Step aside, LeBron James. This is Stephen Curry’s league now.
The transition began last year when Curry received more all-star votes than LeBron. Slowly, Curry started to beat LeBron and other top superstars with higher merchandise sales. Then came the MVP award. The icing on the cake was when Curry’s maiden appearance in the NBA final drew the highest television ratings since Michael Jordan’s final championship run in 1998.
Curry’s popularity is rising on a daily basis. On Halloween, yesterday, Curry wore a zebra mask and visited the mall with his family. But the disguise didn’t work as fans recognized him and tweeted pictures (see below).
On Saturday, the reigning MVP scorched New Orleans Pelicans with 28 points in the third quarter and 53 points in all. With each passing night – and every highlight-filled, recording-setting showing – it has become ever so clear that Curry has taken over as the league’s best player.
After three games, Curry has scored 118 points in just 99 minutes, on just 68 shots. He’s averaging 39.3 points, 7.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds, 5.7 made three-pointers and only 1.7 turnovers. Last year, Curry won the MVP with a PER of 28. After the first three games, he’s at 52.3. Curry is putting up historic metric stats, too. If he sustains such numbers, he will proceed to break his own record of most threes hit in a single season (yet again).
At this stage, it’s safe to say that Curry is en route to back-to-back MVP awards. You could make a case for Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin, who have both started the season emphatically, too. But with Warriors projected to win 65+ games once again, it would be hard to argue against Curry to repeat as MVP. LeBron, who has taken a lesser role, is perhaps more focused on the postseason.
If it was even possible, Curry has drastically improved his ball-handling and perimeter shooting. At the end of last season, Curry heard the murmurs that his Warriors were “lucky” to win it all. When asked about his motivation, Curry said, “Take advantage of the opportunity. People think we weren’t supposed to be the champs last year, I wasn’t supposed to be MVP, whatever. But I want to go out and play well and be better than I was last year.”
“I come out every game with the same mentality: trying to just leave an imprint on the game,” Curry recently told CSN Bay Area’s Rosalyn Gold-Onwude.
Curry is leaving more than just an imprint.