best case scenario
We’ve seen the best case scenario with Curry. Remember 2014-15, when he blossomed from elite point guard to NBA MVP, elevating the play of all of his teammates in the process, and leading the Warriors to a championship that no one saw coming?
Or what about 2015-16, when he had perhaps the greatest offensive season in NBA history (and quite arguably the greatest season in history, full stop), en route to the first ever unanimous MVP award, and an NBA-record 73-win season?
That’s the best case scenario, and don’t let anything trick you into believing it’s not in play again. Sure, he’s 31, but he appears to be in as good a shape as at any point in his life. Sure, his stats dipped a tiny bit the last three years, but that was pretty clearly to accommodate fellow superstar Kevin Durant.
With Durant gone and Klay Thompson injured, Curry is the not only the unquestioned first option on offense, but the second and fourth options, as well (we’ll give D’Angelo Russell the spot as third option).
History tells us Curry does well in that scenario. His numbers last year when Durant sat were bonkers, and somehow his efficiency rarely takes a dip even when his role increases.
So here’s the extremely realistic best case scenario for Curry: MVP, scoring leader, 50-40-90 season, best player in the world.
Worst case scenario
Of the 16 players on the Warriors roster, only two have zero chance of disappointing: Curry, and Thompson. who will likely miss the season.
With the Warriors taking a mini-rebuild year, no one would blame Curry if his foot slipped off the gas a tiny bit, as he helps teach and lead the youngsters, and rests up for a run in 2020-21. If he doesn’t perform up to his standards, we’re still looking at “just” 25 points per game, a spot on the All-Star and All-NBA teams, and absurd efficiency. Maybe he’s not at all in the MVP conversation. So what?
It’s hard to see Curry slipping anywhere below that still-elite production, as long as he’s on the court.
Those last words are important though, and that is not only the worst case scenario for Curry, but for the Warriors: A lower body injury. It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since ankle injuries took most of Curry’s 2011-12 season, allowing the Warriors to sign him for a very team friendly deal.
He’s been mostly healthy since then, though he missed 44 games over the last two years, and has been hampered in the playoffs.
There’s no worst case scenario if Curry can stay on the floor. But that “if” represents the potential disaster.