It is no surprise given the season he just had but what a remarkable achievement – Stephen Curry will be officially named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player again sometime this week.
That news comes according to ESPN sources. Curry has been the overwhelming favorite for the award ever since Golden State started the season 24-0 en route to a 73-9 record that was the best ever posted in an NBA season.
Curry – who grew up in Charlotte and starred at Davidson – has been extraordinary all season. The only thing that has stopped him has been a knee injury that has forced him to miss all of the Warriors’ ongoing playoff series with Portland, although he is expected to return soon.
So what does a second straight MVP award mean for Curry? For one thing, it practically guarantees his eventual selection into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame when his career concludes. It pushes him higher into the pantheon among the NBA’s all-time greats (ESPN already ranked Curry as the 23rd-best player of all time earlier this year).
It is possible that Curry, 28, will never eclipse his 2015-16 season on an individual basis. The numbers are stunning. He made 402 three-pointers, shattering his previous NBA record of 286. He led the NBA in scoring (30.1 points per game) and in steals as well. He dominated the game from outside the three-point arc – way, way outside of it – in the same way that Wilt Chamberlain used to dominate the paint.
Curry has always been able to shoot. But he has improved his ball-handling exponentially since he left Davidson and now can free himself at any moment off the dribble. So instead of being another J.J. Redick – a great shooter, but one who is largely dependent on others to get him open – Curry has turned into something altogether unique not just through talent but through a work ethic instilled by his parents.
As Davidson coach Bob McKillop once told me of the best player he has ever coached: “He’s become a maestro with the ball in his hands – a magician. And that doesn’t happen unless you’ve invested so much time in it.”
The results have been out of this world. As LeBron James – another back-to-back MVP winner – tweeted in February: “@StephenCurry30 needs to stop it man!! He’s ridiculous man! Never before seen someone like him in the history of ball!”
Curry has not been himself in the playoffs because of troublesome injuries – first to his ankle, now to his knee. But that shouldn’t diminish one of the best regular seasons that any NBA player has ever had.
So congratulations for a well-deserved honor to Curry – the Carolina Panthers’ No. 1 celebrity fan, Charlotte’s No. 1 homegrown athlete ever and, once again, the NBA’s No. 1 player.