Under The Bleachers: Stephen Curry Is Must-See TV

Above: Golden State Warrior's guard and NBA All-Star, Stephen Curry
Above: Golden State Warrior's guard and NBA All-Star, Stephen Curry

If you’re a hoops fan, you’re locking in on the Golden State Warriors right now, as you should be.

The defending champs are on an historic run to start the season, pushing their winning streak to an even 20 games with a blowout win in Charlotte on Wednesday. They’ll next hit the court on Sunday in Toronto, meaning everyone in Canada within arm’s reach of their remote should tune in to TSN2 and catch the Warriors live because it truly is a special experience to watch them play right now.

As you would expect, the man at the helm of his unprecedented streak is the reigning MVP, Stephen Curry, who has – if you can believe this – raised his game to another level after being the clear-cut best player in the league last year. That’s not just lip service either; Curry has upped his scoring average by nearly eight points to 31.6 a night while shooting .512 from the floor while adding 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 2.5 steals per game.

The league is NBA Jam to him right now and he’s permanently on fire and regardless of where your NBA allegiances land, you have to be loving watching Steph operate on a nightly basis right now.

Except if you’re a Minnesota Timberwolves fan. Here’s why:

After a certain number of years, sports fans and journalists alike have a tendency to go back, look at old drafts and play a giant game of “How could they have taken X instead of Y?” based on what those players are doing today.

That’s where everyone is at with Curry and the 2009 NBA Draft right now and it’s impossible not to look at the ridiculousness that transpired with the fifth and sixth picks, the two spots right before the Davidson guard was drafted.

Now listen: anyone that tells you they knew Curry was going to develop into a perennial MVP candidate and hit a trajectory that has him looking like an eventual Hall of Fame inductee, that person is a liar. Even the best basketball minds around didn’t anticipate Curry hitting this level; an All-Star, maybe, but not the best player in the sport and it’s not even close status.

But even projecting Curry as a tremendous shooter and a combo guard with some questions about his ability to deal with the physicality of the pro game, there is no way to look at Minnesota taking point guards Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn back-to-back in front of Curry and not shake your head. Everyone did it at the time and it’s becomes an even more egregious mistake with each passing game.

Rubio has been solid when he’s been on the court, averaging 11/5/9 per 36 minutes over the course of his career, but he spent three additional seasons overseas after being drafted and has only played a full 82 games once in his career.

The selection of Flynn is what really stings for Timberwolves fans, as the former Syracuse guard went from starting 81 games in his rookie season and made the All-Rookie Second Team to being an afterthought the following season and out of the league after his junior year in the league.

They took point guards with back-to-back picks and one of them wasn’t Curry, who repeatedly torched major conference teams in the NCAA Tournament and led the nation in scoring in his junior year.

Six years later, it’s still unconscionable and even though Minnesota is starting to put things together and clearly has a bright future with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, Curry has become one of the best shooters in NBA history, the reigning MVP and the leader of the most entertaining and impressive team in the league right over the last couple years.

Tune in Sunday and enjoy.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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