There isn’t a person watching the NBA right now who doesn’t think Steph Curry is playing at an insanely high level. Fellow NBA players recognize Curry’s game and the reigning MVP set a league record by hitting a three-pointer in 128-straight games this past week. Curry’s great and the myriad ways to say this are running dry. You know this. I know this. Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard knows this.
But not everything needs to be about Curry. That’s why Lillard was understandably annoyed when Curry’s name was brought up as a comparison point following Lillard’s 20-point first quarter against the Pacers on Sunday. When asked about “playing like” Curry, Lillard responded in the only appropriate manner available:
Lillard’s first 12 minutes included three-consecutive three-pointers, which can be viewed in the video above, including one that was converted into a four-point play. He finished with 33 points on the night, shooting just under 48 percent from the field.
The question itself is bad simply because implying every good performance is “Curry-esque” creates an unnecessarily narrow view of the NBA’s best players. Lest we forget that Lillard ranks fifth in the NBA in points per game for the 2015-16 season and ranked seventh in the same category last year. More importantly than the statistics, his Blazers are competing for a higher seed in the Western Conference playoffs after he lost his four fellow starters from last year’s team. That’s why he has to be in the MVP discussion, despite not getting an invite to Toronto. His offensive skill speaks for itself and by no means was Sunday’s performance an anomaly.
Additionally, the irony of bringing up a Steph comparison is that, not 10 days ago, Lillard dropped 51 in a blowout win over the Warriors — 20 points more than Curry. Then again, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game that Lillard “looked like Steph Curry out there.”
Guy can’t catch a break, man.