These days, comparing any point guard other than Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul to Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors is considered blasphemy. However, Curry, like Westbrook, is not a ‘true’ point guard and instead a hybrid of shooting and point guard.
So Curry should never be compared to true point guards like Paul, who is the greatest point guard in the NBA today. Curry should instead be compared to shooting guards and other hybrids like himself, like former teammate Monta Ellis.
But Ellis starts at shooting guard for the Dallas Mavericks, so he can’t hide behind the point guard position like Curry. Ellis has to be compared to the likes of superstar James Harden and other top scorers in the league. Curry has some fancy moves and can get to the basket at times, but he does not possess the speed, quickness and maneuverability Ellis does in zooming to the basket.
The only one better than Ellis at maneuvering through traffic to get to the hoop is Derrick Rose, and he’s wearing a suit right now. Curry obviously is a fabulous three-point shooter, but so was Michael Redd and Glen Rice. And Curry, like those two guys, isn’t exactly leading his team to the promised land.
In the Warriors’ last two games, Curry has taken 43 shots combined, primarily three-pointers. Yes, Curry made more than half of those three-pointers, which is truly amazing, but it’s what makes him a hybrid. To say that Curry’s head coach Mark Jackson was a better overall point guard than Curry is today would get you laughed out of the barber shop, but it’s true. Jackson made his teammates better with his flavorful passing skills. On the flip side, it’s no coincidence Dirk Nowitzki has returned to elite status this season because of the fourth dimension Ellis brings.
So take away that title of “point guard” and strand Curry on an island of just shooting guards. You get a diet that’s high in sugar but lacks protein. Ellis, however, is rich in fiber. Sure, Ellis’ three-point shot is a statistical nightmare, but when the Mavericks need him to hit it, he’s there. No longer having the younger ball-hogging Curry in his way, Ellis has been free this season to prove he never fell off. People just forgot about how dynamic a scorer he is because younger point guards who shoot too much held him back.
And in many ways, Brandon Jennings and Curry played with Ellis’ money, as Ellis was forced to take far less from the Mavericks than he is worth. With an increased workload, Ellis has also proven to be an excellent pickpocket and defender, which he has received praise for this season. You will never hear about Curry’s defensive prowess, but he is unfortunately spoken of in Godly terms because of those sugarcoated stats.
Oh, but Curry’s one of the best players in the league? He’s probably the best shooter in the league, but there’s more to basketball than shooting.
Monta Ellis being a better overall player than Curry is not a fact, but the question is legitimate because Curry — when you look beneath the surface — is not the juggernaut of a basketball player he’s made out to be; he’s a fantasy basketball player. Ask yourself this: If Curry averaged about 23 points a game starting at the two, would he still be considered an elite player?
Anyway, those questions will perhaps get answered tonight when the Mavericks and Warriors, in a game that could determine the sixth seed in the Western Conference, do battle at the American Airlines Center.