Why Stephen Curry Has Been the Golden State Warriors' MVP Thus Far

Ben FederCorrespondent IJanuary 22, 2014

Dec 12, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) dribbles during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Whether it is scoring 45 points, dishing out 12 assists or hitting game-winning shots, Stephen Curry has done it all for the Golden State Warriors. His versatility on offense and clutch play are what make Curry the Warriors’ MVP so far this season.

Curry burst onto the national scene last year when he carried the Warriors into the Western Conference Semifinals. 

Most will remember his third-quarter heroics. 

This year, Curry has had a remarkable first half as he has averaged 23.5 points per game, seventh highest in the NBA

More importantly, he has the Warriors holding the sixth playoff spot with a 26-17 record. 

Curry’s ability to take over games without putting up huge points is what makes him such a valuable asset.

Despite being arguably the league’s most lethal shooter, Curry averages 9.2 assists per game, 2.3 higher than last season. His 18 double-doubles on the season rank him second in the NBA among point guards, behind only Chris Paul.

Simply put, Curry is the engine that makes the Warriors’ offense go.

It is no coincidence that during the Warriors’ 10-game winning streak last month, he averaged 18.6 points and 10 assists. 

He knows how to distribute the ball and get other players involved. 

Of the 331 field goals that forward David Lee has made this year, 110 came off a Curry assist. 

Defending Curry is no easy task. As easily as he can sink a 25-foot three-pointer in your face, he can blow by you for the easy layup. 

On top of that, Curry wants the ball in his hands late in the game.

According to NBA.com, Curry averages 7.6 fourth-quarter points per game, 2.6 more than he does in the first quarter

This season, he’s already hit two game-winners.

Some may argue that Lee or fellow sharpshooter Klay Thompson are the Warriors’ MVPs thus far.

While there’s no denying that Lee is a double-double machine and is the heart of the team, the Warriors proved last postseason that they can win without him. 

Winning without Curry? That’s tough to imagine.

In the three games that Curry has missed this season, the Warriors are 0-3. 

Thompson’s hot streaks make him an interesting candidate for Warriors' MVP.

Some nights he looks like he just won’t miss a shot. 

In the season opener, Thompson led the Warriors with 38 points on 15-of-19 shooting. 

Though Thompson is as sweet-shooting as they come some nights, he’s been inconsistent against some of the NBA’s top teams.

In two games against the Spurs this season, Thompson averaged 12 points while shooting just 32.4 percent. In two losses to the Rockets, Thompson posted a combined 20 points.

While Thompson has struggled against elite teams, Curry has thrived.

January 2 was the perfect example of this, when the Warriors traveled to Miami to take on the defending champs.

Despite the Heat’s top-10 defense, Curry went off to the tune of 36 points, including 8-of-15 from beyond the arc. The Warriors won 123-114 and Curry was given high praise by King James:

While the Warriors are loaded with talent, Curry is their most indispensable player. 

If the Warriors want to make a deep run in the playoffs, they will have to rely on their star point guard to carry the team.

He will be the difference between merely reaching the playoffs and possibly having a shot at the title.  

How far will he guide the Warriors this season?