As the clock ticked down, and fans started heading for the exits, everyone involved with Game 5 was shocked over what just took place. The Cleveland Cavaliers came into Oracle Arena with no momentum and utterly stunned the Warriors, who had a chance to capture their second-straight NBA championship.
Stephen Curry did not have a good showing on Monday night. Granted, the team didn’t play well as a collective, but when you’re considered the leader of your ball club, accountability falls right in your lap. Before we get into anything else, let’s look at Curry’s line, shall we?
25 points, four assists, four turnovers, 8/21 overall (38 percent), and 5/14 from three (35.7 percent). The only real blemish on this is how bad he was shooting. He missed a bunch of open shots (as did other Warriors), and I understand that players have off days sometimes, but when you’re considered the league’s best player, you can’t afford to miss easy shots in a closeout game.
I want to preface the following by saying that I think Stephen Curry is one of the two best players in the NBA today, the league’s all-time best shooter, and that it’s an absolute joy to watch him play. However, since he has superstar level credentials, broken records, multiple All-NBA appearances, MVPs, a world championship, it’s time for people to start critiquing him like a superstar.
Think of it this way: if James (or any other superstar) put up the line Curry did, and the Cavs were in that situation, how would everyone react? They would pin it on him, and that’s what we need to do with Stephen Curry. Instead of delegating responsibility to him, the Draymond Green card is being used, and it seems unjust to other superstars that Curry gets a break that they don’t. If someone wants to put a majority of Game 5’s outcome on Green, so be it, but the team’s best player typically gets saddled with “blame,” so to speak.
When Russell Westbrook comes up in conversation, it’s always something like, “he’s a great athlete, but he shoots too much,” or that he’s turnover prone.
LeBron gets it the worst, and he’s probably the most micro-analyzed athlete of all-time. Right after someone gets done saying how great he is, it’s typically something along the lines of “he doesn’t have a killer instinct,” or he’s too passive.
Kevin Durant, despite being a scoring machine and one of the most efficient players ever, gets comments similar to James, that he defers too much.
I will not refute the validity of any of these statements. Mainly because they’re all true, and it’s always good when individuals bring up both the good and bad when discussing anything. Still, they’re three of the top-5 players in the league, and they get spoken about as such — with pros and cons.
From what I’ve read (and correct me if I’m wrong), but it’s very rare to see people be objective about Curry and acknowledge the flaws he has without them being brought up specifically. A perfect case is when Westbrook brought up Steph’s mediocre individual defense. It was a huge topic of discussion for a few days but then died out.
Nothing written above takes away from Curry’s remarkable skill, relentless work ethic, and inspiring story, but if he’s considered the league’s best player, he needs to be treated like it.