Player rivalries have been the norm throughout the entirety of the NBA, whether that was Magic Johnson versus Larry Bird during the 80’s, or the likes of Kobe Bryant trying to chase down Michael Jordan as the face of the NBA. This type of ferocious competition is also seen in today’s NBA, as Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry continue to knock heads as to who’s the best point guard in the NBA today.
While these two players are completely different in the way they play and lead their team, they both continue to rack up achievements at an accelerated rate, but who would you rather build your franchise around?
On one side, the “Baby Faced Assassin” leads the reigning NBA Champions to yet another top two record in the West and are still — arguably — the favorites to win the title for a third time in his 9 year career. Curry has lead the Warriors since he was drafted seventh overall in the 2009 draft and, despite a few ankle problems, he hasn’t looked back since.
Whether that be setting three point records — that he then goes on to break — or setting the NBA world ablaze with his polarizing display of ball handling skills. Curry has become a fan favorite all over the NBA and has changed the whole landscape of basketball with his incredible shooting from all around the three point line.
Curry’s unique shooting ability hasn’t just helped him succeed personally in the league, but it has also helped bring success to his teammates around him. The spacing that Steph creates by being out on the floor is unique only to him. Whether he has the ball or not, defenders can’t leave him unattended for a second. Often times this is done by using multiple defenders to help with him, or switching the whole defensive rotation to be able to eliminate even the slightest of Curry’s shooting. This not only helps out the players out on the perimeter, it also makes life much easier for the big men down low, as it gives them constant one-on-one’s with their defender.
On the other hand, Westbrook has been with the Thunder ever since he came out of college as the number four pick in the 2008 draft, and is a totally different monster to deal with. Whether it be his head-down charges to the basket, or the fast pace energy that comes when he rebounds and sprints up the floor, Westbrook is leathal.
Westbrook uses his insane amount of athleticism for everything he does: scoring, rebounding, passing, defense. He is the definition of a stat stuffer, as he has averaged over a triple double in his MVP winning season in 2017 — becoming the first since Oscar Robertson in 1961 to achieve that sort of excellence.
While Westbrook sure does pour in the stats, this doesn’t necessarily make his team better. The Thunder are obviously better overall with him on the floor, but the players around him aren’t necessarily getting better because of him. While Westbrook is a dominant force, he requires the ball in his hands to be effective, and offers only a 30 percent three point shot for his career. This lack of shot hurts Westbrook as it allows defenders to pack the paint on him and just play him for his drive.
Even though the stats are in favor of Westbrook, Curry is the better weapon to posses. Whether it be hitting 13 three points in a game, or standing outside the line with two defenders watching him at every moment, Curry’s ability to open the floor is a luxury any NBA team should covet.