Found October 23, 2013 on Pass The Pill:
There is no doubt in my mind that the point guard position in the NBA has emerged as the deepest and most competitive position in the league. At this point, you’d probably be hard-pressed to find someone that disagrees with that notion. The league is filled with capable guys to lead their teams on to the court. For example, a guy like Ty Lawson, who is an incredibly good player, probably barely cracks my top-15 point guards. That’s not a slight against Lawson, but a compliment to the fifteen guys I would put ahead of him. To go along with this, the point guard can be divided up into more proven guys, like Chris Paul, and your up-and-comers, like the two guys I am about to get into. Now, many may disagree with that notion, and say that Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving have already arrived, but for me, I need each to prove more to me for completely different reasons. For Curry, I need to know that the injury bug is behind him, and he can be a durable player in this league, and not be constantly hobbled. On the other hand, Irving needs to win; the ability is there obviously, but it is easy to put up numbers on bad teams. With a capable supporting cast around him, it is crucial for Irving’s progression as a player that he helps the Cavs contend for a playoff spot. So, with each having something to prove, lets determine who will be the better player moving forward. Disclaimer: You cannot go wrong with either guy. I wrote this intro BEFORE deciding, because its that close. So, if I choose Kyrie, that doesn’t mean Steph Curry sucks, or vice versa. Photo Credit: Cavstheblog.com In my point guards, I look for two essential factors: Leadership, and ability to make teammates better. Basically, all you need to know is that Jason Kidd is my favorite player of all-time, so that is the kind of point guard I prefer. Neither Curry not Irving really fit the “Kidd” mold, as each is more of a scoring point guard. However, for Irving, I am not sure if the jury is out just yet. In Curry’s case, he was surrounded last year by capable scorers, like Splash Brothers comrade Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes. Despite that, Curry still carried the scoring load by not only leading the team in scoring at 22.9, but also in field goals attempted at 17.8. This isn’t a problem, since, you know, Steph can put the ball in the bucket, but having your point guard take three more shots a game than any other player on your team makes him a legitimate “score-first” point guard. Irving, who was surrounded by a supporting cast that may have been allergic to the basket, found himself in a position of necessity to shoot. Aside from back-court mate Dion Waiters, who has the Monta Ellis patented “if you pass me the ball, there is a 99.9% chance you aren’t getting it back” philosophy to his game, Irving found himself surrounded by guys you wouldn’t have much confidence in offensively. Still, Irving, like Curry, dominated both the scoring (22.5) and shots for his team (18.1, Waiters was second at 13.4). While the evidence points to Irving also being a “score-first” point guard, I think the lack of a legitimate supporting cast still leaves it up for debate. I will be curious how those two numbers fare out this season, especially if Andrew Bynum becomes a legitimate post-presence on this team. In my opinion, Bynum’s shots breakdown should essentially come from Marreese Speights, who he is replacing on the roster (8.6 FGA), Anderson Verejao, who attempted 11.6 shots per game out of necessity, and from Irving’s total. At the end of the season, I would like to see Irving either shorten the gap between he and the other shot takers, or give up first place altogether, and let guys like Bynum and newly acquired Jarrett Jack get some shots up (well, Jack is jacking shots, pardon the pun, regardless of whether Kyrie lets him or not). The Numbers: Statistically, last season Irving and Curry were mirror-images of one another, matching each other in scoring (Curry 22.9, Irving 22.5), rebounding (Curry 4.0, Irving 3.7), assists (Curry 6.9, Irving 5.9), FG% (Curry 45.2, Irving 45.1), steals (Curry 1.6, Irving 1.5). The only edge I saw was obviously Curry in three-point shooting (his specialty), as he shot 45.3% from long-range, compared to Irving’s 39.1%. Now, the elephant in the room has to be this: Irving has only played two years in the league, compared to Curry’s four. Therefore, I simply went and compared Irving’s first two seasons to Curry’s, and the result was not much different statistically. The only noticeable difference in Curry’s numbers between his sophomore season and now was the improvement in three-point shooting, as he only made roughly two three pointers a game at a 43% clip, compared to his now three and half per game at a 45% clip. The only true advantage I see for Irving is how he will benefit from better surroundings. You can argue that Curry may have peaked, and that he has reached his plateau as an NBA player. On the other hand, Irving still has plenty of room to improve, especially when you factor in how injuries have impacted his overall performance on the floor. Simply, it is hard to get a rhythm midseason when you are missing time due to nagging injuries. The simple eye test tells you that Kyrie Irving is a bad man, and he is going to blossom into one of the better players this league has to offer if he can stay on the floor. Advantage: Curry Durability: When I started writing this piece, I assumed that there was one glaring difference between the two, and that was durability. Curry’s shaky ankles have been well-documented throughout his short NBA career, and I actually thought that would be the deciding factor, since statistics are good and all, but they only really matter if…you know… you are on the court. However, I was surprised to find out that Curry has played in at least 74 games in three of his four NBA seasons, and only missed a significant amount of time in the lockout shortened 2011-2012 season, where he played 26 of 66 games. Irving, who has only been in the league for two years, has already missed 38 of his 148 eligible games (roughly 25%), compared to Curry who has missed 54 of his 312 eligible games (17%). What this also tells me is that Curry has a toughness to him, since the ankle injuries aren’t a myth, but an injury he continues to play through.  Instead of the durability factor coming into Irving’s favor, it can either be seen as a victory of Curry, or a wash. Advantage: Curry (I am just as surprised as you are) Leadership/Clutchness: This is the curveball. It is hard to assess Curry’s leadership skills, since he has been blessed with a vocal coach, Mark Jackson, who does a great job leading his team. Curry also had other respected veterans on his team, especially the now departed Jarrett Jack, who is now on Irving’s Cavs (to throw another monkey wrench into this conversation.) I don’t quite know if I would have considered the 2012-2013 Golden State Warriors “Steph Curry’s Team.” When I think of the leaders on that team, guys like Jackson, Jack, and even David Lee come to mind before I think of Steph Curry. On the court, his presence is undeniable, especially when he gets rolling and hitting 3′s. However, I don’t know how many times I saw Curry making his teammates better. Part of being a great point guard is knowing when your teammates need the ball, and when to get your own shot going. As a Net fan, that has always been the appeal of Deron Williams to me (you know, when he’s not limping, or pouting, or both.) Williams has the ability to channel different parts of his game, becoming a distributor when needed, but also having the ability to handle the scoring load if his team is struggling. Curry’s game is one-dimensional in that sense. We all know he can score, but can he get David Lee easy buckets when he’s 1-10 from the floor and really needs a confidence boost? That is the evolution Curry needs to make from a leadership perspective. We all know he can score with the best of them, but that is not the only dimension of being a point guard. On the other hand, Irving was basically handed the keys to the franchise immediately, and never looked back. Honestly, I was one of the few people that thought Irving had incredible bust potential as the first pick. We now know that I am an idiot for having such thoughts. I have enjoyed watching Kyrie make me look stupider and stupider night-in and night-out. I get it, Kyrie, you got game. There is little doubt that the Cavs are considered Kyrie’s team, and it shows in final possessions. Again, this can be contributed to the lack of help, but in a last-shot situation for the Cavs, you immediately assume Kyrie is handling the ball, and will make the shot. The numbers in clutch situations seriously favor Irving over Curry. I classified clutch situations as 4th quarter, under three minutes remaining, and a game that was within five points. In these instances last season, Irving shot 46.5% from the floor, compared to Curry’s surprisingly low 23.8%. It seems that Curry relies too much on his three point shooting in these situations, shooting an abysmal 3-21, a 14% clip, compared to his aforementioned 45% average overall. Even if only a slight bump statistically, it is always a good sign when your “clutch” numbers are either superior or fairly equal to your overall average, and Irving passes that test. Irving’s advantage comes from within two-point range, where he shot a very impressive 57.1% in clutch situations. In these clutch situations, it seems fairly clear that Irving holds the advantage between the two. Leadership/Clutchness: Irving Verdict: Overall, this comparison went nothing like I imagined it would. I went into it thinking that Irving was probably the slightly better player, but the numbers really lean towards Curry, though it is merely a slight advantage. From the pure eye test, it seems to me that Irving is the better player, and though has had injuries, his injuries seem more fluky than anything else, as opposed to a potential chronic ankle issue with Curry. Still, I, surprisingly to myself, have to go with Stephen Curry over Kyrie Irving. (Give me both guys eight days a week though. Both may be top-five PG’s by this time next year. Look out Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook, the young bucks want your spot.) By: Frank Santos- Sports-Kings Co-Founder The post Kyrie Irving vs. Stephen Curry appeared first on Pass The Pill - Kings of Hoops.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Warriors enter season with expectations soaring

Every basketball fan in the country and around the globe saw the potential of the Golden State Warriors last season when Stephen Curry stayed healthy and got hot in the playoffs. One swish after another, Curry wowed the gold-shirt wearing crowds that packed Oracle Arena and turned games into must-see TV. The performances transformed the franchise from lovable losers with a faithful...

Dewayne Dedmon 'Feels So Close' To Spot On Warriors

Dewayne Dedmon has played well for the Golden State Warriors in training camp and feels near a roster spot with the team into the regular season. “It feels so close,” Dedmon said, “it’s like I can grab it. I can almost taste it.” Seth Curry is also in the running for a final spot on the Warriors, but Dedmon's size could give him an advantage. “I just want to do my...

Warriors’ Harrison Barnes optimistic about playing in the opener

The ESPN.com news services reported on Tuesday that Golden State Warriors’ forward Harrison Barnes is expected to be ready for next week’s season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers. He has been sidelined with inflammation in his left foot and last played on October 7.  Barnes did not participate in Warriors’ practice on Monday, but did practice shooting on his own.  Coach...

Blazers beat Warriors 90-74 in preseason finale

The taxing preseason, which included two games in China, is finally over. Whether the Golden State Warriors are ready to live up to lofty expectations remains unclear. Damian Lillard scored 21 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 10 points and 15 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied to beat the Warriors 90-74 on Thursday night in the preseason finale for both teams. Golden...

Kent Bazemore hits over-the-head trick shot in Instagram video

We here at That NBA Lottery Pick love trick shot and Golden State Warriors Kent Bazemore made an over-the-head trick shot look easy in the below Instagram clip. Check out Bazemore draining the show after two attempts and that is Stephen Curry catching the ball underneath the hoop: *** Bazemore image courtesy of Getty Images

Golden State Warriors lose to Sacramento Kings 91-90

Andrew Bogut said this was coming. Inferior teams looking up at Golden State would bring their best against the Warriors. The answer Bogut said is to "step on their throat" and crush their hopes. Wednesday Golden State had the Kings on the mat leading by as much as 17. But there was no neck-stepping. Instead the Warriors blew that lead and lost the preseason game 91-90...

Stephen Curry, Chris Paul team up launch #OwnNow

The Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry are partnering with Kaiser Permanente to launch the “Own Now” platform to spread the message to young adults that they need to own their health and make healthier and more informed decisions.   “We’re not health experts, but we do know that people of all ages have to take care of...

Warriors waive Seth Curry and Dewayne Dedmon to get one under NBA's roster limit

In a mild surprise, the Warriors waived both guard Seth Curry and center Dewayne Dedmon Friday and now have one roster spot open. Curry, the younger brother of Warriors star Stephen Curry, appeared to be battling with Dedmon for the final spot on the Warriors' 15-man roster. However, now both Curry and Dedmon, will join the Warriors' NBA Development League team in Santa...

Warriors waive Seth Curry, Dedmon, Alexander

The Golden State Warriors have waived guard Seth Curry, center Dewayne Dedmon and forward Joe Alexander. The team announced the moves Friday, a day after finishing the preseason. All three are expected to land on the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League. The 23-year-old Curry, the younger brother of Warriors guard Stephen Curry, signed as an undrafted free agent out...

Kings-Warriors Rivalry Heats Up

Kings-Warriors felt like a preseason game - which it was - until it didn't. Despite the turnovers (25) the lack of ball/body movement (17 assists) and sloppy play throughout the Kings' rallied from a 17-point deficit in what became another very intense heated contest between Northern California's NBA teams. The theatrics included the following: DeMarcus Cousins and Andrew...

Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry And New-Look Nets On Sports Illustrated NBA Preview Covers

Sports Illustrated’s four NBA season preview issues feature the national issue with Dwight Howard, Hakeem Olajuwon & Kevin McHale, followed by 3 regional covers of Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, Warriors guard Stephen Curry and first-year coach Jason Kidd with the new-look Nets. The post Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry And New-Look Nets On Sports Illustrated NBA...

UTSN’s NBA Rankings (20-16)

Our weighing scale on rating these players included; advanced stats, postseason performance, past and future play, injuries, team role, player efficiency rating and basic stat lines. No rookies are on this list but we will be giving you a top ten rookie list along with a variation of other preseason predictions for the NBA season. We had a hard time here making this list rounding...

Kings edge Warriors in preseason

Isaiah Thomas scored 21 points to help the Sacramento Kings rally in the fourth quarter and beat the Golden State Warriors 91-90 in a preseason game Wednesday night. After Stephen Curry gave the Warriors an 89-88 lead with a jumper, John Salmons hit a 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds left to give the Kings a 81-89 lead. David Lee was fouled with 1.3 seconds left and made the first free...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.