Warriors' Stephen Curry Has Proven Critics Wrong Every Step of the Way
Somebody named Brett Comer was the toast of sports for a short time in March. Comer, the alley-oop throwing point guard for Florida Gulf Coast, took center stage when the Eagles beat Georgetown and San Diego State advancing to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 as a number 15 seed. Every year we have a Comer. Sometimes their 15 minutes of fame last for one game. C.J. McCollum of Lehigh comes to mind. Other times they dance all the way to the Final Four, remember Tony Skinn of George Mason, and Joey Rodriguez of VCU? Mostly these players become anecdotes. But in the case of Davidson's Steph Curry, it was just a beginning.
The son of NBA three-point shooting ace Dell Cury, Stephen was lightly recruited out of Charlotte Christian School despite being a standout all-state player. His small frame kept big schools away including Dell's alma mater Virginia Tech, who offered a walk-on spot. Steph chose nearby Davidson College and made a difference immediately. He scored 32 points against Michigan in his second college game. The only freshman in the country to tally more points than Curry in 2007 was Kevin Durant. Davidson went 29-5, Curry set the NCAA Freshman mark drilling 113 three-pointers, and Davidson went to the NCAA Tournament.
After falling to Maryland in the opening round of the tournament, Curry returned for his sophomore season. The Wildcats went 20-0 in Southern Conference play and advanced to the NCAA Tournament first round in Greensboro. There Curry and his teammates met Gonzaga. After averaging more than 25 points a game during the regular season, Curry poured in 40 against the Zags, including 30 in the second half. He hit eight of 10 three point tries in the win. Davidson marched on to play Georgetown. Curry's 25 second haf points lifted the Davidson past the Hoyas. In the Sweet 16 he put up 33 points in a blowout win against Wisconsin. He had 25 points in a 59-57 loss against Kansas for the right to play in the Final Four. Curry set the NCAA record with 158 three's made on the year.
Despite averaging just under 29 points a game, Curry's Cats failed to make the NCAA Tournament in 2009. He declared for the draft and was picked by Golden State with the seventh overall selection. Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, and Jonny Flynn were taken before Curry. Getting picked by the Warriors is kind of like not get recruited to a major college.
When Curry joined Golden State the franchise had made one playoff appearance since 1994, and won one playoff series since 1991. The last time the Warriors made it past the second round of the playoffs was their championship season of 1975. Dell Curry was 10 years old then.
In four seasons in the NBA Curry's stats are remarkably consistent. He averaged 17.5 points a game as a rookie and connected on just under 44 percent of his three point shots. In his second second season he managed 18.6 points a contest and a shade over 44 percent from long range. He was injured most of his third year. During the recently concluded regular season he posted a near 23 ppg average while hitting over 45 percent of his threes. For his career he has averaged more than six assists a game.
The Warriors beat Denver in the first round of the playoffs despite All Star David Lee suffering a major hip injury during game one which prevented him from playing all but one minute the rest of the series. Curry averaged just over 24 points a game in the six game series, hit 44 percent of his three pointers, and handed out more than nine assists a contest. He also put together a 30 point, 13 assist performance in game two, and a 22 point third quarter in game four. He won the series.
Curry is the second most accurate three point shooter in NBA history. He owns the record for most three's made in a single year. Brett Comer was Curry for a few minutes. Curry may be a better shooting, higher scoring Steve Nash for the next decade.