In the midst of the Golden State Warriors recent success, one player in particular has stood out and shined all season long. That player is Stephen Curry.
Curry is averaging 22.4 points, 6.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game this season while shooting a remarkable 45 percent from the field, 48 percent from beyond the arc and 91 percent from the free-throw line. He has also connected on a league leading 218 three-pointers this season, which is a Warriors franchise record.
Since Curry missed out on his first career All-Star selection, he has elevated his game and taken over the role of the team leader. Since the All-Star break he has played the most minutes in the league while averaging 25 points and seven assists per game. But what sets Curry apart from others is his deadly shooting accuracy, especially from beyond the arc.
In his past 14 games, Curry has hit at least five three-pointers seven times while shooting nearly 48 percent. The New York Knicks found out the hard way, giving up 17 three’s to Curry in just two games. Curry has turned into a three-point shooting machine and is beginning to improve drastically in other aspects of his game as well, leaving little to question about his overall game except one thing: his ankles.
Curry went down with yet another rolled surgically repaired right ankle in Saturday’s win over the Washington Wizards, cutting his 35 point outburst shorter than he’d expected and instantly lifting all of the positive energy out of Oracle Arena.
The Warriors and their fans have seen it all too many times before and can’t help but to have that sinking feeling in the back of their minds every time Curry drives to the basket or goes down to the floor. For the past few months he always got up. This time he didn’t, reminding us all that no matter how great Curry and the Warriors are playing, he could go down at any moment and essentially bring the Warriors entire season down with him.
With Curry the Warriors are a playoff team that has the possibility of upsetting a higher seed, as they have already proved that they can beat the best teams in the league. Without Curry the Warriors just are a lottery team…again.
Curry has stated that he isn’t worried about his latest set back, saying, ”I’m fine, don’t worry about my ankle. It’s just another episode. I’ll get through it like I usually do. I’ve just got to get my treatment.” That may be true, but can you really depend on him as a franchise leader for years to come?
The Warriors have already made that commitment by trading fan favorite Monta Ellis for the even more often injured Andrew Bogut to build around the Curry and David Lee combo. A very high risk/high reward move.
Curry is a phenomenal player that is still improving and it’s hard to argue against the Warriors decision of building around him, as they are headed towards the playoffs for the second time in two decades. But how long can it last?
Golden State hosts their late blooming rival Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night and will need Steph Curry more than ever in what could be the biggest game of the season.
You can follow Rich Peters on twitter @Tricky_Roma.