As much as the NBA is a sport, there remains a certain "entertainment" factor that is integral to the business side. There is a multitude of players that help in that department, but Stephen Curry is the leading candidate at this point.
Most of the time, entertainment and skill are separate entities. That isn't to say some players aren't talented, but some are more renowned for their eccentricities and entertainment factor than for their actual skill.
The Miami Heat's Chris Andersen is a prime example. His colorful array of seemingly endless tattoos and his slick mohawk combine to make him an unmissable character. Andersen's shot blocking and athletic dunks add to this, making him one of the more entertaining players in the NBA.
Curry might look like an average guy walking around Oakland, sans an alarming haircut or extensive body art. But when he steps onto the court, Curry becomes the forerunner in playing entertaining basketball.
His showy ball-handling is the first and foremost component that leads to all that follows. As seen in the video above, Curry's ability to change direction in a flash leaves defenders stumbling. Curry is one of the top point guards at his position, so it's seemingly expected in some regard. Yet the extent that Curry is able to command the basketball is something to marvel at.
He's able to translate that to distributing the ball as well, averaging 9.3 assists per game this season. Curry does turn the ball over 4.2 times per game; however, that's indicative of the tempo at which the Golden State Warriors play. The play shown in the video above showcases just that, in addition to Curry's ability to create at such speed. It does have something to do with Curry's decision-making, though, but he can likely improve on this over time.
Curry already took some heat for it back in November from head coach Mark Jackson, with Jackson saying "that's unacceptable to me as his coach," courtesy of CSNBayArea.com. Curry went on to admit he needed to play "smarter."
Stephen Curry is averaging 24+ pts, 9+ asts & 4+ rebs. Only 2 players have posted those numbers in a season: Jerry West & Oscar Robertson— GSWStats (@gswstats) December 18, 2013
He's remained fairly consistent despite upping his turnovers from 3.2 per game last month to 4.7 through December. Curry's dropping 10.1 assists compared to November's output of 8.8, so a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio isn't terrible.
It's safe to say most teams would prefer Curry to pass, as his shooting is unstoppable. He's quickly making a case for being one of the top shooters in NBA history, already having set a record for most three-point shots made in a season at 272 (last season).
Surprisingly, Curry is actually a much better shooter off the dribble than he is as a standalone sniper. According to NBA.com, Curry shoots just 30.6 percent on jump shots (33.1 percent on three-point attempts).
Yet as a shooter off-the-dribble (theoretically much more difficult), Curry shoots 57.5 on pull-up jumpers. His 54.2 percent from three in the same situation makes containing him a priority, especially on the fast break.
As seen above, Curry is infuriatingly difficult to contain when shooting off-the-dribble or off screens. His shot is up almost instantly, and combined with his speed makes Curry's scoring both entertaining and seemingly impossible to defend consistently.
Is Stephen Curry one of the most exciting players in the NBA?
Curry's jumper could easily be dubbed "the fastest gun in the West," as his release transitions to a follow-through in mere seconds. NBA fans around the world appreciate different aspects, whether it's dunking, shot blocking or flashy passing. Shooting is another popular facet fans hone in on, and Curry is second to none in terms of exciting execution.
In retrospect, the combination of all of these offensive skills makes Curry one of the top scorers in the league. And in turn, he is one of the most entertaining as well.
Another area of expertise that is extremely entertaining is the "clutch" factor. When a player's team needs a bucket, his ability to come through late in games to secure victories can make or break how said player is perceived from fans.
Curry, as seen below against the Dallas Mavericks, brought his team back with clutch (not to mention exciting) plays. He topped it all off with the game-winning jumper, which is potentially the most exciting play in all of basketball.
Few players can execute passing, dribbling and shooting with such speed. Curry is still in just his fifth NBA season, but he is already on track to be a memorable player when it's all said and done.
Much like Allen Iverson was a fan favorite, mostly because of his reckless abandon and speed with the ball, so too is Curry. He might not have the notable appearance Iverson did, but you can bet Curry is at the top, along with the most entertaining players the league has to offer.