Should Steph Curry win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award?

Steph Curry

I’ve been watching a lot of Donald Trump speeches lately (not by choice), so like our future president, I’m just going to come right out and say something stupid off the top of my head:

I don’t think Stephen Curry is real.

I think he’s an Old Spice commercial, tricking all of us into thinking he’s actually doing the things he’s doing on the court.

Think about it for a second. It’s brilliant product placement, really.

The man is cashing 40-foot shots on a routine basis. He’s deadly from half court. You literally have to be concerned about guarding him from the opposite free throw line.

old spice guyThis is not to mention normal three-pointers, which he makes look like Pop-A-Shot shots. He’s shooting a career-high 46% from three, and has now made one in 128 consecutive games, a new NBA record.

I can just see the commercial now:

(Curry casually cashing J’s from the opposite low block)

European man’s voice: “A wise man once said, ‘Missing shots is basketball’s way of saying, ‘Hey. Slow down. You need a break.’ But thanks to Old Spice, the basketball gods are finally shutting up and letting Steph Curry live.”

(Cuts to Curry hitting a 3 in someone’s eye while reading The Iliad).

European man: “Is there a limit to how much improving one man can improve in his life?”

“How will we know if he’s gone too far?”

(Cuts to Curry draining threes from outer space)

“Why did the Minnesota Timberwolves select two point guards ahead of Curry in the 2009 draft?”

(Cuts to still photograph of David Kahn).

“I shall find the answers to these questions.”

(Dramatic music plays while Curry pantses LeBron, jumps over him in slow-motion, and drains a 74-footer. He turns to the crowd, his head explodes, Terry Crews pops out, screams and flexes his muscles while the Old Spice jingle plays on the JumboTron).

End of commercial.

I’ll give you a second to let that sink in.

Now, how do we know that the 2015-16 NBA season isn’t just an elaborate set-up for this Old Spice commercial?

You see what I’m saying?

It’s a legitimate theory. So, to find out if Steph Curry is real, we must turn to science. Where’s ESPN’s John Brinkus when you need him?

By our calculations, at the rate he’s going, Curry will be doing the following things this time next year:

Speaking Swahili, doing Rubik’s cubes on the bench, teaching a marine biology class, baking even better blueberry banana mini muffins than your mom makes, playing on the PGA Tour, pitching for the Chicago White Sox, becoming a Pro-Bowl punter, writing a scientific paper on the impact of gravitational waves, starring in a hit musical, solving climate change, and…draining threes from 50 feet with his left hand.

If he does all of that, he just might appear in the Most Improved Player Rankings for a record fourth time.

You know…all of this talk about Curry makes me wonder what’s possible in my own life.

(European accent): Is there a limit to how much writing I can write with my–oh, what’s that? Shut up now? Right. Got it.


On to the rankings.

Stephen Curry

warriors small logo1. Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors: Two facts about Curry this season make his candidacy legit: First, his scoring numbers have increased in the year after an MVP season at a higher rate than anyone in league history (he’s at 30.4 ppg this year; 23.8 last year). Larry Bird is second on that list, improving from 24.2 to 28.7 in 1985-86. Bird won the MVP both years. Second, Steph has already had ten 40-point games this season. He had nine career such games coming into this season. Like MJ said: limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.

Portland Trail Blazers

blazers small logo2. CJ McCollum, G, Portland Trail Blazers: The kid from Lehigh has gone off like Curry since the All-Star break, putting up 21, 31, 34 and 20 points in four games while his team went 3-1. He and Damian Lillard are legitimately becoming one of the best backcourts in the league, and because people are held back by limits and body odor and stuff, he’s probably a lock to win this award in real life.


Kawhi Leonard

spurs small logo3. Kawhi Leonard, F, San Antonio Spurs: Lost in all of the Curry-mania is Kawhi, who’s quietly (does he do anything loudly?) becoming a a non-Steph Curry MVP candidate. He’s averaging 20.3 ppg, up from 16.5 last season, shooting a career-high 48% from three (No. 1 in the league, and yes-better than Curry), and has even upped his free throw percentage to 88 percent. No wonder the Spurs are 49-9.

Draymond Green

warriors small logo4. Draymond Green, F, Golden State Warriors: Is there a limit to how many Warriors that can appear in the Most Improved Rankings? OK, I’ll stop. But seriously, want to know why Golden State is 52-5? It’s that they’re the defending champs, and two of their guys are on this list. Draymond is up to 9.6 boards per game and 7.3 assists (almost double his output last year). He’s also shooting 49% from the field and 40% from three.


Denver Nuggets5. Will Barton, G, Denver Nuggets: You may not think his name belongs on this list, but Barton has actually become one of the best fourth-quarter scorers in the NBA. He’s averaging 19.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per-36 minutes, and is pretty much the team’s go-to-guy at the end of games. He’s still coming off the bench, but that’s just putting him in position to win the Sixth Man award, which could go to a guy on a losing team for the first time since 1994. Steph Curry’s dad did it back then. No limits.


Kels Dayton is a freelance writer whose work has also appeared in SLAM Magazine. You can check out more of his work at and Follow him on Twitter @KelsDayton.


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