If you miss the ol’ Stephen Curry — the “make a 3-pointer from anywhere” Steph Curry — you’re in luck. The Golden State Warriors point guard and two-time MVP has looked a lot like his 2015-16 self since the calendar turned to 2017, thanks in large part to Kevin Durant’s willingness to adapt to Curry’s tendencies, rather than vice-versa.
And on this week’s episode of the In The Zone NBA podcast, FOX Sports NBA Insider Chris Broussard discusses just how important it is for both the Warriors and the NBA that Curry plays like the unanimous MVP.
CHRIS: There’s this misconception out here that Steph is having a bad season. There’s even talk about him being in a slump. Look, that’s a tremendous overstatement. Dude was averaging 24 points and six assists for a team on pace to win 70 games through December. So for all those speaking of his demise, a chill pill is in order.
But that’s not to say Steph hasn’t taken a step back. He’s not been the otherwordly, darn near Jordan-esque player we saw a year ago. But every once in a while the old Steph emerges, and that’s what happened Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, nailing shots from all over the court, including the half-court line. Steph drilled nine 3-pointers, scored 43 points, and led the Warriors to embarrass their rivals — I don’t even know if I can call them rivals right now — the Clippers, by 46 points.
It was “rewind Steph,” and that’s the Steph I want. That Steph is better for everybody: the Warriors, the NBA, the fans, heck, everybody except Golden State’s opponents. We need Steph to go back to being the focal point of the offense, and here’s why.
For Broussard, there are two major keys to Curry reaching the lofty heights he established in 2015-16:
– First, the Warriors are simply better when Steph takes the most shots out of anyone on the team. That’s why coach Steve Kerr told Curry to go back to being his old self and to stop worrying about making sure Kevin Durant was fitting in — and it’s why Durant essentially said the same thing earlier this month. That’s not to say Golden State needs to be “Curry’s team,” per se, but the Warriors know they need the Steph from last year if they want to be their very best.
– Furthermore, the NBA itself needs a magnificent Steph, not just a good Steph. As Broussard wisely points out, the next few years of professional basketball are setting up to be really, really predictable. It’s LeBron James vs. the Warriors all the way into the next decade. So if the NBA is going to continue to draw in casual fans who might otherwise be turned off by that inevitability, the Association needs a flame-throwing, universe-destroying, no-conscience-having Curry to inspire the next generation with his (relatively) slight stature and joy for the game.