Curry finishes 2nd in ROY Voting, But Who Will End up Better?

Reke ROY finished with 24 more first-place votes than Warriors guard Stephen Curry. No doubt Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans deserved Rookie of the Year. I just heard the best explanation (and from a Curry supporter): Evans became the front-runner the first couple months of the season. It was his to lose and he never lost it. Despite Curry’s stellar production starting with January 1, Evans never gave voters a reason not to vote for him. He stayed consistently good throughout.

With that said, knowing what Curry did down the stretch, that annual question now comes to mind. The same question that always comes up when there are two stand-out rookies: who will have the better career?

As with anything else in this league, a lot of that will depend on things oftentimes players don’t control. Staying healthy. Getting help from the front office. The type of system they end up in. What position they end up playing. And so on. But presuming all of that works in their favor, who turns out to be the better player, Curry or Evans? Or will it be Brandon Jennings, who is getting an upperhand on both right now with the postseason experience he is accumulating?

It is really hard not to lean towards Curry considering the multiplicity of ways he produced last season. He wasn’t just scoring. He was scoring efficiently. He was setting up others and also shairng the rock, making the extra pass, making the hockey assist. He was rebounding (especially well for someone 6-foot-3, 180 pounds). He was racking up steals and many times being a factor on defense. Certainly, he had his shortcomings. Plus the style of play and lack of significance of the games certainly played a part. But the boy showed some stuff that really pushed the bar up for what his career can be. Because of his stroke and his acumen, it’s hard seeing him not being a force.

Now, I didn’t see Evans enough to get any intricate knowledge, but he seems like a straight up beast. A physically imposing type of player who is near-impossible to contain.

It seems to me that the physically gifted still need to develop intangibles in order to take that next step. But the guys with the intangibles are already ahead of the game. Evans is going to get the kitchen sink thrown at him by opposing coaches, so his development will be a must. I can’t really give a valid analysis of his cerebral game and the development of his jumper, etc., but those who I have talked to seem to think he’s got the tools to survive the scout and the expectations. If he does, he’s going to be ridiculous.

With that said, both had great individual years for bad teams, so can’t anoint either as arrived yet. Especially Evans’ style of play. It has been known to be anti-team success. He needs to prove he can be productive for winning’s sake. How many players could average what Evans averaged if they were given the green light he was given, on a team not expected to win?

Ditto for Curry in some ways. His style of play does seem to be more of a winning style, because he doesn’t have to take shots to hurt you, and he is willing to blend into a team offense while still being able to produce. But he has to show he can produce with something on the line, against teams who are playing their best and not against teams looking at the Warriors as a break in the schedule.

But the prospects of how good they can be, especially growing up in the league together, is kinda captivating. Kinda like Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

I included some data for your perusing.

The final tallies of the NBA Rookie of the Year voting
Name, Team                          1st     2nd    3rd    Total
Tyreke Evans, Kings             67     50         6    491
Stephen Curry, Warriors     43     50       26    391
Brandon Jennings, Bucks    12     22       78    204
Darren Collison, Hornets       1        1         9       17
Jonny Flynn, T’wolves            0       0         2         2
Taj Gibson, Bulls                      0       0         2         2

Curry and Evans head-to-head by the numbers
Name, Team Points    FG%    3FG%    FT%    Asts    Rebs    TOs    Stl
Stephen Curry        17.5       46.2    43.7        88.5     5.9      4.4       3.0    1.9
Tyreke Evans         20.1       45.8    25.5        74.8     5.8      5.3        3.0    1.5

Last 20 Rookie of the Year winners
2009-10    Tyreke Evans, Sacramento
2008-09    Derrick Rose, Chicago
2007-08    Kevin Durant, Seattle
2006-07    Brandon Roy, Portland
2005-06    Chris Paul, New Orleans
2004-05    Emeka Okafor, Charlotte
2003-04    LeBron James, Cleveland
2002-03    Amar’e Stoudemire, Phoenix
2001-02    Pau Gasol, Memphis
2000-01    Mike Miller, Orlando
1999-00    Elton Brand, Chicago (tie)
Steve Francis, Houston (tie)
1998-99    Vince Carter, Toronto
1997-98    Tim Duncan, San Antonio
1996-97    Allen Iverson, Philadelphia
1995-96    Damon Stoudamire, Toronto
1994-95    Grant Hill, Detroit (tie)
Jason Kidd, Dallas (tie)
1993-94    Chris Weber, Golden State
1992-93    Shaquille O’Neal, Orlando
1991-92    Larry Johnson, Charlotte
1990-91    Derrick Coleman, New Jersey

Marcus Thompson

  • Steve

    I always subscribe to League Pass and as a result I watch a ton of pro hoops each season. Yes, I’m a GSW fan, so I have a big rooting interest in Curry. But having watched both Evans and Curry from start to finish this season I’m left with one very strong opinion on who’s the better all around player now, and who’ll be the better all around player throughout their respective careers…..Steph Curry.

    Curry does everything amazingly well for a rook playing the PG position in the NBA. His court vision is outstanding, his range is unlimited, and he’s unselfish to a fault. Again, as a rook, his poise and basketball IQ is way beyond what it should be, which only makes his potential for further improvement in the future almost off the charts. And his maturity in dealing with the media and his teammates given the volatile beginning to the season (Jackson/Ellis) was a tribute to his upbringing and character as a person. This guy is a winner regardless of how you define the word, and should be an untouchable on this roster.

    While Evans had a very good year, I was never impressed with his season to the same degree as others were. His main attribute is his NBA-ready body. Very strong and physical. Yet, I believe that what you see now is what’ll you see 5-10 years from now. In other words, I don’t see any significant upside to his game and all around play in the future. His body will look the same 5 years from now, but defenses will be more geared to stop his penetration, which I find at times is more mechanical than lightning-quick. And since I believe his outside shooting will never be one of his assets, I’m not one of those who thinks he’s a star in the making. Good, yes. But nothing more. On that list of former ROYs I would predict Evans to eventually be compared to an Okafor or Mike Miller in regards to future impact in the league. Curry? Try Chris Paul, or better. Just one man’s opinion, but as a Warriors fan I’m sooooo glad we have Curry instead of Evans.

    BTW, here’s an interesting read on Mark Mastrov which appeared a few days ago in the local business section.


  • sartre

    Great post, Marcus.

    Congratulations to Steph in finishing runner-up. He did us proud and made what was mostly an otherwise depressing and forgettable season a cause for some optimism and excitement.

    The multiple ways in which he contributes relative to Evans and Jennings and his exceptionally high basketball IQ leaves me glad we have Curry of the three (even though Evans was a better physical fit with Monta). Let’s hope the dubs start building the right talent around Curry.

  • Silverstreak

    Happy to go into the season with Curry paired with either Turner (fingers crossed) or Wes Johnson…and trade/FA a difference-maker big.

  • A’s in 2010

    You seem to have a good handle on things, MT2. Evans is gonna be a career loser, nobody is gonna want to play with him and that style. Curry though, who wouldn’t want to play with him? We lucked out, for once.

  • jsl

    Good work, MT.

    Some interesting things pop up when you look at how the two did when they went head-to-head. (My sense is that — as with the season — Tyreke started out much stronger in those games, and Curry finished much stronger. Sort of, Tyreke won the first two, Curry the last two. But I didn’t check. Sorry.)

    First, and not surprisingly, there’s a general consistency here with their overall seasons. Ty outscored Curry in the match-ups, 22-18 and had a few more steals (2.5/1.8 spg). But — and this IS a surprise — the ONE area where Tyreke was markedly better was in FTs — where he hit 86% against us while Steph hit just 67% against them.

    Strangely, both hit only 33% of their threes — but that’s much closer to Tyreke’s average than Curry’s.

    Curry was just a bit better in everything else. His shooting percentage (52/46), his dimes (7.8/5.5), his fewer TOs (2.8/3.8) and most surprising to me, his RBs (5.5/5.3).

    In short, they were pretty close in the stats — I’d say about even in the head to head. But, perhaps because they (actually, WE) were just more fun to watch, I remember the third and fourth games best. And while Ty did OK in game three, Curry schooled him in the second half, where Evans went about 1 or 2-9 in Q4, with Curry just smothering him, as I recall.

    I like Tyreke a lot. He’s a terrific young player with a lot of upside potential, if he gets his head on straight about this being a team game.

    But I’m just overjoyed we’ve got Curry. (And I don’t really care if he’s not the league ROY; he’s mine.) If EITHER BW or AR shows anything like the talents I believe each has, we’re gonna have a ton of fun watching them play with Curry next year. Goose should be reborn (if Nelson’s toast). I can hardly wait.

    So, if we could just get this FO outta here fast– and send Nelson packing with ’em, to be replaced by a coach who cares about and teaches defense (I’m still pining for Thibodeau) — we’d REALLY have something here.

    Ah, May in the Bay Area: the time for BB dreams and fantasies! But wouldn’t it be fun to be in the playoffs?

  • OregonGuy

    To me Evans is Maggette with handles. ‘Nuff said.

  • deano

    MT: Thanks for the nice post here, and for the more expansive article in The Merc. I like that Curry is eager to play with Team USA this summer, and that he recognizes that opportuity as a learning experience.

    Amongst his other attributes, Curry is just plain smart. On and off the court, he is smart. Last summer he trained with Chris Paul, probably the best point guard he could have chosen since their games and bodies are similar. Paul’s acceptance of Curry was an early endorsement of Curry’s NBA validity.

    When Curry showed up for the Warriors’ training camp last October, and walked into disrespect from Ellis and abandonment from Jackson (GSW’s two “stars”), Curry did not panic or cower. He already knew what NBA stars looked like. He would have known that neither Ellis nor Jackson was a Chris Paul quality star, and that their reactions to him were therefore not authoritative.

    Right off, Curry knew that GSW had no role models for him to emulate. His standards were higher than the Warriors’ from the beginning. That was a smart assessment on his part, and a sign that he could become the leader and star that this team so desperately needs. Curry’s recent comments to you are further proof of that potential.

  • Caleb

    I believe that Steph will easily have a better career than Evans for the simple reason that he is the rare type of player who makes everyone on his team better. I am a huge fan of Curry’s game and I have been so thrilled that we lucked out and had five other teams make the huge mistake of passing on him in the draft last year. In my opinion he’s the best thing to happen to this franchise since Chris Webber (let’s hope we never lose him like we did Webber). I’ve been getting a little worried with all this talk about him playing so much this summer for Team USA and the Las Vegas Summer League. Beidrins and Turiaf both played during the summer last year and look what happened. I know that their injuries weren’t directly related, but i think it’s better to be fresh coming into the NBA season. Even if he avoids injury during the summer his body will still be tired. I don’t really understand what he could get out of going to Las Vegas. In my opinion I believe he would be better served taking a little break from basketball, getting well rested and throw in a little weightlifting. Then when the regular season starts he’d be ready to make the ROY look like small potatoes compared to what he could accomplish.

  • Hook Mitchell

    Curry is a SPECIAL player.

    With better talent around him (or just others playing better) the better he will show and prove.

    He’s made D-Leaguers look great at times this year.

    Reggie Williams = True Talent

    Anthony tolliver = better version of Brian Cardinal

  • Son of Ahmed


    Enjoyed your balanced take. Great post with a reasonable analysis of both players. Also, I’m glad to finally see the “The Greatest Game I’ve Ever Been A Part Of” post knocked down a notch. It’s an embarrassing statement that makes all Warriors fans want to put paper bags over heads.

    Steve (#1) and jsl (#5), terrific follow-ups. Way to clean the glass and finish with the second opportunity shot.

    Here’s my take: I can see Evans continuing to improve because I think his outside shot will get better. That 20-5-5 stat has been shoved in our faces by the Sacramento media and Kings PR dept., but it is an impressive accomplishment and says a lot about the ROY’s all around impact on the game. He reminds me a lot of Mitch Richmond his rookie season. A very strong off guard who could bull his way to the hoop and who surprised everyone with how good he was from the perimeter. The Rock had a steady career and was an impact player most of his career. But look at his history. He played on some fun Warriors teams early in his career. Once Hardaway came on board the team was solid. But when Richmond was traded to Sacramento for Billy Owens, he wound up being in a losing situation, only leading his Kings to one playoff series. Then he went to Washington. Same thing. In essence, Richmond was an impact player on losing teams. Not all his fault. He couldn’t control being traded to bad teams. But let’s face it: he was always the piece being moved in hopes of landing a better piece (Owens and Webber). Great players aren’t on that end of those kinds of trades. Hopefully for Evans he is a part of a lot of winning teams, but I don’t see his game translating into a lot wins as easily as Curry because he doesn’t make his teammates better the way Curry does.

    The funny thing about Curry is that most envisioned him being a little more one dimensional than he turned out. Many of us expected a shoot-first two guard with a great outside shot, but frail and weak on defense. I don’t think anyone imagined him being the rebounder that he is. Some had a clue he was great passer, but only a few believed he would have such a high level of play making skills. When it comes to setting up teammates, unselfishness, basketball IQ, passing, and decision-making, Curry stands alone atop this draft class. He is also the best outside shooter.

    Steve already brought up Curry’s class and humility. That just polishes the gem that he is. Add to all that his star quality–he’s an NBA Blue Blood and the media laps him up–and you have a kid destined to be a star in the league. Who is it that we’ve been seeing in that NBA Cares commercial with all those 1st Team NBA Stars? Stephen Curry, of course. The kid has the pedigree and, as corny as it sounds, the basketball gods smile on him. Bobby Knight, LeBron, JRich and Chris Paul saw something special in Curry before he even stepped onto the NBA hardwood. Now we see what they did.

    Warriors fans would like to see Curry with their team for a long time. Fortunately for them, the team is up for sale. If an owner with a strong will to win and a the money to back it up makes the purchase, maybe we’ll see Curry here for a long time. And that would be good, because he is going to be the best player out of this years draft class.

  • moneyman

    Think of this: Curry had to play without the ball in his hands for the first 2-3 months of the season cuz Maggette and Monta were playing one on one. What if Curry had played with actually NBA finishers, other than Tolliver and Turiaf who could have actually finished those dimes? (RANDOLPH and WRIGHT even BEANS)

    Considering those two things you should add at least 5 points and 3 dimes to his season totals. My ROY fasho

  • playoffbound

    Curry will be the better player. Evans is not a point guard (see Monta Ellis). He doesn’t make everyone around him better and is a ball hog. He is a two guard with some passing skills. At the point, he is a 6’6 problem, but at the two, he is an average height two guard that won’t dominate as much. Point guards are harder to find. Plenty of two’s out there who can score (see John Salmons). So, I’m glad we drafted Curry, who is a future hall of fame player.

  • earl monroe


  • Brytex

    Son of Ahmed (#9), no bag over my head! That last game was easily one of my favs of the year. And not just for the win, but for all that the events during the game symbolized. I still have it saved on my Tivo.

    That was virtually FIVE guys beating Portland. Some of my fav moments were when Don Nelson went bananas trying to protect his injured players.

    And when ME and SC politely stepped in between DN and the ref trying to protect their coach from being ejected.

    And SC completely exhausted dragging himself up the court in the final minutes of the game.

    And ME/SC scoring 76 combined, going 8/14 from deep.

    And those two, along with the D-Leaguers, playing all 48 minutes, with Old Man George putting in 42.

    And with a few minutes left in the game, the camera pans to the bench. It is completely EMPTY. Now, c’mon, if that’s not symbolism…

  • Tdubb

    Great post MT, When I look at the stats I agree Evans got off to a hot start and never lost it. Curry improved as the season went, adjusting to coaching, playing time, injuries and teammates. Forecasting future careers is impossible but fun to talk about.

    Evans is not a point guard, he’s a two that can run a team when he has to. He’s not Brandon Roy. Evan’s never had the chance to develop the skill of making his teammates better in college. As a freshman he was given the ball and told to be Derrick Rose. He had Rod Strickland in Memphis to teach him but only one and done.
    As many of you said he’s a good player and will improve some but he’ll never be great, he’s a Mitch Richmond without the shot.

    Curry on the other hand is a point guard and gonna be a damn good one. Remember Davidson made it in the NCAA’s. He made those guys better all around. He learned the NBA game from his dad, both on and off the court. Remember before he showed up here, he trained with Chris Paul. I would suspect a very good teacher. Curry brings to the table the skill, leadership, smarts and work ethic to make a team better. And it’s classy and professional. That’s Brandon Roy. Yes, I think a lot of Roy’s style.

    Both Evans and Curry have some developing young pieces around them but at the end of the day, I think Curry will do more with what he has, ask any D-Leaguer.

  • john freeman

    hey Marcus,

    Why is it that everywhere Jamal Crawford goes, he gets his numbers and looks great, but his team turns out to be gutless when the crunch comes?

    I really don’t believe this myself, I don’t see why having JC around would make Josh Smith act like an infant, but I’m just observin’… Jamal gets there, team looks awesome for a while, then it all goes to hell … again.

  • deano

    Tdubb: I like your concluding accolade for Curry, that he facilited the DLeaguers’ development into NBA players. That makes Curry perfect for the young players on the Warriors’ roster.

    Randolph, Wright, Azubuike and even Biedrins need Curry’s skills to develop their games and function as part of a team, just as did Tolliver, Williams and Hunter.

    The Warriors who did not need Curry as much are the players who have one-on-one skills and mentalities: Magggette and Ellis. It is not coincidental that GSW played well at the end of this season without those two in the lineup.

    As GSW looks to its future, and especially with new ownership, the presence of Curry allows the team to feel comfotable in developing through the draft and with it’s younger players.

  • jonny b

    can the Oracle get the King?

  • jsteez

    Curry = Nash
    Evans = poor-man’s Wade

    In either case, they’re both great with bright futures. Who knows who will be better.

    Curry’s style is conducive to team play and winning, etc., but his man-to-man and pick-and-roll defense must improve. He sees steals and gets in great position, now it’s a matter of getting a little stronger and craftier.

    Hope we can get a legit 3 in the draft

  • mike

    first off i want to say curry is better than nash biggest fluke in nba history is when nash got two mvpssss ok and i d like to say curry is in no way better than evans peeps saying this are nerds and happy kids and moms who dont know basketball curry can score but thats all evans is a franchise player

  • mike

    evans stats in 2011 will look like this 25/8/8