Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Tony Parker, Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo. Those are your 2012-13 NBA All-Star guards. All personal feelings aside, these guys have all proven their worth as the top guards in both the NBA and fantasy basketball leagues this season. However, there is one guard being absolutely disrespected by not being invited.
Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is having the best year of his four-year NBA career thus far. While his field goal percentage is low for his standards (43.1% currently), he’s averaging a career-high in 3PTM (3.1 per game), FTM (3.1 per game on 90.7% shooting), assists (6.6 per game), and points (20.9 per game).
This season, Curry’s stats find him in the top-10 among all players, not just guards. With Monta Ellis no longer eating up possessions, Golden State has fully committed to a Stephen Curry-led offense which has led to advances for both the team and Curry, as proven by the stats and Warriors’ current record.
So if Curry’s done so well, how is he the odd man out? Well, there are a few reasons that come to mind. Number one, the reason I blackballed Curry from my fantasy squads this season, is the perception that he’s one of the biggest injury risks in the NBA. When the name Stephen Curry comes up in a conversation (amongst fantasy owners that do not own Curry), somewhere in the next sentence the phrase “injury risk” pops up.
Curry has played in 47 of Golden State’s 51 games this season, having missed a total of four games (two two-game sets in January) in 2012-13. We’re in Week 16 here folks, it’s time to give the guy the respect he deserves. Everyone has some level of injury risk, but Curry has played more than 90% of his team’s games. Health is not an issue.
The other surprising potential road block to Curry this year has been the stellar play from his teammate PF/C David Lee. Lee has been absolutely dominating the paint for the Warriors this season, to the tune of 19.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, amongst very good percentages and a sneakily powerful 3.8 assists per game from the PF/C spot.
Obviously there’s no rule that limits how many players per team can make an All-Star team. However, the fact that Lee made the team, and both play for the small market Warriors, certainly did not help Curry’s case.
What it ultimately has come down to in Curry’s case, is a popularity contest, in which he never had a chance. Taking a look at just the Western Conference’s guards, barring major injuries early in the season, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook were locks for the All-Star game before the Miami Heat won game five of last year’s finals.
James Harden is in the top-five in the NBA’s scoring race, on his new Houston Rockets team which he has helped propel to the current eight-seed in the West. Finally, there’s the three-time NBA Champion and former NBA Finals MVP Tony Parker, who is right behind Curry statistically, but has the recognition that Curry’s missing in order to get the nod into his fifth NBA All-Star Game.
If I have to make a change to the West’s Fantasy team to get Curry in, I’m taking out Tony Parker. Here is a true breakdown between the two players:
-10.4% better FG%
-1.1 more assists per game
-.04 less turnovers per game
-2.7 more 3PTM per game
-1.0 more rebounds per game
-0.7 more steals per game
The field goal percentage is a huge boost from your point guard position from Parker. However, the 3.1 three-pointers-made by Curry, coupled with his steals, rebounds, assists, total points and elite free throw percentage make him the better fantasy commodity in my book.
While Parker has proven to be a top point guard, Stephen Curry has surely outplayed him in the fantasy world this season. On my 2012-13 Fantasy Basketball Western Conference All-Star team, Stephen Curry overthrows Tony Parker to make my squad with ease.
Follow Jeff on Twitter: @Jewish_Jeff