...for your fantasy basketball team, perhaps.
Everyone has their strategy to how they want to draft players. Depending on where you draft, too, shapes your initial strategy. But like the NBA, I believe the philosophy exists in fantasy basketball that you can't win without a great point guard. So, which one to draft first? Something tells me Stephen Curry may leap frog Chris Paul and Deron Williams as THE elite point guard...of fantasy basketball.
Dime Magazine rates Stephen Curry as the number three point guard, behind Chris Paul and Deron Williams, when it comes to fantasy basketball.
3. Stephen Curry: The kid roared out of the gates of his NBA career last season and finished with top 12 value. The Warriors have shed many of its offensive weapons during the offseason, all but ensuring that Curry will continue to have the keys to his team's offense. He does it all, and if a sophomore surge takes place, watch out - Curry could finish 2010-11 as one of the five best fantasy players in the land.
Being a number three behind bonafide fantasy studs like Paul and Williams is already pretty great enough. BUT, I would go so far to say that you might want to make Curry the first point guard out the gates.
Why? Hometown love, of course. Just kidding.
We all saw how Curry managed to manufacture assists on a team that arguably was one of the least talented in the league last season (though a great bunch to root for!). Imagine what Curry's stats could have been like if Ronny Turiaf could catch passes and Anthony Tolliver actually had hops to throw down point blank shots. As it's been well-documented, Curry's stats increased over the course of the season and his assists went up, too. In the last month, he averaged almost 9 assists a game. He did this all without sacrificing Monta Ellis' scoring, which actually seem to make him a more efficient player as it reduced his turnovers, somewhat. Towards the end of last season (the Portland Trailblazer game in particular), Monta Ellis seemed to realize the benefits (to the team and to himself maybe) that Curry's floor vision can provide as he yielded ball-handling duties and let Curry sling passes to him for easy buckets. Ellis' fist pumps in that game clearly showed that him and Curry could co-exist.
While the arrival of David Lee and the emergence of Reggie Williams may hurt some Curry's rebounding and scoring, respectively, I would instead think that their skill-sets won't really affect Curry's stats too much. Curry managed to rebound at a very decent clip (5 rebounds a game over the last 3 months). The Warriors are not a great rebounding team, outside of David Lee. Dorell Wright might pick up some slack, but him (and Brandan Wright) are hardly durable guys and have yet to put together a consistent season. With Ekpe Udoh out until January, at the earliest, Curry's rebounding stats may be ever more inflated in the first few months.
As if that wasn't exciting enough, one of the things that point guards don't do very well and what Stephen Curry rarely does, is get to the line. BUT, Curry shoots nearly 90% from the line and even more alarming, averaged nearly 5 free throws a game in the last month whereas the month prior only barely averaged more than 1 free throw a game!
Clearly, Curry matches up with his counterparts in the shooting percentage, 3-point shooting percentage, and steals department as well. And of course, extrapolating conclusions of a previous seasons stats may have little bearing on a radically transformed line-up. But Curry (and probably Nellie's offensive schemes) show that he isn't just a one-trick pony putting up great scoring numbers (see Ricky Davis or Zach Randolph on many occasions).
But my assumptions about whether Chris Paul can regain his superstar form, especially with that poorly constructed squad with Mr. Inefficient Trevor Ariza sharing the headline, and to what extent Deron Williams has hit his ceiling, statistically, may allow Curry to become a top 5 ranking -- across all positions.
Call me a homer for all this hometown love. Of course Paul and Williams will get you what you what you need and they have seasons of experience to prove it. You can't front on that. But, part of fantasy sports is about taking risks and Curry may be THE ONE that has your competitors willing to sacrifice big chips later on in the season, moves that might put you over the top.