Confessions of a Steph Curry hater
Hi, my name is Robert Christie. And I hate Steph Curry.
No not the man of God, family man and all-around nice guy Steph appears to be. The cocky, shimmying, pull up from 50, cold-blooded assassin Steph. That. guy. I hate that guy.
For a while that hate made me minimize Steph’s accomplishments, characterizing him as “just a shooter” and not acknowledging the many things he does well on the court.
But then Steph went on a tear since coming back from his injury Dec. 30 (he’s averaging 35 points per game on 57% shooting and 53% shooting from three in the last five games), then Pavy gave possibly the worst basketball take of the year and we’re only in January - it was time for things to change.
It’s unfortunately time for me to confess - Wardell “Stephen” Curry is already one of the greatest players of all time.
So why did it take me so long?
Good question. I mean Steph has been averaging at least 20 points per game since 2012, was the first-ever unanimous MVP, missing just three games that season when the Warriors won a record 73 games.
The thing is, hating Steph became very easy during the past few years.
Warriors fans have never been honest about Steph. During his MVP season there were so many stories about the humble kid from Davidson who was beating the odds and playing the right way. Those same fans seemed to ignore the fact Steph was the first player in NBA history to shimmy after every five possessions and the first player in league history to run back on defense BEFORE HIS THREE POINTER WENT THROUGH THE FREAKIN’ NET!!!!
Do you guys remember when people said that Steph had become the best player in the league? That was funny. There were people who legimitately thought during the 2015-2016 season that Steph was better than LeBron.
Yes, Steph had the greatest offensive season in NBA history, but people seemed to forget LeBron doesn’t try during the regular season, and he’s in the conversation for greatest offensive and defensive player of all time.
Then there’s the fact Steph plays for the Warriors, something Steph lovers also seem to forget.
The Warriors are the sexier version of the San Antonio Spurs and New England Patriots. Each of these teams has a system designed to maximize the potential in every player.
Steph Curry was an all-star before Steve Kerr took over in Golden State. Mark Jackson apparently had no idea how to utilize Steph, playing him too many minutes and often times causing the future MVP to tire out at the end of games.
When Kerr arrived and instilled an offense that included various types of basket cuts, more ball movement and an encouragement for more three point shots, life became easier for Steph. The Warriors won a championship in 2015 and Steph averaged 30 ppg on 50 percent shooting the next season.
Steph is commonly compared to guys like Harden and LeBron, two dudes who are constantly in MVP discussions. But there is a major difference between him and those other two guys. The Warriors offense revolves around Steph Curry. LeBron and Harden are the Cavaliers’ and Rockets’ offenses.
According to Basketball Reference, Harden’s usage rate is at 36.1% and Steph’s is at 31.3%. LeBron’s is at 30.7 but that number will rise much higher in the playoffs when he is asked to make a majority of the offensive - and, quite frankly, the defensive - decisions. (Yes, I am aware usage rate has nothing to do with defense but again you Steph lovers seem to forget how good LeBron is.)
I say all this to ask, how good would Steph be if he wasn’t on a team with three future hall-of-famers and had to carry the Cavs’ and Rockets’ (pre-Chris Paul) offenses?
I’ll admit Steph is the reason the Warriors’ offense has reached historic levels but the Warriors are equally the reason he’s been able to reach historic levels of his own.
Regardless of everything I said, I guess I should get to the part where I’ve realized how great Steph is.
It’s pretty obvious Steph is the greatest shooter of all time. He’s already eighth on the all-time three pointers made list and he’s only 29. Even with all the threes he takes he ranks fourth all time in three-point percentage at 43.6 percent.
Oh, then there was this play on Feb. 27, 2016 which pretty much cemented Steph’s place in shooting history.
The three point shooting is what keeps everyone entertained. But Steph is an elite scorer at each level of the floor.
According to CleaningTheGlass.com, Steph is shooting 67% at the rim - which is better than some big men - and 52% from midrange.
For context, Russell Westbrook is shooting 59% at the rim and 35% from midrange. Kyrie Irving? 64% at the rim and 45% from midrange.
Then there’s Steph’s passing, He’s averaging 6.4 APG this year, 6.8 APG for his career. But as I said before, he plays for a team similar to the Spurs - the amount of ball movement will not allow one person to compile a large amount of assists.
Then there’s the type of assists where Steph never touches the ball. If you spend time around Warrior’s twitter, you’ve heard people talk about Steph’s “gravity," referring to the attention Steph gets which allows open scoring opportunities for other teammates.
If you watch here, you’ll see Gary Harris is so scared of Steph’s shooting ability he lets Andre Iguodala run right by him for a layup.
Finally, there’s Steph’s defense. Yes, it’s the weakest parts of his game but he’s not a bad defender.
Steph does an excellent job moving his feet and staying in front of defenders. His quick hands also help him pester ball handlers and play passing lanes which has helped him average close to two steals per game for his career.
Look, if you’re like me and Steph Curry’s behavior on the court gets under your skin that’s fine. That’s basketball. But don’t let that hate take away from acknowledging just how great Steph is.