Stephen Curry Named Player of the Week, but Is He Best Player in NBA?
Who is currently the best player in the NBA: Stephen Curry or LeBron James?
There is currently a debate going on in NBA culture about this very topic, and the leading candidates for this honor, Curry and James, were both named Players of the Week for their respective conferences for the week of Monday, November 16th through Sunday, November 22nd.
For Curry, this was his second Player of the Week award of the season, as he received this same honor after the first week of the season. With this award, Curry became the fourth player in Golden State Warriors franchise history to win at least four career weekly awards. The other three players to have done this are Tim Hardaway (won the award five times), Chris Mullin (won four times), and Baron Davis (won four times).
For the week of November 16th-22nd, the reigning MVP averaged 30.8 points, 6.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.0 steals on 50.6 percent shooting from the field and 96 percent shooting from the free-throw line. He also made 17 three-pointers during that span and led the Warriors to a perfect 4-0 record.
This was James’ first Player of the Week honors this season. James averaged 25.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 5.7 assists last week on 57.1 percent shooting from the field, 60.0 percent shooting from three-point range, and 87.5 percent free-throw shooting. James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 2-1 record.
Everyone knows that James is arguably one of the best players in NBA history. His list of accomplishments and awards is extensive and well-known. No one is arguing that James isn’t a great player and isn’t one of the best players in the NBA right now and ever, but the debate centers around if Curry has overtaken James as the best player in the NBA at this moment.
Curry is having another MVP-type season this year (actually, even better than last year), and he continues to defy expectations, dazzle crowds, and frustrate opponents. His style of play is as close to unguardable as possible, similar to James’ playing style. Curry is in his prime years, and since James has been dealing with some back issues this year and is getting older, some people in the NBA community now believe that this has become Curry’s league. Again, it doesn’t take away from what James has accomplished and how talented he is, but Curry has proved this season that he runs the NBA now.
Statistically, Curry is having the better season so far. He is currently averaging 32.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.6 steals on 51.4 percent shooting from the field, 43.8 percent shooting from three-point range, and 93.8 percent shooting from the free-throw line in 35.1 minutes per game in 15 games so far.
James is currently averaging 26.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.5 steals on 51.8 percent shooting from the field, 32.7 percent shooting from three-point range, and 64.9 percent free-throw shooting in 36.2 minutes per game in 13 games so far.
Looking beyond the statistics, it’s evident that both players are extremely difficult to guard (the two hardest players to guard in the NBA), but they’re hard to guard in different ways. Defending James is a difficult task for a defender because of his combination of size, speed, strength, and athleticism. There isn’t really any player in the NBA with his body type that can keep up with his quickness and can match up with him physically.
On the other hand, Curry is strong and athletic in his own way, but, as he’s pointed out several times himself, his body type is somewhat similar, or at least more relatable, to an average person since he’s 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, unlike James who is 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds. Curry is unguardable though because of the quick release on his shot, his quickness and his ability to drive to the basket, his accurate, creative passing ability, his hot streaks, his clutch behavior, and his unpredictability.
Given Curry is entering his prime and James is currently dealing with back issues, Curry is most likely slightly more unguardable right now. The way that Curry can change a game in the span of mere seconds makes him so dangerous the entire time he’s on the court. The affect that he has on his teammates, his opponent, the crowd, and on a game, in general, is absolutely massive, and it’s unmatched right now in the NBA, even though James is definitely second in the NBA in this category.
Both players are extremely talented and represent the NBA’s elite. They both are MVPs and were just named the Players of the Week, but Curry has taken over the title of the best player in the NBA currently.
In terms of intangibles and statistics, Curry is the king of the NBA. James might have owned the crown for several years, but it’s Curry’s kingdom now.