In 2013, David Lee was the first Golden State Warrior to participate in the All Star game since Latree Spreewell in 1997. Despite the inclusion being well deserved (Lee led the league with 54 double-doubles), the Warrior many felt was most deserving was none other than Stephen Curry. With a full offseason of basketball work, Curry can find himself participating in the midseason festivities as early as this next season.
Next season presents Curry with an opportune time to make an All Star appearance. The five guards from the West in the 2013 All Star game were Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. Each of those players are looking at an uphill battle to create repeat performances next season.
Bryant and Westbrook are coming off of season ending injuries. In Bryant’s case, age and a devastating Achilles injury is going to leave him step slower. As we have seen from NBA fans in the past, Bryant’s sheer popularity could easily get him voted into the starting lineup, but for the first time in many seasons, he may not deserve it. Westbrook, on top of missing the entire 2013 postseason, will miss up to two months to start next season. Despite freakish athleticism, Westbrook has not played basketball at full speed for months. Returning from injury with a shortened season, Westbrook simply may not have the body of work necessary to merit a consecutive spot on the All Star team.
Chris Paul is considered one of the best point guards on the planet, but his popularity is dropping rapidly. While peers like Carmelo Anthony have endured a career’s worth of criticism for failing to make it past the second round of the playoffs, Paul has always been given the grace. Paul’s numbers have been remarkably consistent throughout his career, but the Clippers can make a statement in the first half of the season, Paul’s All Star eligibility may be in question.
Parker and Harden are both coming off of interesting offseasons. Parker played until the last possible game of the 2013 season and then participated in the FIBA EuroBasket Tournament with the French national team. Fatigue from a criminally short offseason will likely set in. Harden’s offseason saw the Dwight Howard circus roll into town. There’s no telling what that will do for his numbers.
Curry, an All Star caliber guard on the fringe of being officially recognized, has a full offseason to prepare for next season. Last season, Curry averaged 22.9 points, 6.9 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. And that’s coming off an offseason spent recovering from ankle surgery.
In addition to All Star caliber numbers, Curry’s popularity skyrocketed in the second half of last season. Next to LeBron James (and arguably even more so), Curry was the most exciting player to watch in the NBA throughout the playoffs. With 26 nationally broadcasted games scheduled for next season, the nation’s increased exposure to Stephen will undoubtedly give him a boost in the All Star race.
All in all, Stephen Curry, who may go down as the greatest shooter of all time, will make multiple All Star game appearances in his career. The only question is how soon.