The biggest news to come out of the first few days of the NBA Playoffs is that Stephen Curry has an ankle injury. The severity of the injury is not entirely known to the public, but he warmed up ahead of Game 2 and then promptly left the court in frustration before officially being declared inactive.
Curry has a long history of ankle issues, and this is the type of injury that could linger if he isn’t rested. The Golden State Warriors made the smart move to hold him out of Game 2 against the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, and most are expecting him to sit in Game 3 as well, although his official status is “questionable.”
How Valuable is Curry?
You might remember that Golden State went 39-2 at home this season and broke the NBA record for wins in a season with 73. The team has already gone on the road to Houston and beaten the Rockets without Curry in the lineup, and it’s hoping to do so on Thursday night as well. For the time being, the Dubs are lined at -5 at BookMaker.eu, but that line is sure to change one way or the other depending on Curry’s health.
For proof of just how valuable Curry is to the Warriors, they were -13 in Game 1 against Houston, a contest they easily won 104-78. Under normal circumstances, they probably would’ve been favored by around two touchdowns again. Instead, they were laying just 8.5, a number that they still covered with a 115-106 victory, which wasn’t quite as close as the final score suggests.
Curry’s absence in Game 2 was a late development for sure. It was only about an hour before game time that the league’s most devastating three-point shooter was ruled out, and the market immediately pounced, moving the line from -13.5 as late as 2:45 p.m. all the way down to -8.5 right before tipoff.
IF YOU ASK SPORTSBOOKS, CURRY IS ONLY WORTH AROUND 3.5 POINTS TO THE BETTING LINE
Is Curry really worth five points to a pointspread? The market suggests as much, so that’s probably right. But if you ask sportsbooks, Curry is only worth around 3.5 points to the betting line. He might be the reigning MVP, but he isn’t the most important individual player in the Association.
LeBron More Valuable Than Curry?
“Stephen Curry has certainly gotten closer, but LeBron James remains on top of the mountain regarding a player’s absence affecting odds,” said BookMaker.eu lines manager John Lester. “James remains the most valuable player because of his diverse skill set. Curry doesn’t bring the rebounding and defensive assets to the table that LeBron does.”
One only needs to look at the NBA Finals last year to show just how dominant James can still be even at this late stage in his career. In the six games versus Golden State in the Finals a season ago, James averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game, and he played an average of almost 46 minutes per game. His signature performance came when he scored 39 with 16 boards and 11 dimes in more than 50 minutes in Game 2 of the series in Oakland.
“James remains the most valuable player because of his diverse skill set. Curry doesn’t bring the rebounding and defensive assets to the table that LeBron does.”
Curry might have the most lethal shot in the league, and he could knock down a dozen threes on any given night, but has to rely upon others to regularly win games. There’s no doubt that the supporting cast around James isn’t nearly as good as the one around Curry. If you put Curry on a fringe playoff team like Detroit, would it immediately become a legit NBA Finals contender? We’re not so sure. Take James and put him on Stan Van Gundy’s team, and we’d be having a different discussion entirely.
Even though James has never won a title for what he calls “The Land,” whether it’s been the Heat or the Cavs, he’s played in the NBA Finals in five straight seasons and hasn’t failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs since his second year in the league in 2004-05.
Fortunately for James this year, his cast of characters around him is as strong as it’s ever been in Cleveland, and the road to the NBA Finals is still incredibly easy. Still, the Warriors have proven they can win without Curry. The Cavaliers haven’t proven a thing without their King. That’s why LeBron James is still the most valuable man in NBA betting at the sportsbooks.