Jesse is a lifelong sports fan with a passion for finding the facts. His writing has been recognized and published by Sports Illustrated.
Why Steph Curry Is Overrated
If you've watched basketball anytime after 2010, you are probably aware of superstar Stephen Curry. He's one of the two "Splash Brothers," he's a two-time MVP (and one of them was unanimously voted), he's a three-time champion and has two other finals appearances. He is the single greatest shooter in NBA history, with stats that make Ray Allen's career look mediocre. All of these accolades are incredible, so how could he be overrated?
This article will dive into the perfect storm that created Steph Curry's greatness and fame. It will cover his luck on the side of injury through the years, his playoff performances that were lackluster, and his team that kept him afloat so often. Before we can fully accept those facts, we must have a background as to who Steph Curry is.
Steph Curry as a Kid
Steph Curry's Brief History
Steph Curry was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1988, the same hospital that his future rival LeBron James was born in. Steph's father, Dell Curry, was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers at the time. He spent most of his childhood in Charlotte, North Carolina while his dad played for the Hornets. This is why he is an avid Panthers fan to this day.
Steph eventually made his way to Davidson where his shooting skills were witnessed for three seasons. He lost his first season in the NCAA tournament to Maryland as a 13 seed, lost to the championship Gonzaga Bulldogs the following year in the Final Four, and in his junior year, his team received a 9 seed in the NIT bracket, failing to get an NCAA bid.
He was drafted 7th overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2009.
Reasons Why Stephen Curry Is Overrated
Steph Curry has been extremely blessed with a team around him that simply could never be matched. While he is the greatest shooter of all time, he also has been blessed to have a teammate in Klay Thompson who is the second greatest shooter of all time, a defensive player of the year in Draymond Green, and an MVP winner and all-time scoring titan in Kevin Durant. Curry has been able to avoid double-teams most of his career, he's had Klay and Draymond to defend the opposing team's best players, and he's been free to soak up all the fame that comes with the accolades that a perfect team accumulates and project his face into the reason it happened.
Steph Curry Stats
|Steph Curry Stats||Points Per Game||Rebounds Per Game||Assists Per Game||Field Goal %||3 Point FG%||Player Efficiency Rating||Steals Per Game||Turnovers Per Game|
Steph Curry Isn't Clutch
When you look at the stats above, it may appear that Steph improves in the clutch because he scores more. However, his shooting percentages drop from both the two and three range. In fact, in the Finals, Curry's FG% drops a whole 5.5% and 4.7% from three. His efficiency rating also slightly drops in the playoffs and his turnovers increase. Steph simply takes more shots and misses more in the playoffs and Finals. To be fair, statistics don't always tell the entire story. There are other clutch moments to be had that aren't derived from a simple box score. Below are some situational statistics.
Steph Curry is 4-15 or 26% on shots to tie or win with 24 seconds or less left in a game. All 4 makes were to tie, all shots to win were misses. His record in these games is 6-8. Steph has taken 9 shots to win a game in the playoffs in his career, all of which were misses.
The Warriors Are the Perfect Team
The Warriors Ruined the NBA
Despite Curry's regressed playoff stats, they're still impressive. The question is, how much of that is Curry's greatness, and how much is it the team around him? Steph has played with two other hall of fame level players since 2012, he's had three hall of fame level players with him since 2017, and in 2019 he had four total hall of fame level players to play on his team.
Klay Thompson is an all-time shooter, 5x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, and 1x All-Defense player. Draymond Green is a Defensive Player of the Year, 3x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, 1x Steals Leader, and 5x All-Defense. Kevin Durant is an MVP Award winner, 4x scoring champion, 10x All-Star, 9x All-NBA, and won Rookie of the Year. Finally, Demarcus Cousins is a 4x All-Star and 2x All-NBA. All four are likely Hall of Famers.
Before Steph was part of a Big 3, Big 4, or Hall of Fame lineup, he played 3 seasons. In those seasons he never averaged more than 20 points per game. His teams averaged 27th in defense each year. It wasn't until Draymond arrived and he had two other elite players that Curry began to succeed. Curry led those teams but had great defensive help from his supporting cast and another shooter that needed to be respected. Once they added a former MVP and multiple scoring champion in Kevin Durant, it was all but over for the rest of the league. Despite all of this, in 2019 when KD was out for the Finals and Klay went down in Game 6, Curry lost and missed a crucial potential game winning 3 in the process. If this wasn't enough, Steph and the Warriors were gifted with another bounty of luck throughout their years.
Why the Warriors Are the Luckiest Team in the NBA
Why the Warriors Are So Lucky
Since the beginning of Steph and the Warriors dynasty, they have been riddled with luck; injuries to key opponents, health on their part, and, in Steph's case, not having to face a key defender. Below is a list of playoff injuries to opposing players during the Warriors run from 2015-present.
In 2015, the Warriors won their first championship. In the Western Conference semi-finals, the Warriors defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 4-2. The Grizzlies were missing Mike Conley, arguably their best player, due to a facial fracture. They also were missing Tony Allen, their best defender and one of the better defenders in the league, due to a hamstring. Both of these players likely would have spent time defending Curry. After beating the Grizzlies, the Warriors went on to defeat the Rockets 4-1. In this game, their best defender, Patrick Beverley, was also injured due to a torn ligament in his wrist. He would have been the primary defender on Steph Curry in this case as well. Finally, the Warriors won the Championship against the Cavaliers 4-2. This was the luckiest series of all. The Cavaliers had just lost Kevin Love for the series due to Kelly Olynik pulling his arm out of its socket and required shoulder surgery. At the end of game 1, Kyrie Irving broke his kneecap and wouldn't be able to play the rest of the series. Both Irving and Love were the second and third best players on the team, and with their injuries, the Cavs had to run an 8 man rotation. This led to the team being gassed quickly and what started as a competitive series couldn't be maintained.
In 2016, the Warriors lost to a fully healthy Cleveland Cavaliers, but in 2017, the injury luck struck again. The Warriors swept the Jazz 4-0 in the Western Conference semi-finals. In this series, George Hill, the primary defender of Steph Curry, was out with a toe injury. In the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors swept the Spurs this time. They had two of their main pieces out with injuries. Tony Parker, the primary defender of Steph Curry, was out with a torn quad. More important was the injury to Kawhi Leonard during Game 1. He rolled his ankle and was no longer able to play. At that point in the game, the Spurs were up 25 points. Kawhi is well known as one of the greatest defenders in the league. With him gone, the Warriors breezed to the finals. Now, this isn't to say that the Warriors wouldn't have won the Finals in 2017 as I implied for their 2015 season, but they certainly wouldn't have swept through to the finals. They were given plenty of rest throughout the playoffs that other teams didn't have simply because they had little to no opposition. More games could have led to their own fatigue or injuries that could have changed their paths, but we'll never know because their path was gifted along with their extreme talent after adding Kevin Durant that offseason.
In 2018, the Warriors had a relatively normal playoffs until just before the Finals. The Rockets had been dominant and gave the Warriors all they could handle while leading the series 3-2. It wasn't until the end of Game 5 when Chris Paul, the primary defender of Steph Curry and future Hall of Famer, went down with a hamstring strain. He wasn't able to play in games 6 or 7 and the Warriors ultimately won both to go on to the Finals. The way the Rockets had been playing was phenomenal. The Warriors seemed to be destined to watch from home, and that injury completely changed the tide of the series in their favor.
So clearly the key injuries through Steph Curry's three rings were paramount in his success. While it can't be said that any team would have definitively beat them had they been healthy, it's logical to think that the 2015 Cavs, 2017 Spurs, and 2018 Rockets all had a strong chance to contest them! The injuries were a huge factor and Curry could easily have lost two of those seasons if not for them.
Why Steph Curry Is Famous
Why Steph Curry's Legacy Is Tarnished
In conclusion, this article is not trying to say that Steph Curry isn't a good basketball player. He's the greatest shooter to ever live. He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer. However, he is still overrated. Steph Curry is a three-time champion who lucked into one ring for sure, and possibly a second. He has been surrounded by at least two hall of fame players, and as many as four throughout his career. He's made the Finals a total of five times and has never received a Finals MVP award because he consistently disappears, or simply gets outplayed.
The hype around Curry really came from a combination of many things. It started with his awe-inspiring three-point shooting. People couldn't believe the rate that he was making threes, and it was changing the game. Kids started to try to make more threes, they started yelling "Curry!" instead of "Kobe!" when they shot the ball. Couple that with his first ring that he earned. At first people may have thought the Cavs would have won if they were healthy, but eventually, they moved on and forgot. The next season the Cavs won and a rivalry was born through trash talk. Fans who hated LeBron saw Curry as a force to stop him and latched on. Then he had a beautiful family with a wife who ran her own cooking show, and a daughter who sat in interviews with Steph to make the world melt while they watched her play. It was a perfect storm of this marketability matched with his team around him, and Steph was able to capitalize in the spotlight. Steph is an all time shooter and a great player, but he isn't as good as people make him out to be. While he's portrayed as a top 5 player, he's probably closer to ten. He's never been able to beat a fully healthy team without the help of Durant and friends, and I think he'll be exposed when his supporting cast breaks up.
Do You Think Steph Curry is Overrated?
© 2019 Jesse Unk
A.H on May 31, 2020:
This article is pretty bias. It mentions injuries to the Warriors’ opponents in the playoffs, but doesn’t mention the Warriors’ injuries. The Warriors would’ve won in 2016 and 2019 if it weren’t for injuries. Bogut, one of the defensive anchors on the Warriors averaging 2 blocks a game, was injured for game 7 of the 2016 finals, which was only a 4 point game. The Cavs had an easier time driving and scoring without the presence of Bogut. Also, Curry was playing on a compromised MCL that got worse the more he played. Iggy also hurt his back in game 6.
In 2019 Klay and KD were injured. I don’t think I need to explain the reason they lost at all.
My point is, sure the Warriors would’ve lost 2015 and 2018 if the opposing teams (Cavs and Rockets) were healthy, but they would’ve won 2016, 2017, and 2019 if the Warriors themselves were healthy. Kawhi wouldn’t have led the Spurs to beating the Warriors. There was just no way. Sure, the Spurs could’ve won 2 or 3 games, but the Warriors were closing that series out for sure.
Also, your point that “Curry had so much help in his career” is technically true, but he literally won a championship in 2015, when his only all star teammates was Klay Thompson. Before KD joined the Warriors and before Draymond was an all star.
That point that “the Warriors in 2019 had 5 hall of famers” is untrue. That’s like saying the 2017-18 Cavs had 5 hall of famers: IT, DWade, LeBron, KLove, Drose. It’s out of context. DeMarcus wasn’t even close to all star level, and Draymond was a worse version of himself. Neither of them were all stars. Same thing with Iggy. People claim he’s an all star even though he’s just a good bench player. Completely ignorant.
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on September 27, 2019:
I agree that Curry will definitely have to show us something this season by leading a team without so much help. It will be interesting to see.
Sean on September 27, 2019:
I'm the biggest Steph fan you'll find, but I believe it's important to keep an open mind about opposing arguments. I thought this piece did a good job highlighting his faults with mostly factual supporting data (with the part about good luck being inherently subjective).
I liked the article a lot- I bet we'll find out a lot more about how Steph judging by how he operates with one of the worst teams he's had in a long while.
Troy Taylor from Anywhere on July 07, 2019:
Doesn't look too good. I don't think DeAngelo Russell will have the impact experts say he will and even Draymond's skills on defense are deteriorating
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on July 07, 2019:
Im interested to see how he does with just draymond this season.
Troy Taylor from Anywhere on July 06, 2019:
Totally agree. When you look at the Warriors run of late, they always seemed to catch every break imaginable.
Mikey Karlovsky on June 27, 2019:
Don't really have anything as of yet, but keep it up man
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on June 27, 2019:
My fanship doesnt change any of the facts or stats that i addressed above. Perhaps you should read past my bio before commenting on my article.
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on June 27, 2019:
I appreciate the support! Are there any other sports questions or players youd like to see covered in the future?
Chokeland on June 26, 2019:
A Cleveland sports fan claiming Steph Curry is overrated and effectively a Mark Price with 3 lucky rings. Funny.
Mikey Karlovsky on June 26, 2019:
Love the content bro, and I agree Steph is a good player, but he is not clutch at all.
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on June 18, 2019:
His statistics and success without an all star cast around him must be on crack as well.
From the world on June 18, 2019:
Approved by the author. Yah.
Ron Unk on June 10, 2019:
Great article with a lot of facts and nuggets of information to make you say " you know he's right "