We as Warrior fans savor the opportunities when we get to see Stephen Curry go head-to-head against elite PGs of the league. Seeing how our (tentative) face of the franchise matches up now is indicative of our future. It’s almost like a magic eight ball.
But Stephen Curry against fellow sophomore in Milwaukee Bucks’s PG Brandon Jennings, who has had way more of a hyped career dating back to high school, to me is not a match up of the ages. Nor do I see it as indicative of where Curry stands as a point guard relative to the rest of the point guards in the league. For one, both of their respective teams are not very good. So that’s about as exciting as bragging rights over a 49ers vs. Raiders cross-Bay rivalry. But records aside, Jennings, in my opinion, is just way more one-dimensional of a player than the type of skill sets that Curry brings to the Warriors and is demanded of him by his team.
Just by looking at the stats, Jennings’ shooting statistics across the board are remarkably worse. But aside from that, Jennings is not a very good distributor. Granted, he’s averages about the same amount of assists as Stephen Curry (both in the upper 5s). But for the last three months of the 09-10 season, Curry averaged over 7 assists a game and 8 assists in the last months alone.
Of course, these easy stats don’t tell enough. Joey Whelan of HoopSpeak.com, using advanced stats, argues that Jennings’ presence as a scorer is most important to his team in the wins column than when he operates as a traditional point guard. In fact, Brandon Jennings, Whelan argues, is in the same ball park as elite point guards like Rajon Rondo and Tony Parker when it comes to efficiency in wins. This is evidence, for Whelan, of how “vital” Jennings is to his team, considering the less stellar and often injured surrounding cast.
The stats I don’t understand, but I see the legitimacy in Whelan’s arguments. Of course, wins absolutely matter in the end. Curry’s sexy stat-line doesn’t mean if the Warriors continue to lose (see Monta Ellis’ all-star reserve chances). But wins aside, the matchup is one of a scorer versus a point guard that, to me, involves much more quarterbacking (court vision, getting teammates involved, running the offense, etc). Granted Curry hasn’t been great at that this season. But there are plenty of players around the league — many who are lefties interestingly — whose value is purely determinate of their ability to score in bunches off the bench: CJ Miles of the Utah Jazz and Reggie Williams of the Golden State Warriors. Shooting hand coincidence aside, Brandon Jennings is another CJ Miles to me, which isn’t a bad thing. With that said, isn’t comparing the two guards like comparing apples to oranges?
Curry has many nice things to say about Jennings and looks forward to the matchup. To further discredit my own argument, Jennings currently owns this matchup in every which way possible: wins and stats. Are you looking forward to tonight’s matchup? Curry definitely is:
“He’s quick and crafty with the ball,” Curry said. “He’s a lefty that can get into the cracks of the paint, and he’s starting to shoot the ball very well. He’s the total package and he’s always moving, always active, and I have to make sure I know where he is at all times.”