Every once in a while, a player will come into the NBA with such talent that it’s a show every time the ball is in his hands. These athletes have the innate ability to entertain, so much so that every game you will see something that you have never seen before. Recently we have been lucky enough to experience two players of such magnitude, Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry.
Russell Westbrook is a player who somehow manages to make your jaw drop every time he steps on the court. It doesn’t matter if he’s going coast-to-coast to throw down a dunk so hard that his protective face mask comes loose, or if he’s recording four straight triple doubles — the guy just has it.
There are currently five candidates for MVP, but Westbrook isn’t simply beating them, he’s soaring over them and effortlessly dunking in their faces. His recent play has even led some analysts to say that he is the Michael Jordan of the point guard position. The fact of the matter is that if the season ended right now, Russell Westbrook would be the MVP and nobody would even bat an eye.
Simultaneously, Stephen Curry has managed to outshine Westbrook as far as highlights are concerned. On Sunday night, Curry caught the ball, put it between his legs while running into three defenders, escaped with a behind-the-back dribble and took a step back three pointer from about 25 feet away. Warriors coach Steve Kerr threw his arms in the air in disgust, only to start clapping moments later when the ball hit nothing but net.
During the game the night before against the Mavericks, Curry drove baseline only to be met by a defender. Instead of doing something sensible, like turning around and going right back to where he came from, Curry improvised. He put the ball behind his back and, with his back to the basket, threw a left-handed no-look pass to a wide open shooter in the corner, who hit the three. Curry looks as if he’s playing on rookie mode while everyone else is on All-Pro.
But highlights and stats don’t tell the whole story about either of these players. What really matters is that both of their teams are winning games. The Warriors have the best record in basketball right now, and are set to cruise into the playoffs with the first seed in the West. The Thunder, on the other hand, are struggling to hang on to the eighth seed, unfamiliar territory for a team that was in the finals three seasons ago.
The recent play of Russell Westbrook is the only thing that has kept the Thunder in the race while they wait for their MVP from last season, Kevin Durant, to return from injury.
Both teams are primed to make a run in the playoffs, which will only lead to more highlight dunks, insane passes and fantastically competitive games. Only one thing is for sure, both of these players are going to be ready for whatever their opposition could possibly throw at them. Let’s just hope that those teams are ready to be on SportsCenter for all the wrong reasons.