Russell Westbrook was caught laughing when a reporter asked KD if Curry’s defense was underrated. Westbrook chuckled and couldn’t contain his laugh leading to sports networks jumping on him for it. KD on the other hand threw shade Curry’s way talking about how he doesn’t usually guard the best player and doesn’t take on Westbrook one on one unlike Iggy or Thompson. So now the question has been raised, is Curry’s defense underrated or was Westbrook right in laughing?
The stat flying around the web is Westbrook’s shot percentage and turnovers when being guarded by Curry. At first glance the evidence points to Curry, in fact, being underrated. Seeming to shut down Westbrook when he gets the chance to take him on. But let’s dig a little deeper.
This series Curry has guarded Westbrook 22% of the time. Westbrook shoots 32% while being guarded by Curry compared to 44% when being guarded by anyone else. So Curry is good…22% of the time. If you took a test and only answered 22% of the questions while not trying any other you wouldn’t say, “Damn I did good on that test.” Even if you got all 22% of those questions right you still would get a 22. Curry only guarded Westbrook three times in game 5. It’s hard to call someone underrated when they are afraid, yes afraid, to take on an offensive superstar.
Curry did OK when guarding Westbrook but the sample size is so small it is impossible to say his is an underrated defender. He is generally guarding Roberson or Waiters, who have both had surprisingly good series.
Then the fact that an aspect of a UNANIMOUS MVP’s game could be underrated is in the words of Stephen A. Smith, blasphemy. If you are going to be named MVP by every sports writer, fan, show host, etc your talents should be on display every night, from shooting, to rebounding, to defense.
LeBron goes out and puts on a show every night. No part of his game is underrated. We all know what he can do. In crunch time, like being in a 3-1 hole, LeBron puts his team on his back and that includes his defense. Curry just crumbled under pressure and barely did anything on the defensive side of the ball besides getting a couple of steals late in the game for critics to point to and say, “see look. Steph is great on defense. He did deserve the unanimous like we voted, see!”
I’m not saying Curry is a liability on that side of the ball, but he also isn’t a guy you can use to lock down anyone. Curry isn’t a guy that scares Westbrook when he looks at the schedule. To call someone underrated you should be able to look at the numbers and be blown away at how much better they are than what you would expect. Curry’s numbers are mind numbing on the defensive end. He is a great shoot and an average defender.
Is thunder.clutchpoints.com underrated for their coverage on hockey? No, because we don’t cover hockey, just like Curry doesn’t cover any good guards. Next question.