If there were an MVP award for the NBA playoffs so far, it would go to Stephen Curry. The Golden State Warriors point guard is the third in points and first in assists during the playoffs putting up 25 and 8.3 per game respectively, and is fourth in player efficiency rating among active starters. A mid-season All-Star Game snub, Steph’s post-season performance has made him a top 10 superstar in the league today. Looking at Curry’s journey to the NBA, it is no surprise that he has become a premier talent.
Son of former NBA player Dell Curry, it is no surprise where Steph got his signature stroke from beyond the arc. Dell is the Hornets all-time leader in points and 3-point field goals, won the NBA’s 6th man of the year award in 1994, and led the association in 3-point field goals in 1999. In high school, Steph led his team to three conference titles and three state playoff appearances while at Charlotte Christian Academy.
Standing at 6 feet, 160 pounds, he was not offered any scholarships from preeminent division 1 schools and decided to attend Davison College instead. In his first year with the Wildcats, Curry broke the freshman scoring record and led the team to the NCAA tournament. During his sophomore season he was launched into the national spotlight during the NCAA tournament when he led the 15th seeded Wildcats to the Elite Eight, was nominated for the ESPY Breakthrough Player of the Year, and was named to Associated Press All-America Second Team. By his third season Curry led the NCAA in scoring and received First Team All-America honors.
Foregoing his senior season and entering the 2009 NBA Draft, Steph had mixed reviews. ESPN’s Skip Bayless boldly stated that he would pick him number 1 overall before Blake Griffin, while others lamented Curry’s small frame and "limited upside." After being selected No. 7 overall by the Golden State Warriors, he averaged 17.5 points and 5.9 assists in his rookie season. With similar numbers in his second season, Curry began to be plagued by ankle injuries. Playing only 23 games in 2011-2012 and averaging 14.5 points per game, he was not able to get in rhythm.
Following an off-season of intense rehab, Curry burst onto the scene in 2012-2013 breaking the NBA record for 3-point field goals made previously held by Miami Heat guard Ray Allen. With memorable performances such as his 54-point showcase against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, he proved that he will be a star in the league for years to come. Hitting almost impossible shots from beyond the arc, he has lit up both the Denver Nuggets and the San Antonio Spurs during the playoffs.
Curry has become one of the most exciting players in the league today. His ascent to superstardom was predictable. From his days as an underdog at Davidson, he showed a determination that is only matched by few. The warrior name on the front of his jersey is fittingly appropriate. He’s taken one of the NBA’s bottom feeders and made them into a perennial contender. If healthy, don’t be surprised if Curry leads the Warriors to next year’s NBA finals. In fact, you can count them as the favorite from the West for this year too.