Balls: Curry gets MVP award he deserved all along 

OAKLAND — More than few NBA experts will be proven wrong today, Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant and Mark Jackson among them. The Warriors will host a news conference to announce the selection of Stephen Curry as NBA Most Valuable Player.

C’mon, who else could it be?

Barkley, Bryant and Jackson lobbied for Houston Rockets top gun James Harden, who had a great regular season. “You’ve got James, who’s been playing consistently all season, and Steph has been doing phenomenal,” Bryant said. “That’s a tough call for me, but I’d have to say James.”

Balls has to say Black Mamba is off target for this reason: Curry was the most dominant player on the most dominant team in the regular season. We saw as much against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, when Curry was his typically efficient self — 22 points on 20 total shots and seven assists and another one-sided victory.

If 23.7 points, 7.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game weren’t enough for the stat freaks, then this should be: Curry ranked first in win shares per 48 minutes and value above replacement player. If the guy had played as many minutes as Harden in the fourth quarter, his numbers would have been even better.

The voters got this one right.

DURANTULA ON THE WAY? The hottest talk at Oracle Arena wasn’t about the series but the possibility of Kevin Durant in a Warriors uniform in the near future.

According to one report, the Warriors have already targeted Durant as a free agent after next season. The source is Los Angeles Lakers broadcaster Mychal Thompson, who has a pipeline to the Warriors’ inner circle — and not because he’s Klay Thompson’s father, either.

The question is, can one team have too much talent in a sport where chemistry matters a lot? How would Durant fit in with Thompson and Curry in the same offense?

“Oh, my, of course it would work,” one Warrior insider told Balls when asked about the possibility. “Klay and Steph would welcome any player who played the game at a high level and played to win. Steve Kerr would make it work.”

Balls thinks so, too. Like Curry, Durant has virtually no ego, at least by NBA standards. And other than Curry perhaps, there’s no a better shotmaker in the world.

The smart money says Durant will be either a Laker or a Washington Wizard before long, but the thought of Curry, Durant and Thompson in the same lineup sure is fun to think about if nothing else.

CONLEY UPDATE: Grizzlies floor leader Mike Conley looked like a guy who didn’t watch the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight but actually was in the ring with them. The area around his left eye remained badly swollen, bruised and bloodshot eight days after he was floored by a stray elbow.

“I felt pretty good today,” said Conley, who sat out the series opener as expected. “Hopefully, we’ll see about Tuesday, but today was a barometer for me to go out there and get a ball in my hand and move around a little bit.”

Conley worked out for 15 minutes before Game 1 and expected to take part in practice today, which would be his first on-court action in more than a week. Even if the veteran were to play in the series, he might not be a factor.

GRIZZLIES PRIMER: Ten fun facts about this team called the Memphis Grizzlies:

— They were the Vancouver Grizzlies originally, but the team never won more than 23 games in a season, the reason it lasted only six years there.

— The first draft pick in franchise history was Bryant “Big Country” Reeves, who retired as Bryant “Small Town” Reeves.

— They have a sorry postseason history — four playoff series victories in 19 seasons.

— Their all-time roster includes Cal products Leon Powe and Shareef Abdur-Rahim and former Stanford stars Jason Collins, Casey Jacobsen and Brevin Knight.

— Marc Gasol is the younger brother of Pau Gasol, who played for the Lakers, another reason why Warriors fans don’t care for him. — They play their home games at the Memphis Pyramid, the sixth-largest pyramid in the world.

— Warriors consultant Jerry West was the 2003-04 Executive of the Year as Grizzlies general manager.

— Hubie Brown is an ex-Grizzlies coach, but don’t hold that against them. — Zach Randolph is nicknamed Z-Bo, which a buddy gave to him for no good reason in grammar school.

— Ex-Grizzly Matt Barnes has several nicknames, none of which are printable here.

CAN’T WAIT: The Houston Rockets will meet the Los Angeles Clippers in the other Western Conference semifinals series beginning today. Balls predicts the matchup between Dwight Howard (46 percent at the free-throw line) and DeAndre Jordan (38 percent) will be good to the last brick.

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to pladewski@sfexaminer.com and you may get your name in the paper one day.

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of...

More by Paul Ladewski

Latest in Balls: Paul Ladewski

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation