The Baby-Faced Assassin has broken ankles across the league. With a ridiculous handle, a smooth shot and an ability to distribute the ball, Stephen Curry is the complete package at point guard in the NBA. If he has one weakness it’s extremely obvious: his size.
A main reason for Curry attending Davidson College was due to larger schools overlooking him because of his size. Curry took the nation by storm after propelling Davidson deep into the NCAA Tournament in 2009, and since his NBA arrival, he has erased many doubters throughout his career.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has allowed the pace of the team’s offense to perfectly suit the back court. With Klay Thompson alongside him, Curry’s numbers have been excellent this season, even more so in the playoffs thus far. Like most teams in the NBA, the New Orleans Pelicans just didn’t have an answer for Curry, who put up nearly 34 points per game in the first-round series sweep.
How do you slow down a man who can create an open shot by himself at any moment? It was too tall a task for the eighth-seeded Pelicans, but what of other teams in the Western Conference? Or if it leads to it, the Eastern Conference?
Curry’s scoring abilities are so profound that his terrific shooting numbers have become an expectancy. The only way a team can defeat the Warriors comes from the other side of the spectrum. How does the 190-pound Curry fit into a slower paced game? Controlling the pace is a vital factor in any team that wishes to beat the Warriors. The Memphis Grizzlies normally excel at that type of grind-it-out game, but without Mike Conley, it’s hard to see the Grizzlies having a chance. Looking further, the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers or Houston Rockets would present a challenge, but none of them play that slower game.
If Curry had played in a rougher era of NBA basketball, he may not have fit in as well. Good shooters have always found a way to make it in the NBA, but not even that long ago, half-court defensive size was everything. No team could win an NBA championship without it. The game has changed, and is forever changing. No player is a greater representation of that than Curry.
History is against Curry and the Warriors as they attempt to make a run to the NBA Finals. The last team to have this type of winning consistency behind an undersized point guard would have to be the Phoenix Suns with Steve Nash. As fans know, the Suns were never able to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The Suns desperately tried to improve their strength in the size department by signing Shaquille O’Neal in 2007, an experiment that didn’t bode well despite good scoring numbers from O’Neal. The Suns, like today’s Warriors, lived or died by small ball. Is that a formula that can provide the Warriors with an NBA championship?
It may be naive to assume this Curry-led Warriors team is different than teams of the past. But it makes sense to assume this Warriors team fits the current style of basketball that’s dominating the league, and it helps that they play elite defense as well. Athletic point guards are vital to any team that wishes to win. Curry represents the next generation of basketball that isn’t as dependent on the performance of the big man in the paint. Can Curry and the Warriors overcome the cruel basketball factoid that size is everything in this sport? If anyone can do it, it’s the Baby-Faced Assassin.