According to the internet, Steph Curry is on trial this season. The internet always wins, but it’s not always right. And in this case, it’s being absolutely ridiculous. The three-time NBA champion, two-time MVP — one being the only unanimous MVP in league history — that has become a household name operating as the head of the Golden State Warriors dynasty, who changed the way the entire NBA approaches the game is on trial this season?
According to the internet, his career and legacy weigh heavily on what he can do this year, post-Kevin Durant, sans injured Klay Thompson. Trust me when I say, I understand where that pain comes from but Wardell Stephen Curry’s career and legacy are stamped. If he didn’t play another second of basketball, he’d leave as one of the best to ever play the game and shimmy his way right into the Hall of Fame, unquestionably and deservedly. I’d say the same for Durant. I’d also say the same for Klay, but I don’t know if I’d say the same for Draymond Green.
Draymond has been Mr. Fix it for the Warriors over the years. He was one of the top defensive players in the league for half a decade, a three-time All-Star, and in 2016 he shot nearly 50% from the field, nearly 40% from the 3-point line, and almost pushed the Warriors past LeBron and the Cavs in Game 7 of the Finals with 32 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. He was one of the best and smartest hoopers in the league who shined in the highest stakes. With the skill to do whatever was needed and the IQ to know exactly when and where to do it, Draymond wasn’t just a glue guy. To call him a glue guy would be diminishing. He was one of the best players in the entire league. What he did on the basketball court was special.
When Durant showed up in 2017, we all assumed it was Klay whose role would be affected the most but he continued to thrive. It was Draymond who had to take a back seat. His role offensively all but disappeared and understandably so. There was no need for Draymond to be as aggressive on the offensive end when you have the three best shooters and two of the best scorers in the league. His contribution was mostly needed defensively, and he leaned in, leading the league in steals and winning the Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 as well as making the All-NBA defensive team the following two years. He didn’t care what he needed to do for them to win as long as they won, and they did win, a lot. If Steph was the head of the Warriors dynasty, Draymond was the heart. He was invaluable, but invaluable enough to make it to the Hall? I don’t know.
Let’s look at Ben Wallace, another great “blue-collar” player who made a living in the trenches doing all the necessary things to win that others didn’t want to do. He was a four-time All-Star, four-time Defensive Player of the Year, five-time All-NBA, and an NBA Champ who went head to head with Shaq in his prime to win his ring. I would say his resume is more impressive than Draymond’s is at this point, but he’s still on the outside looking in.
Without Durant, I expected Draymond to get back to his 2015 form, but he’s struggled. With all the injuries last year, the Warriors were abysmal and he just wasn’t himself. It’s still early but this year he hasn’t been as effective on either end of the floor, averaging more fouls than points. We’ve seen him help make a contender a champion but can he make a bad team better? Klay’s still missing but with Steph back, the Warriors have a chance of being competitive in the West if Draymond can get back to being Draymond again. Not only for the team that will most definitely be hanging his jersey in the rafters one day, but to solidify his legacy as an NBA great.
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