Stephen Curry. LeBron James. Kevin Durant.
It may seem like one of these things is not like the others, but by the end of the 2013 playoffs it won’t be that strange to hear the sharpshooting Warriors guard mentioned in the same breath as the NBA’s best.
Curry willed the six-seeded Warriors past the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, and turned in a 44-point performance in a double overtime loss in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal on Monday.
Those following the NBA closely already know the record-setting year Stephen Curry had. He set a record for 3-pointers in a season with 272, bettering anything Ray Allen or Reggie Miller has ever done.
To beat the record, Curry had to make up some ground late in the year, hitting 19 3-pointers in the final three games.
“The one thing I know about Steph Curry — he’s not afraid when the lights are brightest,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.
For the Warriors the emergence of Stephen Curry has been a fulfilling process. Drafted No. 7 overall in 2009, the son of former NBA player Del Curry turned in a sensational rookie year before struggling with injuries in the next two years.
Stephen Curry broke out in 2013. He led the Warriors to only the team’s second playoff berth in the last 19 seasons, coming up clutch in some of the biggest games of the year.
Curry had a career-high 54 points under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden on February 27, though the Warriors lost to the Knicks. He also hit for 47 points in a loss to the Lakers late in the year.
He now has the team in position for a potential playoff upset. Though the Warriors dropped Game 1, the Spurs are an older team that has been prone to playoff collapses of late, especially against an upstate like Golden State.
No matter what the Warriors do the rest of the playoffs, the team has a bright future with Stephen Curry.