I promise you that I don't wake up every morning looking to defend Steph Curry in this space.
But when people say things that I vehemently disagree with (respectfully of course), that is what happens.
The latest example came from the most recent episode of "The Bill Simmons Podcast," where Simmons and Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes discussed the whole Steph Curry vs. Damian Lillard narrative.
Simmons: "Curry has reclaimed [the crown] in the Curry-Dame battle -- it feels like Curry has the slight upper hand. But then every time I feel that way, it feels like Dame puts up 43 and 16 [and] completely puts everybody on his back for crunch time. It's just crazy how similar their stats are but how different their games are. I love having them on the West Coast."
Haynes: "Dame and Steph -- they're averaging the same amount of points. But Dame still is required to play point guard. Yes, Steph is a point guard. But Draymond Green is the playmaker of that team. Steph doesn't have those obligations. Dame has those obligations.
"So he's scoring the same amount of points, but yet he's still responsible for getting everybody involved. And he's the leader of the team, and people call him the best leader in the NBA. Steph doesn't have those obligations.
"I'm not trying to pit Dame over Steph or Steph over Dame. I'm just telling you they have different obligations. Dame has more of a workload to go through than Steph has."
Holy moly. Where do we begin?
I want to start by saying that I have a ton of respect for Chris Haynes. He's a great guy and we have a good relationship (we even won a championship together at the inaugural media basketball tournament that he hosted during the 2019 NBA Finals!).
I also want to make it clear (again) that I love Lillard's game, and he deserves all the praise he is receiving because he's been absolutely incredible this season. The crunch-time performances have been off the charts, and the Portland Trail Blazers have won eight of nine without CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic in large part because of Dame's heroics.
OK. Now that we have those facts established ... it's time to defend the two-time NBA MVP.
For starters, if we're going to discuss how Dame has been without McCollum and Nurkic, it needs to be said that Curry is dominating despite Klay Thompson missing the entire season. Additionally, Draymond Green got off to a slow start after missing all of training camp and the first four games (five total). And James Wiseman (nine games) and Kevon Looney (eight games) continue to be sidelined.
Furthermore, Curry absolutely has point guard obligations/responsibilities as he is averaging 6.0 assists per game (to Lillard's 7.7). And while Draymond does handle the ball a ton and is vitally important to the Warriors' offense, it's not like Curry just chills in the corner when Draymond is facilitating. In fact, it's the exact opposite.
What makes the only unanimous MVP in NBA history so unique is what he does off the ball. The guy never stops moving, works extremely hard to get himself open, sets great screens for others and the Warriors get a plethora of wide-open dunks/layups because of the attention he commands.
Steve Kerr recently said it's "comical" how easy some buckets come by for Curry's teammates due to the gravity the three-time NBA champion possesses.
Everybody knows that Curry doesn't get 1,000 high ball screens per game in Steve Kerr's system. But that doesn't mean he doesn't carry a huge burden or many obligations.
As noted in the past, he is the Warriors' system. It's just different than what we see from Lillard and other elite guards.
Also, the seven-time NBA All-Star is an incredible leader who sets the tone for the entire franchise.
In summation, Steph and Dame are awesome and you can praise either of them without knocking the other in the process.
Oh, and I can't wait for March 3 when they face off in Portland.