Comparing the NBA’s best players is always an exercise fraught with controversy, and that’s been no exception with Bleacher Report’s official top 100 player rankings ahead of the 2023-24 season.
Within the decorated top ten positions, fans of the Golden State Warriors may take exception with the placing of Stephen Curry. The two-time MVP may not have reached the Finals MVP heights of the season prior, but his form remained at a level that should have him within the top handful of players around the league.
Golden State Warriors’ superstar Stephen Curry has dropped two spots from his spot in Bleacher Report’s corresponding top 100 NBA player rankings last year.
Curry spent two separate periods on the sidelines through injury last season, forcing him to miss 26 games. That, combined with being 35-years-old and entering his 15th season, were the key reasons behind his spot at number six on the rankings — down two positions from 12 months prior.
"“Of the top six players, Curry played the fewest number of regular-season games last year, and he’s six years older than Joel Embiid, the second-oldest of the group. Of the six, he’s easily the most likely to decline this season, and that surely was a reason he finished outside the top five”, Bleacher Report wrote."
Ranked directly above Curry was Boston Celtics’ star Jayson Tatum, whom Curry significantly outclassed in their Finals battle just over 12 months ago. Ahead of him in fourth was Joel Embiid who, for all his regular season dominance that culminated in a maiden MVP, was below his best again during the playoffs in what’s becoming a concerning trend.
You could even argue for Curry ahead of the third-ranked Luka Doncic who failed to lead his Dallas Mavericks to even the Play-In Tournament. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Finals MVP Nikola Jokic sit securely as the top two players in the league, even if the former’s Milwaukee Bucks were upset in the first round of the postseason.
Curry’s 29.4 points per game last season were the third-highest of his career, doing so on an incredibly efficient 42.7% from three-point range. Although his career-high 30.5 points per game during the playoffs may have been reflective of a lack of offensive help, it was still further proof that the four-time NBA champion is still well within the prime of his career.
If this is a projection of what the players will do next season, then perhaps it’s fair to evaluate Curry sixth on the premise that he experiences a slight decline. But if this were an evaluation of who you’d take tomorrow for a playoff series, it’s hard to envisage the nine-time All-Star not being within the top four.