There’s no way we could be undervaluing Stephen Curry already, right? Not the baby-faced assassin. Not the guy who plays “Sebastian Curry” in State Farm commercials. Not the one with the daughter who gave literally all of America baby fever last summer. Not the guy who single-handedly took Under Armour from being a brand known for snug workout gear to a legitimate sneaker heavyweight. Not the NBA 2K cover boy. Not the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. Not the God-fearing, says-all-the-right-things face of a once-hapless franchise that just led the Golden State Warriors to its first championship in 40 years. We can’t be taking him for granted already, right?
Yeah. We kind of are. And it’s pretty damn stupid.
“I apologize for us being healthy, I apologize for us playing who was in front of us. I apologize for all the accolades we received as a team and individually,” Stephen Curry said in the pre-season. I’m very, truly sorry, and we’ll rectify that situation this year.”
Let’s keep it all the way 100: there is not one single reason why the Warriors shouldn’t be favored to win the NBA Championship again. Skimming through NBA predictions from pundits who get paid mighty healthy for their opinions, you’ll see a wide range of picks for teams to win the Larry O’ Brien trophy. The overwhelming pick from most pundits are the defending Eastern Conference champions in the Cleveland Cavaliers. The second-most popular pick seems to be the Oklahoma City Thunder, who return with the 2013-14 NBA MVP in Kevin Durant. Another sexy pick is a reloaded San Antonio Spurs team who have added David West and All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Hell, even the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat have been tabbed by some as the dark horse to win it all. But surprisingly, not a lot of people think the Warriors have what it takes for lightning to strike twice and go back to the NBA Finals out of the rough and tumble Western Conference.
I’m not exactly sure why. They didn’t lose anybody terrible significant outside of David Lee. Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green have another year of chemistry together and Steve Kerr (health permitting) will probably only grow as a coach in his sophomore year. Speaking of Curry, he notably didn’t top anybody’s ranking list of the NBA’s best players. Not one. Sure, LeBron James is still the best player on planet Earth…but are we sure? Stephen Curry isn’t, and he made damn sure last night to let people know who the reigning and defending NBA MVP is.
On ring night, when the defending NBA champions are usually set to come out flat after the emotions of reliving their championship season, the Warriors and Curry were anything but. Placed against many pundits’ 2015-16 NBA MVP in Anthony Davis, Curry showed that he’s not letting go of his NBA MVP award that damn easy.
Curry became the first reigning MVP in the NBA’s long history to score 40 or more points in the season opener. Wardell came out the gate sizzling, putting up 24 points in the first quarter on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and hitting 4-of-7 three-pointers. “This is the last straw of the whole championship celebration,” Curry told Yahoo Sports. “We celebrated for three months, as we should. But you can’t get distracted by what happened last year. I might peek at [the ring] every once in a while, but it’s not like it’s going to go away.
“I’m going to put it in the safe and just worry about what’s ahead. When we are 10 games into the season nobody cares about it. You can’t bring the [ring] out onto the floor. It’s not going to intimidate anybody. You got to go out and play.” Curry nailed 14 of 25 shots, five three-pointers and all seven free throws while dishing seven assists.
He’ll say all of the right things, and do all of the right things, but we all know that Curry and the Warriors have been listening to the naysayers all season. That said, it’s going to be fun watching Curry try to silence even more critics in 2015-16.
Photo Credit: John G. Mabanglo/European Pressphoto Agency