Stephen Curry: The Most Important Golden State Warrior This Season and Beyond
The Golden State Warriors are set up this season and hopefully beyond to make a playoff run that hasn't been witnessed since the "We Believe" days.
The offseason moves the team has made in signing Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack, re-signing Brandon Rush and drafting Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli all have them poised for a playoff run.
Newly-minted center Andre Bogut also factors in to being a huge part of the Warriors' run this year.
Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated writes, "Combine a league-average defense with a top-five offense, and you’ve got a dangerous playoff team." This isn't just an all-out run-and-gun team that featured boneheaded three-point shooting and lackluster defense.
Except these are the Golden State Warriors and there is always a catch: the health of Stephen Curry. Without him in the lineup on a daily basis, the team could be in big trouble. Lowe says that Curry has the ability to be a "transformational offensive player."
Even with all the additions, there is one person that needs to run the offense. Plus/Minus may not be the most efficient stat, but it helps give a broad perspective on whether a player is important to his team.
According to NBA.com stats, the Warriors are plus-5.4 points overall with Curry on the court, and minus-5.5 points with him on the bench (per 48 minutes). Going back a year into the 2010-11 season, the Warriors as a team were minus-4.82 points when Curry was off the floor.
While this isn't conducive in showing his defensive weaknesses, Curry owned the sixth best PER (Player Efficiency Rating) of 21.23 amongst point guards when he did play, according to John Hollinger of ESPN. Go back a year and he was seventh with a PER of 19.46.
Even with the supposed defensive additions of Andrew Bogut and Jarret Jack, the new low-post presence of Carl Landry and super improvements from Klay Thompson, according to Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News, there is no more important cog on the roster than the sharpshooter from Davidson.
The issue with the Warriors' collection of wings and forwards is that none of them are able to attack the rim. Curry will hopefully be given the liberty to run the offense through himself and big man Andrew Bogut. With sharpshooters Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes manning the wing and David Lee working effortlessly, there may not be a more dangerous and versatile offensive team in the West outside of the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
As for the future? The man himself is already advising the Warriors to sign him to an extension before he hits the open market. If guys like Brook Lopez are getting max contracts, who's to say Curry won't get offered if he stays healthy?
But as for the present, he remains the most integral aspect in getting the Warriors to the postseason. Whatever comes after will have to wait.
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