“We can do some special things. Hopefully be the best backcourt to ever play”.
That’s a direct quote from the newly crowned regular-season NBA MVP Stephen Curry. In saying that, Curry is of course referring to himself and the other half of the splash brothers, teammate Klay Thompson.
Before debating whether or not Curry and Thompson could indeed be the best backcourt to ever play, it’s important to acknowledge what the two have done to help the Golden State Warriors dominate the NBA this past season. The team finished with a record of 67-15 in the regular season. The NBA hasn’t seen that level of dominance since the mid-90s when Michael Jordan took the Chicago Bulls to six championships, including the regular-season record that once hit the 72-win plateau.
Statistically speaking, the tandem put up some of the best numbers in the NBA, and among point and shooting guards, they were definitely the cream of the crop. Curry averaged 23.8 points per game during the regular season, including 7.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds. The guy is as close to automatic from the free throw line as a player could ever be and he also shot close to 49 percent from beyond the arc.
Klay Thompson on the other hand averaged 21.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. He averaged just under 44 percent shooting from downtown and put together a career year that validated the long-term extension he signed with the club during the season.
The phrase ‘long-term’ is key when it comes to considering the two talents as the best backcourt ever. Surely there have been many great backcourts before them, but in the modern day NBA there were very few of the game’s greatest players retire having spent their entire careers with one team or even the majority of their careers with one team for that matter. Only time will tell whether the to stick together for long enough to be considered the best of all time.
Another factor that needs to be considered is health. Consider that the Oklahoma City Thunder boast likely the best one-two punch in the league aside from Curry and Thompson with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Yes it’s not exactly a direct comparison because Durant plays small forward and not the guard position, but the point is that his long-term future may be in jeopardy because of problems he’s had with his foot throughout this past regular-season. While those very same problems allowed Westbrook to elevate his game and garner MVP consideration, it looks as though their time as a dynamic one-two punch may be coming to an end sooner than anybody may have previously thought.
For now, neither Steph Curry nor Klay Thompson has had to worry about health problems in their respective careers. However, that the Golden State Warriors appear ready to be consistent title contenders for years to come; as the games played and the mileage adds up, so will the wear and tear, which as we’ve seen before can derail dominance rather abruptly.
Any unforeseen health problems aside however, the good news in Golden State is that both players are signed through the 2016-17 season with Thompson signed through the 2017-18 season. While there is no doubt Curry will get paid handsomely when his contract expires, the Warriors’ organization will be crazy not to consider making him the highest paid player in the NBA and doing everything they can to keep them in the Golden State uniform. That’s especially true considering how mediocre the franchise has been in recent history.
Keeping Curry shouldn’t prove to be too much of a concern if the team continues to blow opponents of the water the way they’ve been doing into the second round of the playoffs. With the team proving itself as an elite club and positioned to continue to be just that in the near future, it’s very well possible that Curry and Thompson could turn out to be the best backcourt to ever play in the NBA.
First thing’s first though, they need to cap off Curry’s MVP season with a championship. Any player or tandem that wants to lay claim to the title of being the best ever has to win at least one. Such is the life of the elite in the NBA.