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Steph Curry Is A Top 5 Point Guard – Guest Piece By Matt Leslie

Our guest piece on Steph Curry a few weeks ago. How ya like us now?

NBA Nation Australia is a family, and that’s why we work continuously to make the family bigger by bringing you fresh perspectives from as many great guests as possible. This time around we have our good friend, Lakers fan, fantasy god and all round basketball enthusiast Matt Leslie here to give us his take on Golden State Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry. Thanks for your time Matty!

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Detroit Pistons

Who would have thought that entering the 2013 NBA Season that we would be including the Golden State Warriors as one of the Elite teams in the Western conference? I did. You might be sitting at home and wondering how I ever could have come up with such an assumption and the answer is simple. Stephen Curry.

 I’ve always viewed Steph Curry as a top 5 point guard. His stats through the 2010-11 season and the 2011-12 season were phenomenal for a guy who was still learning the ropes in the NBA. Here is the break down:

In 2010, Curry played a total of 80 games, starting all but 3 and putting up 1143 shots and nailing 548 giving him a total FG% of 46.2% – not bad for a rookie. Consider that included in this was 380 three-point attempts in which he sunk 166 giving him a 3pt percentage of 43.7%. The NBA record for most three’s in a season, by a rookie. Did someone say sharp shooter?

Now these stats alone are pretty damn good for a seasoned NBA veteran, let alone for a rookie, combine those with a free-throw percentage of 88.5% and it’s safe to say that Curry was deserving of being the 7th draft pick.

In April of 2010 Curry came close to a quadruple-double finishing with 27 points, 14 assists, 8 rebounds and 7 steals He also had a rookie high of 5 30-poin, 10-assist games which was also the third most in the league behind Lebron James and Dwayne Wade. Despite these stellar achievements, Curry came a close second to Tyreke Evans in the Rookie of the Year voting,

Curry backed up his impressive rookie season in 2011 with percentages of 48% from the field, 44.2% from three and 93.4% from the charity stripe and during the All-Star weekend beat Russell Westbrook to take out the Skills Challenge.

 2012 should have been Curry’s break out year but problems with his temperamental ankle brought this season to a premature end. Curry played 26 games, starting 23 of those. He shot 49% from the field, 45.5% from deep and 80.9% from the free throw line, with his ankle giving him increasing trouble he averaged a career-low 14.8 points a game while making 5.8 assists and 1.5 steals.

Curry should have been lining up for his first All-Star appearance however it was not to be. His ankle got the better of him and required surgery sidelining him for the rest of the season. Fast-forward to 2013 and you can find Steph Curry and his Warriors perched in 5th position in the Western Conference largely to some magnificent performances from Curry and David Lee.

So far this season Curry has played and started in all 36 matches, averaging a career high 38.1 minutes a game. The increase in minutes has translated all across the box score. It’s simple really. More minutes means more shots and still Curry is shooting at 43.7% from the field. More impressive yet is the fact he is shooting at 46.1% from deep and 89.3% from the free-throw line. Curry is also setting career highs in assists (6.6pg), rebounds (4.2pg) and points (20.5pg) while leading his team around the court and wowing audiences with his knack for spot-up shooting.

Compare this to other elite point guards in the league and Curry is a close third to Irving and Westbrook in points scored per game, second only to Chris Paul in FT%, fifth in FGM/FGA, leading THE LEAGUE in 3’s per game, 8th in rebounds per game, 10th in assists per game, 10th in steals per game and equal 8th in double-doubles per game.

Forgive me for gushing, but this guy is the real deal. I thoroughly believe that the Warriors lead by Curry and Lee can be a Playoff threat. Curry’s clutch shooting teamed with Lee’s presence around the boards brings the Warriors a dynamic that has long been missed. If Bogut can get back in time I would hate to be facing the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.

With NBA ALL-STAR voting closing on January 14th all I can hope for is that Curry is given the opportunity to make his first All Star appearance. You’ve seen the facts, there’s not many better,  and with the ankle troubles a thing of the past, all I can say is watch out, this Curry is red hot.

 Matt Leslie (@MattLB_)

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