NBA title within reach for Warriors, led by Curry
The Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry has had a remarkable year so far. Will he cap it off with an NBA title?
From the seventh pick in the 2009 NBA Draft to Most Valuable Player less than six years later, Stephen Curry's ascent to basketball royalty is almost complete.
An NBA championship ring would complete the point guard's journey from a good college player to an all-time great pro.
But unlike LeBron James, who was a no-brainer No. 1 draft pick in 2003, Curry was considered just another very good prospect when he was drafted by the Golden State Warriors.
How those teams that overlooked Curry, who played three seasons at unglamorous Davidson College in North Carolina, in favor of busts Hasheem Thabeet (No. 2 by Memphis) and Jonny Flynn (Minnesota) must rue what might have been, though hindsight is easy.
In his six NBA seasons, Curry, now 27, has become arguably the best marksman in league history, almost unguardable and capable of hitting a shot from almost anywhere, under any amount of pressure.
But Golden State's improvement under Curry's on-court leadership was steady rather than meteoric, and it wasn't until the 2014-15 NBA season, under new coach Steve Kerr, that it all came together.
Despite averaging under 33 minutes per game during the regular season as Kerr used his bench to keep his stars fresh, Curry ranked third in the league in steals per game (2.0) and sixth in assists (7.7).
And his shooting statistics speak for themselves -- first in free throw percentage (91), third in three-point percentage (44) and sixth in points per game (23.8).
Superlatives have followed Curry, none more gushing than from all-time great shooter Steve Nash.
"He's as good as anyone I can think of on every level -- pure shooting, array of shots, percentage, getting hot, plays to the end. He checks all the boxes," Nash told Bleacher Report recently. "Steph takes it to another level."
The Warriors, however, are far from a one-man show, and Curry's backcourt partner Klay Thompson averaged 21.7 points in the regular season, forming a deadly duo that has become known as the "Splash Brothers." If one of them doesn't destroy a team from beyond the arc on any given night, the other most certainly will.
It is a tandem that is likely to help keep the Warriors in the hunt against the James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in the best-of-seven NBA Finals starting on Thursday.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)