Curry is still the superb shooter he has always been, but the rest of his game has evolved. His defense is greatly improved and he works his tail off on that end. He has become a very effective point guard and runs screen-and-roll well. He is the straw that stirs the drink for a very good Warriors team.
This is also where Curry’s candidacy gets a little complicated. The player I believe was awarded Curry’s spot was teammate David Lee.
Lee is a very good player having one of the better seasons of his career. He has improved defensively, but – as he admitted to us on Sheridan Hoops Radio – attributes that to the presence of Carl Landry playing next to him, which shouldn’t be held against him. What does get held against him – through no fault of his own – is that he plays in a conference with a lot of very good players.
When I looked at Curry’s candidacy, I looked at three possible candidates for him to replace – Lee, Zach Randolph and LaMarcus Aldridge, all power forwards.
Although Randolph hasn’t been great lately, he was outstanding in Memphis’ early season success and is ultimately deserving. To me, Aldridge is the most underrated player in the league. Portland is a very thin team. Many overrate Damian Lillard because he is so dazzling for a rookie, but a ton is on Aldridge’s shoulders and he has this team hanging around for a playoff spot. For the Warriors, that player is Curry. Lee has played great, but he’s not the center of his team’s universe the way the Randolph, Aldridge and Curry are.
There also has been a ton of complaining about Dwight Howard being voted to start as a West “frontcourt player,” going as far as to say that Howard doesn’t even belong in the game. Not only does Howard belong, he deserves to start.
Howard has spoiled us for many years by playing at a ridiculously high level, especially on the defensive end. Because he rushed his return from back surgery, he has visibly not been himself athletically. Yet, he has still been very effective.
His defense hasn’t been superhuman as in the past but it still has been very good, ranking fifth in blocked shots and first in rebounds. Howard’s track record as a superstar – and an immature jerk – is such that a cut below that is considered to be horrible. In reality, he has still been better than most and still extremely All-Star worthy. The team that has him next season will be very pleased.
Brian Geltzeiler is the executive producer and co-host of SheridanHoops Radio, and the editor of hoopcritic.com. His father, Burt, was an elite college basketball player for Newark Rutgers in the late 1940s and was drafted by the Tri-City Hawks (now Atlanta) in 1950 by GM Red Auerbach. You can follow Brian, who lives in Livingston, N.J. with his wife and 4 children, on Twitter.