By Sean Simara @Sean_FootyMad @TLE_Sport
The NBA season is hotting up. The rush for the playoff places is getting intense. Here’s the lowdown on a couple of the Western conference’s top players. The West is known as the stronger conference of the NBA, and for me there’s one Warrior and one Rocket who at the minute are leading their teams on the road to glory.
The first, known for his trademark beard, is James Harden, without doubt one of the top ten players in the NBA, possibly even the top 5. He has a chance for greatness at the Houston Rockets and it this could be his year. He entered the NBA in 2009 where he was drafted 3rd by the Oklahoma City Thunder to partner up with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. The Thunder got to the NBA finals in 2012 but lost out to Miami Heat and he was then traded to Houston as he couldn’t agree a new contract extension at OKC.
Now a Houston Rocket he’s showing what a court general he is by guiding his team to the play-offs. The acquisition of Dwight Howard put the Rocket’s right into contention to win the Western Conference and with Harden the clear franchise player of this team, he’s on course for special things. The scary thought is he gets better and better every year. His stats improve, his shooting improves, so what next?
At the minute the Houston Rockets are comfortably in the play-offs sitting in 4th at the time of writing. In the recent All-Star game Harden put up 29 points, with 8 rebounds & 8 assists. This shows he can not only score but he can distribute the ball as well and is effective at both ends of the court. He already has 3 NBA All-Star appearances and was the sixth man of the year in 2012, which is basically the best player coming off the bench. I expect now the bigger accolades to arrive in the next few years. The first could be the regular season MVP. His stats at the minute are booming, averaging 27 points a game with 5 rebounds & 6 assists at the Rockets and the individual awards could be on their way this season if he keeps up those numbers. The Championship ring though could be a little out of reach as the players around him are good but there’s another man in the West who is also thinking big this year.
That man goes by the name of Stephen Curry. This point guard is a star, and is on course for great things. In front of a very vocal and very yellow home crowd the Golden State Warriors fans are pretty much always treated to a show from this man.
He was in the same draft year as James Harden, however he was only picked 7th. Curry though, when he gets hot, gets very hot and nothing will stop him. He is for me the best 3 point shooter in the NBA. His points average this year is 23, 4 rebounds and 7 assists per game. He gets the ball to where it needs to be and is not as greedy as other point guards in the NBA.
What I like about Curry is he galvanises players around him. Warriors team mate Klay Thompson and Curry are known as the ‘Splash Brothers’ because of their ability to hit from beyond the arch with ease. The rest of the roster at the Golden State Warriors are more consistent than the previously mentioned Houston Rockets which is why they currently sit top of the Western Conference. For me they are the real deal and have to be taken seriously this year; Curry is building a team whilst becoming a star in the game too.
Stephen Curry’s stats speak for themselves, but it’s his reputation around the game by his fellow professionals that shows what a ‘baller’ he is. At ‘All-Star’ weekend he did his stuff, but now we’re getting to the business end of the NBA and I believe he’s the man to lead Golden State to the Western Conference finals. If he continues his brilliant form, the regular season MVP is his to lose.
Who do you think is better? Harden or Curry? Will one of these win regular season MVP or is your vote going somewhere else? Look out for more NBA posts as the season hots up.
For more from Sean, visit his football blog threeminutesinjurytime.blogspot.co.uk/ and follow him on twitter @Sean_FootyMad