Over the past few years Stephen Curry has become the face of the Golden State Warriors franchise and one of the faces of the NBA. His All-Star play has been quite a spectacle to witness and his stats undeniably rank among the elites of the league. For the Warriors, Curry’s performance both on and off of the court is something that they have not had in decades. The selfless, good natured young man from Charlotte, North Carolina is one of the more positive role models in sports today – something that is lacking around the country to say the least.
However, on the court his unselfish ways are beginning to pose a problem for the now rising Golden State Warriors. With a second straight playoff appearance for the first time in over two decades, the Warriors have now grabbed everyone’s attention. There is no more “under the radar” for the Bay Area’s team, especially with Steph Curry leading them. But despite all of his recent accolades, Curry seems to still be playing with the mentality of a league minimum bench player. His lack of urgency and seeming misunderstanding for who he is and what his role is on the team has cost the Warriors big time in the 2014 playoffs.
What has happened to the Bob Fitzgerald proclaimed “Human Torch?” Why did he attempt just 12 shots in the biggest game of the season on Thursday night? 15 assists or not, Curry needs to put up his shots because they will fall. He proved that late in the fourth quarter when he desperately forced up and nailed three triples, trying to lead the Warriors back late. But why did it take so long for him to start shooting? He didn’t make his first basket until 1:46 remaining in the second quarter, took just one shot in the third quarter, then waited until it was too late to start firing away.
Is this the same guy that averaged 24 points a game during the regular season? The same guy that broke the NBA’s all time single season three-point record last year? The same guy who dropped 54 points in Madison Square Garden a year ago? Somehow it is. The Warriors offense has all but disappeared during the postseason, ranking dead last among playoff teams in efficiency. It starts with Curry.
Part of the issues stem from the pesky defense of Clippers “hero” Chris Paul. Paul has been under Curry’s skin all series, trying to prove that he is still the NBA’s top guard. As tough and physical as Paul may fool people into believing, he is only 6 feet tall, 175 pounds at best. The 6′-3″, 185 pound Curry should use his size advantage and take it to the already injury riddled Paul. It’s time for Curry to turn the tables on Paul and frustrate him.
In Game 2, Curry became fed up with his team’s lackluster play, angrily throwing his mouthguard into the crowd. This was a side of Curry that he rarely shows, and it is exactly what he needs to unleash on his opponents. Instead, Curry went right back to his passive ways in Game 3’s loss.
If the Warriors are going to win another game this year, Curry must ditch the team player mentality and become the selfish superstar scorer that he is fully capable of being. He needs to stop worrying about consistently getting his teammates involved because they are failing him. They aren’t hitting open shots, they aren’t making smart decisions and they are simply overmatched by the Clippers on both ends of the floor. The time has come for Curry to realize that he is now a superstar and must put the game into his own hands. He needs to become selfish. He needs that killer instinct. He needs to draw blood, smell blood and finish off his opponent. He has the skill set of a superstar, now he needs to act the part of one.
Commentary by Rich Peters
Guardian Liberty Voice NBA Writer