Stephen Curry has kept his Golden State Warriors afloat in the playoff picture this season. Even without his backcourt mate Klay Thompson, Curry has put up one of the best seasons of his career as the Warriors battle to stay in the mix for a play-in spot.
In his age-33 season, he’s leading the NBA in scoring with a career-best 31.3 points per game, adding 5.8 assists and a career-high 5.6 rebounds per game. He’s shooting 48.9 percent from the floor, 42.7 percent from 3-point range on a staggering 12.1 attempts per game, and doing all of this with the highest usage in his career at 33.8 percent.
It’s safe to say that awards and accolades won’t be coming Curry’s way, even though the two-time MVP and three-time NBA champion is having perhaps a top-three statistical season of his career.
This can be pinned entirely on the fact that the Warriors are just 31-30 and sit 10th place in the West. Rules are rules, and precedent is rarely deviated from; you don’t win MVP as the best player on a 10th-place team.
Steph Curry’s efforts for the Golden State Warriors this season won’t earn him his third MVP, but he was definitely the best player in the West last week.
We here at Hoops Habit recently floated the idea of a Most Outstanding Player award, more in line with recognizing the exceptional achievements of players outside of the top three or four teams in each conference, which the MVP award primarily does. Curry would be a perfect recipient for the award, as his team would surely be among the worst in the NBA without him.
With him, they’re almost assured of a play-in berth and have at least a fighting chance of getting into the playoffs in the always-tough Western Conference.
One accolade you’d think Steph Curry would be in the running for would be a Western Conference Player of the Week award, especially for a week where he led his Warriors to a 3-1 record. Last week he did just that while averaging 34.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists. Curry shot 46.7 percent from the floor, and he nearly matched his season percentage of 42.6 percent from long range on 13.2 attempts per game.
It was a magnificent week, but his rightful title as Western Conference Player of the Week was usurped by Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks. Doncic played just three games, averaging 26.9 points, 10.0 assists and 9.0 rebounds. His shooting splits were relatively pedestrian, as well. Doncic shot 43.1 percent from the floor and 34.6 percent from 3-point range.
Essentially, this was a below-average week for him. He’s averaging 28.5 points per game on the season, and he’s shooting 48.3 percent from the floor and 35.9 percent 3-point range. It’s not only short of his own typical standards, Doncic’s week was well inferior of Curry’s own output.
We may not find ourselves quibbling over random POTW awards from 2021 in 10 years, but in the here and now, there’s nothing wrong with expecting these awards to reflect who actually had the best week. This past week, that was Steph Curry.