Every year car manufacturers roll out new models at auto shows across the country. Some of these new vehicles included marginal upgrades and others provide complete overhauls from their predecessors. Sure, it gets better fuel efficiency, has a touch screen and new curves, but if you’ve owned the older model and upgrade, inevitably you’ll find yourself missing one or two of the options that they’ve done away with.
Steph Curry is the 2016 Corvette to Steve Nash’s mid-2000s model. Admittedly, I’ve never driven either seeing as I’m a humble sports writer who has never made enough in a year to afford one, but stay with me. Curry is the evolution of Nash. The next step. The flashier upgrade that includes new bells and whistles that we didn’t see in the previous iteration. He turns heads the way the new curves and looks of the Vette do every year. He took what Nash did, especially in terms of scoring, and took it to another level. It’s the difference between a roadster that has 300 horsepower and one with 350 due to an improved engine. But there is that one thing that the Curry model lacks when compared to the Nash.
Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals put that on full display as if it were center stage at one of those auto shows with the spokes models substituted for Oklahoma City Thunder cheerleaders. Curry’s shooting was stuck in neutral going 6-of-20 from the field and just 1-of-10 from beyond the arc. His Warriors team couldn’t weather the storm losing by 24 points on the road.
In similar situations, where his shot had abandoned him and even when it hadn’t, Nash would find a way to get his teammates involved. He was an assist machine in the playoffs during the “Seven Seconds or Less Suns” run averaging 10.6 assists a game and only 3.7 turnovers. He found a way to lift his team even when he couldn’t with his shooting by making their ability to score easier.
Curry hasn’t found that level yet. In Game 4 he had a measly five assists and six turnovers. It’s not a one time trend either. Those numbers aren’t vastly different from his per game playoff totals of 7 assists and 3.8 turnovers. In games where his historically great shot isn’t there — and those are about as rare these days as Nic Cage making a great movie — he hasn’t found another gear to help lift his team the way Nash always seemed to.
Sure, the “injury” argument can be made and already has been by many. Steph may not be 100% but keep in mind, Nash rarely ever was. He had a debilitating back issue that prevented him from even being able to sit on the bench during games and that many thought had already slowed his career while he was in Dallas. That’s before you add in the fact that he bled more in games than Ben Stiller in Something About Mary and Rocky Balboa combined and yet he made the best of it.
Steph Curry is the new version of Steve Nash in almost every way but that one thing they changed in the new model is the one thing the Warriors need now more than ever.