Very interesting question’s raised by Zach Lowe on the December 28th Lowe Post pod with 538’s Chris Herring, as they analyzed the early season struggles of the Golden State Warriors and what category of superstar player Steph Curry fits into:
The referendum on Steph is gonna be if the Warriors are just bad, right? The referendum is gonna be: LeBron’s teams are never just bad. Kevin Durant‘s teams are never just bad. Kawhi Leonard‘s teams are never just bad. James Harden is…James Harden can go to strip clubs 80 nights a year and he’s a walking playoff birth. It doesn’t matter — he’s a walking playoff birth. Why are Steph’s teams bad? If he’s a 2-time MVP, I don’t understand–why are his teams just bad? We’ve seen other players like Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday have bad teams in New Orleans. So that’s the discussion that’s going to happen, and I think part of it is, lets TBD the whole thing, we don’t know if they’re bad yet. And we have seen other superstars helm bad teams before, but we don’t know if the Warriors are bad yet.
I do think there’s a lot of truth to the floor raiser vs. ceiling raiser player archetype–that Steph’s skills are such that he can take an okay team and a good team and make them a supernova, but he’s maybe even less equipped than a guy like Russ to take a bad team and make them mediocre through sheer physicality. Like, why can’t you give the ball to Steph 20 feet from the rim in the triple threat possession 50 times a game? Well, he’s a pretty skinny dude and do you want him getting destroyed at the rim to get you 14 free throws a game? Can he do that every night? I don’t know, but I do know that his version of that is: I got two people on me 30 feet from the basket and if you give me anybody who I can pass to that can make the next play, we’re going to be alright.