College, NBA, NBA Draft / Mar 27, 2009 / 12:07 pm

To Stephen Curry: Take the Money and Run

Stephen Curry
Yesterday’s Winston-Salem Journal had a piece on Stephen Curry and his plans on entering this summer’s NBA Draft (“I’m 50 percent in the middle,” Steph says in the interview). Here’s my advice to Steph: Take the guaranteed NBA (probable) Lottery money and run because it’s not going to last long.

It’s not that I don’t love Steph’s game, because I do. The ratchet is crazy, the range is even crazier, and he’s one of the two or three bona fide superstars in all of college basketball. Unfortunately that doesn’t make him an NBA player. Could he be an NBA bit player, a situational specialist, who can probably hang around for a while and collect checks because of shooting ability? Definitely. A future star worthy of the Lottery? No way.

The guys in the office kill me and call me a hater because of my stance on Steph, but that’s just the reality of the situation. It was never more clear to me than the other night during the Davidson/St, Mary’s NIT game on ESPN when I was watching Steph and another guy kind of in his same situation, Patty Mills, running amok against mid-major defenders. They were both doing their thing – sort of – against competition not even close to what they’d see in NBA summer league games. For his part, Steph poured in 26, albeit on 27 shots.

For a guy who shoots a ton of threes, Curry clocked in at a solid 45% from the field this season. But when he goes against tougher competition, he becomes much more of a volume shooter. Check out his lines against top squads this season:

vs. NC State: 15-33
vs. West Virginia: 9-27
vs. Purdue: 5-26
vs. College of Charleston (three meetings): 11-25, 7-22, 5-18
vs. Duke: 10-22
vs. Butler: 6-23
vs. St. Mary’s: 11-27

This is not to ignore the 44-point blitzkrieg he put on Oklahoma at the start of the season, but even then, he shot just 6-15 from the floor, earning a big chunk of his points at the foul line. True, every single night Steph is the main focus of the other team’s defense, but volume shooting on the next level for an undersized (he’s listed at 6-3 which means he’s probably closer to 6-2 or 6-1) shoot-first point guard (which is what he will have to play in the League) doesn’t really work unless you’re Allen Iverson.

And keep in mind that these shooting numbers are coming with college athletes defending him. Discovering ways of getting buckets on Appalachian State’s backcourt is a whole lot different than doing the same against an NBA backcourt, even if we’re talking about second- and third-tier NBA guards like Kyle Lowry and Jarrett Jack.

An NBA scout who has long been one of my go-to sources for player analysis always asks the following questions when I hit him about whether or not Player X can play in the League: “What does he do better than most other guys in the NBA? If you’re asking this question, it probably means he’s going to be a backup, so how does he match up with players he’d be facing? Who can he guard?”

Asking those about Curry, the answers to the first question are A) He can shoot/manufacture points better than most bench players he’d be facing and B) he’s shown that he’s an above-average passer. So how does he match up against other backups? Can he guard the Keyon Doolings, Nate Robinsons and Jason Terrys of the NBA? I’m not so sure that he can. Maybe, maybe not. Conversely, can they guard him? Maybe, maybe not.

The point of all of this is that there are a lot more questions than answers about Stephen Curry on the next level, much more so than the other players, even in a weak 2009 draft class, projected to go in the Lottery. DraftExpress has Curry going eighth, NBADraft.net (which has Steph in the 2010 NBA Draft) has him going 17th and ESPN.com’s Lottery Generator has him consistently going top 10.

The bottom line is that if Steph gets word that he will most likely be a lottery pick this year, he needs to go. I know that people will say that he doesn’t need the money because of his dad and that he should stay and develop for one more year to improve his stock. To that I say I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to live off his dad’s money and if he comes back, no matter how many 40-spots he puts up against mid-major comp, I guarantee we will be having this same conversation about his NBA stock this time next year.

If he decides to come back to school, great. I’d be more than happy to watch him get buckets in college next season. Maybe I’m wrong (it’s happened before), but if there’s Lottery money and security for a guy who most likely is Eddie House on the next level, he needs to take the money and run.

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  • E$

    He will be in the D-Leauge, he not ready

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qQbIwHELz0

  • hahns

    agreed- he should definitely declare.

  • bab

    good read.

  • d

    I think you really have to look back at what he did last year. Didn’t they put him in a PG role this year? That mean he had the ball in his hands a lot more, as opposed to last year when he could roam around and find his spot. So he was undoubtedly swarmed a lot more and really had to try and create his own shot off of the dribble. I doubt he’d get drafted at a PG in the L.

    But look at guys like Mayo or Gordon, who I personally thought were going to be busts. They’ve been really good as rooks. Granted Mayo isn’t undersized, but both he and Gordon had ups and downs in college. And they both had a license to chuck. I think it all depends where Steph goes and what role he’s supposed to fit. Could be an Acie Law, but could be a legit player. You never really know till they get there.

  • Patrick Cassidy

    @ d –

    I totally agree that you never know until a guy gets there and has a chance to prove himself. And if he goes, I hope he succeeds because he’s entertaining as hell to watch and is a genuinely good dude.

  • E$

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4yobH-Wluk

    Przybilla has a death wish

  • Steve A

    Dead on. Whether he deserves big money or not, he will get paid more now than next year.

  • Brown

    I’d declare. He’s not going to go any higher if he stays in school and declares next year. I don’t see his game improving if he stays in college. So long as a team doesn’t draft him too high and put unfair expectations on him, he’ll get a chance to develop in the NBA. Eddie House is a great example of the role he could play.

  • Ursher

    Dime, how can yall complain about the quality of the game one day, and then tell kids who aren’t ready for the league to “take the money and run”?

  • doc

    He aint on mayo or Gordon level though.At best he’ll be a Boobie Gibson.At worst he’ll be over here fucking these Milan bitches.

  • Celts Fan

    Agree with everything in this article PC. That’s exactly how I see him too – as a bench scorer. That’s a valuable role, but not one you’re shooting to fill with a lottery pick.

  • Patrick Cassidy

    @ Ursher –

    When have we complained about the quality of the game?

  • Jim

    I’m with PC on this, too. I hope I’m wrong because I like him and his game, but he doesn’t have an NBA body and I don’t think he can guard anybody.

    /tj How does Pryz have a death wish? Supposedly he knows how to fight, and all we’ve seen from Shaq is two ridiculous haymakers that didn’t land.

  • bobbo

    Yep, Curry and Hansbrough will be the steals of the draft.

    It’s around this time of year that players with “ridiculous upsides” (aka highlight reel dunks) rise in the mock drafts while players with accomplishments get dissed. Who cares whether he didn’t play well against West Virginia. Measure that against what he did last year.

  • e

    i dont care what anybody says hansborough will be a 10pt 10 rebound guy in the leaugue at best i just dont feel his game these bigs in college are nothing compared to what he will face in the L. curry will be one of those guys to get you like good buckets off the bench and theyll run alot of screens for him

  • http://www.nba.com Jay

    Good read and very valid points. But you mentioned Jason Terry in the article, who is a player I think Stephen has a chance to become. Jet is listed as 6’2″, is a far better scorer than playmaker, and is an above average passer.

    I think the comparison to Jet is far more accurate than to Eddie House, whose game is ENTIRELY reliant on jacking shots, while Curry at least has some point guard skills.

  • E$

    hansborough, will be the twinkie of the “L” – soft & yellow

  • Taj

    Good article..

    I think Steph will be aight in the League.. His dad stuck around for a few years, so if he patterns his game after that and gets into an uptempo system where he can run the floor, catch, pull up & fire he’ll be good! His game reminds me alot of Kyle Korver

  • POPPI GEE

    I do think the kid should go ahead and go now, but I think he will do a lot better than most expect.

    All size and who is defending him aside. The boy can flat out shoot and create his own shot.

    With the right coach and system he can be a starter and do well, which is what I hope and expect.

    Worst thing that can happen is he gets Novack-ed!

  • Patrick Cassidy

    @ Jay –

    Good call on the Jason Terry thing. Makes me feel better about Steph’s NBA future.

    @ Taj –

    The difference between Steph, his dad and Korver is height. I think his dad and Korver are both a lot taller than Steph, which is a big deal for a spot-up shooter.

  • LA

    mike taylor can run circles around him. send curry to the d-league.

  • http://www.BigTmusic.com Balla

    Curry is proven. He has one thing most guys do not have when getting ready to come to the league and that is a HIGH basketball IQ. They only reason he’s been jackin’ these last two seasons is because he really had no supporting cast.

    I am going to make the same prediction about Curry as I did Lebron…I bet he has at least one 40 point game his rookie year. His skill level is on par with Allen Iverson’s and I think he is a better decision maker which would allow him to actually run the point and win games at the next level.

  • doc

    Skill level on par with AI?WOW.So he must be about to tear the league up.

  • doc

    Im sorry to let yall in on this secret but the truth is DJ Augutine would bust his ass.

  • doc

    Do yall really think Ty Lawson or Jonny Flyn couldnt average a quarter for Davidson.

  • the cynic

    He’ll have a better career then Eddie House, but Curry is nothing more then a mid-late/late first rounder or early second. Patty Mills owned Curry and Mills will be an NBA cabiler guard Curry will have to play against every night. I think he can have a career similar to his Dad’s career.

  • http://www.twitter.com/austinburton18 Austin Burton, “T.M.P.”

    @Pat & Jay — Terry initially made his mark with defense, though; that’s one reason he could even stay on the court to start putting up points. Is Curry’s D closer to Terry’s or closer to Redick?

  • Buck

    Curry & Mills should both go to the NBA if from the camps, it is indicated they will be 1st round picks.

    It will be hard for them to improve their skills in College against guards that are inferior to them where teams just double or triple team them and get them to give up the ball.

    All great players find ways to improve when they move up to the next level and I believe they will both do this.

    Buck

  • bobbo

    Yeah, Stephen Curry is probably two inches shorter than his father. BIG difference. HUGE. Please. Stephen Curry also can get his shot off quicker than most NBA guards, something not mentioned here.

    If he has the same kind of career his father had–16 seasons, with 11 where he averaged more than 10 ppg, nine where he shot better than 40% from downtown and 12 where he shot better than 80% from the free throw line, plus the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1994–he would deserve a HIGH lottery pick.

    How many players do you think have careers like that?

  • the cynic

    @bobbo

    that’s his ceiling though; good teams(who are bad at the time) use high lottery picks on much better players who could turn losers into winners(at least that’s the idea). Steph Curry will be a 20min a game rotation player IMO

  • http://www.BigTmusic.com Balla

    Doc, yes skill level on par with AI…you must have not seen Curry play. Difference between the two is, AI is stronger, attacks the rim more, and jumper appears to be more consistent.

    Don’t get skill level confused with intensity and passion. I think AI has every guard in the league beat on intensity and passion, which allows/drives him to score 8-15 more points a night than most guards.

    Did not say how Curry will impact the league his first season, but I do believe he will have at least one 40 point game (not like AI’s multiple 40 point games his rookie season).

  • E$

    Curry can’t stop anybody in the “L” – offense will only get you so far

  • the truth

    “if there’s Lottery money and security for a guy who most likely is Eddie House on the next level, he needs to take the money and run. ”

    - this pretty much sums up Curry’s NBA role.

    I think he should just go pro and finish his degree on the side. Then ride his NBA contract until his last one and just go into business or something. He’s rich anyway.

  • David Freeman

    One, who plays defense in the NBA anyway? Two, Patty Mills did not own Curry. Obviously you weren’t at the game.

  • buffaloballa

    curry’s not goin’ he’ll be the only player in the
    league whose teammates will be hitting on his moms…
    -REAL TALK-

  • joseph

    I don’t understnd why everyone says curry can’t play d??
    talk about bein a very underrated defender.. yea he is not nba build but curry finished in the top in the nation in steals.. I kno at one point he was 3rd in steals 1st in points n 7th in assists.. he had 9 steals his first game this year.. its not like he can’t go put on weight when he gets to the league, he has the quickness n I watched all his games this year, he has no problem stayin in front of people.. only person I saw him have trouble stayin in front of was patty mills.. but if any of yall watched the olympics, none of the usa team could stay in front of him either.. including chris paul n deron williams.. n kobe said he didn’t wanna guard him, he was to quick for him.. he’ll be good in the league, by his second year he’ll be startin..

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