Curry or Lin?
The point guard position for the Warriors has been all but locked down by Stephen Curry the moment he was drafted 7th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft. Golden State was so high on him that they drafted him knowing that it may possibly alienate and anger their best player (which it did) in Monta Ellis. With Ellis gone, this is clearly now Curry’s team and as such, is the focal point of the Warriors’ future. However, a persistent ankle injury has all but ended Curry’s season and has some Warrior fans a bit on the concerned side for the future bringing about the question: is there someone who could be better or at least more reliable?
Obviously there is when you have the Chris Paul’s and the Derrick Rose’s of the world (to name a few) but let’s face it – none of them are going to be playing in Oakland anytime soon. But what about another above average guard (which Curry is at this point)? Like let’s say, I don’t know, Jeremy Lin.
Who would you rather have running the show for the Warriors, Curry or Lin?
Last year, a question like that couldn’t be asked without enduring a good amount of ridicule since Lin was nothing more than a bench warmer and victory cigar for Golden State. This season, the question can, at the very least, be entertained. While Curry’s stock has fallen considerably, Lin’s skyrocketed during January and most of February where he went on a Tebow-like tear, beginning the “Linsanity” craze and resulting in the most amount of puns used in a one month span in the history of the universe (I’m still waiting on Guinness to get back to me about if that’s true or not). Lin showed a fearlessness and aggressiveness that was not on display while playing for his hometown team. He thrived in then-coach Mike D’Antoni’s system, running the pick and roll almost to perfection making his teammates and himself better each game. His confidence was at an all time high and he seemingly proved that he belonged in the NBA.
Lin came crashing back to Earth a little bit once Carmelo Anthony was inserted back into the lineup and his progress was halted even further when D’Antoni stepped down following a six-game losing streak and a reported conflict with Anthony. Interim head coach Mike Woodson would go on to shift the focus of the offense from Lin to Anthony and Amare Stoudamire. Unfortunately, the former Harvard guard’s season would get worse as his season was cut short after requiring knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
Curry and Lin played roughly the same amount of games and therefore, it makes them a bit easier to compare. Before you shoot down this notion and hand Curry the “I’d Rather Have Him Award,” let’s take a look at their numbers on the season.
Their numbers in several categories are almost identical which is incredible considering Lin didn’t play much to start the season (I’m not sure D’Antoni remembered his name until he was forced to use him). Lin’s work is a small sample size of what he could be and hasn’t been proven over the course of a full season but the potential for him to be a very good point guard is clearly there. Curry’s numbers are off from what they are for his career which isn’t shocking given the problems with his ankle.
Looking at advanced statistics like PER (player efficiency rating), Curry holds the advantage over Lin, 21.30 to 19.94 although both are in the top 10 amongst point guards in that category.
One would have to give Curry the benefit of the doubt seeing as how he has somewhat of a track record in his first two seasons whereas Lin’s work is based on about 35 games. But Lin is a restricted free agent this summer and will undoubtedly draw interest from teams other than just New York. Warrior fans were upset when he was initially cut and became furious when he started to summon his inner-Michael Jordan. So, with that being the case, would Warrior fans be open to a returning Jeremy Lin? Or better yet, would they be open to having him as their starting point guard instead of Curry?
Again, the nod still likely goes to Curry, but the conversation about “Who would you rather have?” between the two isn’t as one-sided as it was a year ago.
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