End of Warriors Dynasty: How Did Fan Favourite Stephen Curry Lose All Star Role to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander?

At one point the Golden State Warriors were an uncrashable dynasty. They walked the court with four All-Stars – Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. After their few years of dominance, their stars slowly started falling. KD was the first to leave. Gradually, Green and Klay both lost their status as All-Stars. The only safety net was Curry. It was unimaginable to think he wouldn’t start the infamous game. Yet, the day Dub Nation dreaded most finally came.

Not a single year since 2013 had Steph Curry not been an All-Star starter. Every year it was a certainty rather than a question. But this year, the streak was broken. Curry wasn’t named an All-Star starter in the West. The two names above him? Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Doncic has been having a historic season. His inclusion was always a given. But how did SGA topple the mighty Baby Face Assassin?

Stephen Curry is having a great individual season

Stephen Curry might not be an All-Star starter, but that shouldn’t undermine the fantastic campaign he is having. For the majority of the early part of the season, Curry was the lone gladiator standing for the Warriors. Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins were having horrific shooting slumps. Green, the leader for the Warriors was in and out of suspensions, at one point even contemplating retirement.

All this while, Curry was still being himself. The all-time three-point leader was raining carnage single-handedly. Even when defenses smothered him, Wardell just found a way. He is averaging a stellar 27.5 points per contest. In the past years, Curry was a starter while averaging fewer points.

His shooting percentages are down due to the enormous responsibility he has to anchor the entire Warriors offense. Still, he has stood tall like a behemoth. In the clutch, a common area of criticism for Curry, he is leading the charts by 40 points. He averages 5 points per game in these situations, the second-best in the NBA.

From beyond the arc, it’s no surprise he has made the most threes so far this season. So why is he not a starter? It’s simply because his impact hasn’t transformed into wins.

The Warriors are barely surviving in the postseason conversation at the halfway mark of the season. They are the 12th seed, with an aching 20-24 record. Even then Curry has accumulated 4 win shares, the most on the roster. Their offense is one-dimensional – that being Stephen Curry. Without him on the floor, the Warriors average 9 fewer points per game.

Their defense ranks 23rd in the NBA. Considering their offense has grown stagnant, a weak defense has aggravated matters. That’s the reason Curry didn’t get the starter nods this season.

Why Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rightfully deserves his spot as a starter

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander truly announced himself last season. The Canadian guard is a dynamic two-way star who is paving the way for a youthful Oklahoma City Thunder team. His offense has refined and is sharper than ever. As a defender, he leads the league the total steals this season.

SGA is quite literally excelling at every part of the game. His drives have become his most dangerous weapon. Averaging 23 drives per game, Shai is converting 57% of the shots he takes. Additionally, he is a menace to defend when in the post. Spin moves, fadeaways, fakes, he has it all.

His lean and tall stature has allowed him to intercept lanes and be a disruptor. Amongst guards in the NBA, he has the 14th-best defensive rating at 110.7. He also has the fifth-best net rating, a +11.2.

But it’s far from individual brilliance that Shai brings to the table. He has switched the entire culture in OKC. With an average age of a little over 23, the Thunder have acquired the second seed in the West, they finished 10th last season. Of course, Shai isn’t alone responsible for the improvement. The likes of Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren, and Josh Giddey have all heavily contributed to their success. But SGA is the most significant presence out of all, the one that can’t be replaced.

That’s the reason he has the starter spot over Stephen Curry. However, the Chef hasn’t fans. He ranked 2nd behind Doncic in fan voting which accounts for 50% of the votes. Shai was the number one choice for both players and the media. Hence, he was picked over Steph Curry.

 

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