Stephen Curry is the best basketball player in the world right now, and to be honest, it’s not close. This statement has been the topic of debate for many fans and experts this season. No player has been more dominant in 2016.
Curry is a human highlight reel. His ankle breaking crossovers, dazzling layups and ridiculous three-point shots from nearly half court amaze fans every night, but these amazing feats don’t adequately show how good of a season he is having.
This season Curry is averaging a career-high 30.4 points per game, dishing out 6.6 assists and grabbing 5.3 rebounds. He’s also shooting a blister- ing 47 percent behind the arc and 91 percent from the line.
Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is an advanced statistic, which collects a player’s contributions, both positive and negative, to a team to measure per-minute productivity. Curry’s PER is currently 32.41. The mark would break the record of 31.82 set by Wilt Chamberlain 52 years ago. Curry is also leading his Golden State Warriors (56- 6) to one of the best seasons in NBA history.
Speaking of record breaking, Curry has already broke the NBA record for three pointers made this season (286) with 20 games remaining. Curry set the record each of the past two seasons. He is currently on pace to knock down over 400 three pointers in 2016.
Skills aren’t the only attribute in determining the best player in the world. Intangibles matter.
LeBron James and Curry are the names mentioned in this argument. Both players have elite skills and high basketball IQs, but the ability to make the players around better separates them. Curry makes his teammates better by being on the floor. His presence takes the pressure off them and allows them to elevate their game. James tends to shoulder his team rather than making them dangerous.
What pushes Curry to the top of the list is not just that he’s dominating the NBA, but it is the relative ease he’s doing it with. Curry is averaging two points above his season average (32.6 points) against the top-three teams in the NBA (Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers). He is raising his game to greater heights against the best competition in the league.
Steph Curry is having the best year of his career and is the favorite to win his second consecutive MVP award, but it doesn’t mean there can’t be a new “Best Player in The World” next year. Just like Curry elevated his game to another level this year another superstar like Russell Westbrook, Paul George or Kevin Durant could do the same next year. Until that happens, it is Curry’s league and everybody else is just playing in it.
Story by Russell Dorsey, Courtesy Photo