The season has gone as expected for the Dubs. They hold the best record in the league through 40 games, but have lost to great teams like the Cavaliers, Rockets and Grizzlies. Golden State has struggled to hold leads and hasn't looked good in crunch time offensively. While figuring out all the fundamentals of playing with another star like Durant on the roster, there has been debate among basketball heads as to who the best player on the team is.
Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry have both won MVP awards, scoring titles, and are future Hall of Famers. The two headed-monster is arguably the best duo in the league, but putting them head-to-head is a challenge. Who truly is the best player on the Warriors?
Case for Durant
It's hard to argue against a 7-foot forward who plays like a guard, rebounds like a center and protects the rim as if he's been in the paint for the entire 24-second shot clock. Durant is extremely efficient, despite his high usage rate. He almost always starts off games hot and it doesn't take him any time to get into rhythm. His passing has improved tremendously since his rookie season and he can now create for others. Durant has also come back from constant leg injuries and has made a smooth transition back to the superstar he was before surgery. With the newly-added defensive mindset, Durant is a complete player. He uses his long wingspan to his advantage and causes havoc for nearly all of his opposition.
Case against Durant
Durant struggled during crunch time in Oklahoma City and that bad habit has transferred over to the Warriors. He often disappears late in games and settles for way too many jumpers when he has the ability to get to the line as well as anyone in the NBA. In the last five minutes of games this season, when the score is within five points for either team, Durant is shooting just 28 percent from the field. He has only made one three-pointer in 11 attempts. It's a concerning stat, but for a player with this much talent, it likely won't last after the Warriors work out their offensive issues.
Case for Curry
Stephen Curry had arguably the greatest season of all-time in 2015-16. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are great right now, but Curry was simply incredible. He shot 50-40-90, scored 30 points a night and was doing this in about three quarters per game because the Warriors created insurmountable leads that quickly over opponents. Curry isn't going to hit 402 three-pointers with Durant on the team now, but he's still the best shooter of all-time. He is a great [and willing] passer and often finds the right guy in the Warriors uptempo offense. His range cannot be matched on the court and he's a very underrated finisher near the rim. He takes contact well and can finish near the basket, despite several hits.
Case against Curry
Curry was injured in the 2016 Finals, but made several mistakes that were avoidable, injury or not. He hasn't shown up in major games against the Cavaliers often enough. He still has ways to go as a defender, despite major improvements from his rookie season. He's no Kyrie Irving or Damian Lillard on the defensive end, but he's not Chris Paul or Kyle Lowry either. Curry still has a tendency to fall in love with his jumper (can't blame him, can we?), rather than attacking the rim and getting to the line where he shoots over 90 percent.
You really can't go wrong picking any player in this situation. But history has proven that Durant has fallen short more in the big games than Curry has. Curry blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals, but Durant blew that same lead to Curry and company. Durant also has more hero ball to him and isn't as willing a team player as Curry is, which has and can lead to team failure. The Warriors culture will change Durant, though. For as good of a defender as Durant is, Curry is a better passer and shooter. He has shown he can rebound well for his size too. Durant has the higher stats at the moment, but Curry is deferring and letting Durant get comfortable in the offense. After a slow start to the year, Curry is starting to slowly take over and remind everyone that the Warriors are still his team, and that he is the better player.