ESPN continued with their NBA Rank today, and Golden State Warriors superstar guard Stephen Curry was left outside the top five.
At first, I thought it was a mistake. There’s no way Stephen Curry wasn’t ranked a top-five player. He’s helped take the Golden State Warriors to six straight Finals and has won two MVPs on his way there.
Then, I opened the app and realized ESPN really didn’t include the greatest shooter of all time on in their top five. Rather, they included Anthony Davis, a player that forced his way out of New Orleans while proving little capabilities to lead a successful team.
Davis was No. 5. Then, James Harden, who Stephen Curry lit up in the playoffs, was No. 4. It gets better. LeBron James was No. 3. That leaves Giannis and Kawhi Leonard to be placed in the final two spots. My bet is on Giannis securing the top overall spot, which isn’t the most insane thing.
However, not having Curry in your top-five is. Here’s what ESPN’s Nick Friedell said on Curry:
"One big question: Just how good can Steph be without Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson (at least for most of the year)? All eyes will be on the former MVP to see how far he can carry the Warriors without as much star power by his side. It will be interesting to see how Steve Kerr manages his star guard’s minutes in the beginning of another long season. Curry and the Warriors know it will be a challenge, but they seem energized by the opportunity."
You talk about giving the keys to Curry yet there’s no mention of when he was without Durant for an extended period of time against another top-ten player.
Do we remember what he did to the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals? Do we remember what he did to close out the Houston Rockets? He put the team on his back, yet I suppose given his injury history it’s reasonable to be skeptical he does that for a full season.
Steph was one of just six players to average over 25 points, five rebounds and five assists last season. Only four of those players cracked the top six as Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal failed to even crack the top ten.
Curry, with Durant out significant time during the 2018-2019 season, put up 27.3 points and did so with a career-low 2.8 turnovers (not counting the season he played in just 26 games). He even continued his streak of now ten-straight seasons of shooting 40% from downtown.
That said, when you talk about a top-five player, there’s no way you leave Stephen Curry’s name off the list.