I Hate That I Love Steph Curry

Steph Curry doesn’t care about you. He doesn’t care about your favorite NBA team, or your favorite NBA team’s best player, or their second through fifteenth best player. Steph Curry doesn’t respect your defensive tenacity. In fact, he overtly disrespects it. Steph Curry doesn’t believe he’s guardable, probably because he isn’t. And last night, Steph Curry dropped the most disrespectful 51 points I’ve ever seen in an NBA game. Here’s four and a half minutes of Steph Curry bludgeoning the Washington Wizards over the head.

In the interest of transparency, I have to be honest. I hate Steph Curry. I hate the way his mouth guard hangs out of the side of his mouth, I hate the antics with Riley Curry during postgame pressers, and more than anything I hate the way he’s completely unfair on the basketball court. But damn if he isn’t trying to get me to like him. I can’t remember the last time I watched a player show such errant disrespect for another team’s defense. Curry ran the ball up court into a TRIPLE TEAM, and still pulled up from 28 feet and nailed it in all of their eyeballs. John Wall was in Steph’s jersey at the freaking hash mark, and Steph shot it right over the hand in his face. The net didn’t even move.

I’m really having a hard time coming to grips with how difficult it is to not like Steph. The more I watch him play the more I have to appreciate we may never see this again. This isn’t like when Kobe Bryant scored 81 points on 46 shots and 20 free throw attempts. This isn’t like Kobe’s career ending 60 points on 22-of-50 shooting. This is something completely different. When Kobe would score 50, he did it on volume, and he did it by forcing his team to give him the ball. Steph does this efficiently, and he’s not even getting fouled. 

In NBA history, there have only been 5 players to score at least 51 points while firing 24 or fewer shots. Willie Burton did it for the 76ers in 1994 on just 19 shot attempts (the fewest) but he shot from the charity stripe 28 times. Wilt Chamberlain did it, also for the Sixers, in 1967, before the 3 point shot existed. Wilt hammered home 20-of-23 attempts from the field, and added 13 free throws on 26 attempts. Most recently, Jimmy Butler did it two seasons ago for the Bulls, on 15-of-24 with one three pointer and 22-of-23 from the free throw line. Obviously, these guys were on fire, but they also took advantage of the calls they were getting, drove the lane a lot more often, and hit their free throws. Steph had the fewest free throw attempts in a 51 point, 24 shot affair with only TEN. Steph Curry is so much better than you, he doesn’t even care if you foul him.

This game only adds to a molten hot start to the season for the Chef. In five games this year, Steph is averaging a whopping 34.6 points while shooting 55% from the field and 52.4% from three point land. Steph Curry is the only player in NBA history to average those numbers through five games while shooting at least 50 three pointers. In short, this is by far the greatest shooting start to a season in the history of the NBA.

I’m not sure if I hate Steph Curry anymore. I’ve never seen anything like this. What I saw last night was so spectacularly fun to watch, I had to love it. Steph has beaten me down the same way he punishes those with the audacity to attempt to guard him. It might come at the expense of my favorite NBA teams, and players, but I have to love what I’m seeing from Curry this year. Because we may never see this again.

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