*Going into the NBA playoffs, we knew the names of the guys who were in their prime – LeBron, Kevin Durant, Carmelo.
We knew that it might be the last go-around for Tim Duncan, KG, Paul Pierce and Pau Gasol. We knew that Dwight Howard and Josh Johnson had something to prove.
What we didn’t know, going in, was the name of that young player who was ready to take that next leap to superstardom. Injuries robbed Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook of their chances, and the jury is still out on Paul George (he might sit comfortably one level below superstardom – not a terrible thing).
That leaves with only one man to assume the mantle of the Next Big Thing, and so far in these playoffs, he’s picked it up and ran with it. Golden State’s Stephen Curry is, quite simply, the most exciting player in the NBA without an uppercase “L” and “B” in his first name. Physically, he might be the most unassuming player superstar in the game since Larry Bird; Curry is only 6-foot-3, and he’s listed at a super-generous 185 lbs – but man, does he ever have some kind of game. We haven’t seen a shooter who can get this hot, this quickly since Ray Allen’s prime (Curry, in fact, broke Ray’s record of 3-pointers made in a season this year).
In retrospect, we should have seen this coming. He’s got some of the best genes in the NBA – his dad, after all, is the great Dell Curry. His tenure at Davidson (check out the highlights here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmIQRjGhDfE) remains one of the most remarkable college careers in the modern era, and he’s improved exponentially over his NBA career – culminating in 2013 with a 54-point game at MSG in February (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuB3n–Sx10). His playoff performances so far have helped the once-moribund Warriors trample the Nuggets and
The best thing about Curry’s success? He’s doing it in a spot that desperately needs a true basketball superstar. For years, Golden State has given us one of the best crowds in all of sports (watch this if you don’t believe us: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuMTBV7XkA8), but they haven’t really had a truly transcendent star since Rick Barry took the court for them in the late 1970s. Curry is the star that the Bay Area deserves, and he’s one that any true NBA fan should appreciate. Let’s hope that the Warriors make a deep run into the playoffs so we can all see some more Steph. Anyways, we’re kind of sick of San Antonio. Sorry, guys – you’ve had enough titles.