The last few days have led to multiple accusations about two people being the next equivalent to the league’s back-to-back Most Valuable Player award winner.
LaVar Ball, father of UCLA stand-out Lonzo Ball proclaimed, “I have the utmost confidence in what my boy is doing. He’s better than Steph Curry to me. Put Steph Curry on UCLA’s team right now and put my boy on Golden State and watch what happens.”
So there’s that, but a similar comment came out this weekend following the Pelicans-Kings swap.
A source close to Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé said that “Vivek thinks Buddy [Hield] has Steph Curry potential.”
I want take a minute and reject the notion that either of these players share any sort of resemblance to Steph Curry’s game.
Lonzo Ball is playing college basketball at the moment, but his dad thinks he’s better than Steph Curry; the comment alone makes him worse than Steph Curry, simply because Curry’s father, former NBA standout Dell Curry, has never opened his mouth about how his kid is better than any other player.
Second of all, Lonzo Ball isn’t an elite scoring talent. While, he is a talented point guard as a whole, he probably ranks out as a better passer than a shooter.
Maybe in the nature of the match-up we should compare the college stats of Ball and Curry.
While Lonzo Ball of UCLA sits at 15.4 PPG, 6.1 RBD, and 7.6 AST, Curry finished his college career at Davidson with averages of 25.3 PPG, 4.5 RBD, and 3.7 AST.
Overall, yeah Ball does have better averages on the boards and as a play creator, but the fact that Steph averaged almost 10 points more than Ball as a college scorer is glaring.
This shouldn’t be taken as a knock to Curry, because I think very highly of him, but the main part of his game is his ability to put the basketball through the rim, so averaging a full 10 less makes for a very questionable equivalence.
In addition, one of the things that adds to the Curry legacy was his rise from Davidson, a lower-tier Division I college basketball program, to then being drafted at 7th, to becoming an NBA superstar.
Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball will be in the top-3 in the NBA Draft at a top-tier NCAA squad, so it’s a little skewed to compare the two.
Now, it’s easy to compare Curry to Hield, as Hield came into the 2016 Draft as the 6th-overall selection, impecably close to Curry’s 7th in 2009. For this portion, let’s go ahead and take a peak at Curry’s rookie stats compared to Hield.
Buddy Hield (2016-2017): 8.6 PPG, 1.4 AST, 2.9 RBD | 39.2% FG%, 36.9% 3P%, 87.9% FT%
Steph Curry (2009-2010): 17.5 PPG, 5.9 AST, 4.5 RBD | 46.2% FG%, 43.7% 3P%, 88.5% FT%
Curry kicks the heck out the Hield and it’s not even close. Hield is just not as good as Curry as it stands and in watching him, it’s hard to see any sort of trajectory that would allow him to even up to that standard.
Comparing Steph to Buddy Hield isn’t a hair match-up anyway, because comparing Steph Curry to anyone isn’t a fair match-up; there can only be one Steph Curry.
Honestly, it’s kind of hard to even break all of this down, because Curry is so unique.
Shot selection and the three-point field goal percentage are key figures in today’s NBA game. The revolution of the guard position, as we’ve seen guys like James Harden and Kyrie Irving evolve from the standard passer roles to the scorer-creaters of the modern position are a result of Curry.
From behind the arc, Steph shoots a career 43.9% with an average of 22.9 PPG. Curry’s ability to score the ball is remarkable.
In addition, Curry averages 6.8 assists per contest, which is a very solid number for such a resounding scorer.
The NBA has changed around the young guard; his game has forced the entire league to change their outlook on winning basketball games.
Basically, I just wanted a way to say that LaVar Ball and Vivek Ranadivé were wrong about Curry.