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Dust off the Throne for the New King of Basketball

Steph Curry vs LeBron

By Shaine Jackson, Activist Staff
On December 9, 2015

This a weird situation we're in now. Steph Curry is the best player in the NBA, but LeBron James is the best player in the world. Here's the kicker: LeBron plays in the NBA with Curry. What I'm saying is something doesn’t add up here. You can't be number one and number two.

Whether LeBron is better than Michael Jordan is a constant discussion. I'll end that discussion right now by saying LeBron is better at the game of basketball than Jordan. Simply put there's no skill Jordan could do on the court that LeBron can't do just as well or better.  What you can't account for is Jordan's will to win, hence his 6-0 Finals record.  That being said Jordan is still the best man to play the game of basketball as of right now. A discussion that hasn't been had is if Curry is better than Jordan. That conversation will probably never happen. So you see the dilemma has appeared again, Curry may be in the same paragraph as Jordan but LeBron is in the same sentence. So how is Steph in this competition or debate about being the  best player ever?

The reason why this debate can happen now is that LeBron is declining the same way everyone declines in skill. You can’t fight time, and LeBron has spent a lot of time playing basketball. At the beginning of the season there were only 8 players to play more minutes than LeBron. So is it crazy for a 30 year old man who’s spent roughly around 750 hours playing a professional basketball games not practice just games to be tired? Even when Jordan was playing his forgettable years for the Wizards, he was still averaging 20 points. The difference is Jordan had multiple breaks in his career to pursue baseball and golf. LeBron took a 10 day break last year, and that helped him tally up 13 missed games, a career high. This was the same year LeBron lead a crippled Cavaliers team to the NBA Finals where he played so well that he received votes for MVP while being on the losing team. You see both Jordan and LeBron are so good at basketball their fall isn't a fall from the moon to earth; it's closer to a fall from heaven to earth. The thing is they never make it to earth; honestly they’ll probably never make it to the moon. Steph is on the opposite end of this falling analogy as he's figuratively on his way to heaven as this is being written. Right now LeBron and Steph are in the same spot as basketball players, but Steph will soon be looking down as LeBron very very slowly continues to descend.

I can't prove it with reliable data but LeBron is in his decline. Statistically there's been a drop off however it's so minor that it's not even important to really note. I'm not the only one to see this decline in LeBron; many sport journalist have spoke on it. But Amin El-Hassen summarized it best on the November 20th episode of Zach Lowe's podcast. Mr. El-Hassen explained, “LeBron started his decline but he’s so great at the time this is, I would say the 3rd year of the Big 3 era in Miami...Because he's so head and shoulders above everybody else it's unnoticeable.” He would go on to use a great analogy where explains LeBron was able to trot in some games like a player who hit a home run. He explained he didn't need to give full effort, but now he does but he can’t because “he can't go all out all the time because his body will not allow for it.”

On the other hand Steph’s rise has everything to do with his ability to stay healthy and get the greenlight from coaching to shoot his shots. You can find the notes from NBA General Managers who expressed their belief in Curry’s shooting ability during the time of the draft, but they also expressed their concerns with his fragile frame. For a while they were right. Curry played on ankles that would rolled if he stepped on a penny. Now with Golden States improved medical faculty along with the improvement in his play, he now has a stronger ankle and less chance of injuring it by not being needed to play in a majority of 4th quarters. Curry’s ability to sit 4th quarters also has to do with his entire team's play, but it helps when you have games where you score 40 points in 3 quarters. Most of those points come from outside the arc where Curry makes a ridiculous 43.1% of his 3 point shots at home and he makes a cool 50.4% on the road. That’s a lot of points when you’re making on average 5-6 threes a game depending on where your playing. Not only is he scary to play anywhere, but he’s scary to play anytime as he averages around 33 points a game with 0 days rest.

Steph’s numbers are enough to warrant the conversation for best basketball player alive. It helps when the previous best player is slowly entering his worse years as you’re entering your best. However why we're anointing Steph as the best player may not have as much to do with him as I originally thought. After some deep consideration, I realized we've been looking for the new LeBron ever since we found LeBron. We anointed LeBron as "The Chosen One" yet we never wanted him to have his kingdom. He had to take his kingdom by force, but then as his citizens we raised hell because he didn't deliver us gold. So he left his urban kingdom of Cleveland, and went to fluorescent Miami and built a new kingdom where he brought them gold not once but twice. Since LeBron’s entered the league we’ve kept Kobe Bryant at the top until we couldn't anymore, then Kevin Durant supposedly eclipsed him until Durant could never made it back to the finals, and now all of sudden Steph Curry has shown up breaking all the shooting records he can find. It’s fitting Steph Curry has taken  the title best in the world, because he did something all the wannabe’s we anointed couldn't do and that’s beat LeBron when it counted.


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