The Substance Report is an official rankings that I thought was necessary to come up with to determine which players throughout the league are most valuable to their team. Each day, for the next 9 days, there will be an article dedicated to a single player that demonstrates both his value to the league, but more importantly, the weight on his shoulders on his own team.
An example of the rhetorical questions to ask yourself throughout the readings of the ranking is something along the lines of, "What would the Warriors look like without Stephen Curry? How much worse off would they be as a team? Could they still win an NBA Championship if they just released him to the depths of a fiery hell? Would Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson's efficiency go up because they would have more shot opportunities with Steph out of the rotation?" and other important meditations similar to that nature.
This is what the rankings look like so far.
30. Lou "Two Girls and They Get Along Like I'm Lou Will" Williams
29. Domantas "Arvydas's Son" Sabonis
28. Montrezl "Holy Shit That Guy Tries Hard" Harrell
27. Mike "Never Leaving Memphis Because Cash Rules Everything Around Me C.R.E.A.M.!" Conley
26. Klay "Not Just Steph's Sidekick" Thompson
25. Trae "Ugliest Player in the League" Young
24. Ben "Kendall Jenner's Bae / Fresh Prince" Simmons
23. Nikola "Diet Jokic" Vucevic
22. Karl-Anthony "Who Was the Last Good Player With Two First Names?" Towns
21. Blake "Pray My Knees Will Be Okay Come April" Griffin
20. Devin "Should I Just Become a Point Guard?" Booker
19. Anthony "'I'll Tell On You To Rich Paul!' / AD" Davis
18. Russell "I Didn't Know a Professional Could Take Their Job Too Seriously / Why Not?" Westbrook
17. Joel "The Cameroonian Clown / The Process" Embiid
16. Bradley "Will Somebody Please Trade John Wall Already?" Beal
15. Donovan "Still Salty About His 2nd Place Spot In The ROTY Contest / Spida" Mitchell
14. Kemba "Can Do Cool Crossovers But May Never Win A Playoff Series" Walker
13. Luka "Thick and Slick / Halleluka" Dončić
12. Kawhi "Typically Silent, But Mostly Deadly / Klaw" Leonard
11. Kevin "Will Tell You He's Not Going to New York, But He's Probably Going to New York / KD" Durant
Kevin Durant is one of the three greatest scorers of all-time. Point, blank, period.
I used to believe that he was hands down the best bucket getter ever, but since James Harden decided to tell the rest of the league to go fuck themselves, my opinion has been altered.
KD did the same thing, you know, telling the league to go fuck themselves, but he did it in a much more insecure manner. I think this quote from Richard Jefferson summarizes the decision Durant made a couple of years ago really well.
Despite the douchiest off-season move in sports history, Kevin Durant is still the league's most prolific scorer not named James Harden.
Standing at an alleged 6 feet and 9 inches (this is the most well known lie in the world right now, Kevin Durant is a legitimate 7 footer, you cannot tell me different, I won't believe you), KD can get his shot off over any and everybody. His wingspan is 7'5", and he nearly shoots the ball downwards into the hoop in comparison to everyone else's upwards shooting motion.
The statistics don't suggest how dominant Kevin Durant has been the past three seasons. It's like if you took the best cook in the world from a four-star restaurant and put him in a five-star restaurant. His dishes would be overlooked because the chefs around him would be just as talented at making delicious dishes as he is.
The NBA community knew that KD's stats would go down once he decided to join the Warriors, but his efficiency suggests that he's been better than ever in his most recent seasons.
Kevin Durant's MVP Season in OKC vs. KD's Golden State Tenure
2013-14 (MVP): 32 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 5.5 APG, 50% FG, 39% 3PT, 87.3% FT, 56% EFG, 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks
2016-19: 25.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 5.4 APG, 52.3% FG, 38.4% 3PT, 88.3% FT, 58.2% EFG, 0.8 steals, 1.5 blocks
Durant's developed into one of the premier rim protectors in the Warriors's high flying system. He's been asked to play like a 7 footer for the first time in his career and it's equaled out to two championships so far. He couldn't have won two back-to-back Finals MVPs if it weren't for his running mate Stephen Curry.
10. Stephen "How Does The Greatest Shooter Ever Not Have An Actual Usable Nickname Yet? / Chef" Curry
Wardell "Stephen" Curry is the greatest shooter of all-time. Point, blank, period.
He has range that extends further than the legendary Pete Maravich, a quicker release than his record-breaking splash brother Klay Thompson, a better ability of creating space than the all-time leader in threes made, Ray Allen, and just started wearing contacts. So he essentially established his reputation of being the game's best shooter while having a blurry vision of the rim. That's fucking frightening.
His other-worldly ability to shoot from wherever the hell he desires is complimented by his wizard-like handle of the rock which is in the same category as the legendary likes of Kyrie Irving, Allen Iverson, Pistol Pete, and Tim Hardaway. Simply put, the league has never seen someone like Stephen Curry, and that's the primary reason why his ascension to superstardom was as quick as it was mesmerizing.
The craziest thing about Steph is that he's in his own club of players that make you say, "Holy shit, that GUY!" and he exists in a league that features Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. Two of those guys are three of the greatest pure scorers ever. One of them is the greatest player of all-time. And the other one has averaged a triple double for three seasons consecutively.
Once upon a time there used to be a legendary club of players who could eclipse shooting averages of 50/40/90 (50% from the field, 40% from three, and 90% from the charity stripe) across an entire season, but Steph has blown that group out of the fucking water since his first MVP season in 2015-16. Although he doesn't always reach 50% from the field, he's consistently been well above 40% from three and 90% from the line. His lacking in the field goal percentage department is a result of the difficulty-level of shots that he takes. Step-back threes from 30-plus feet, contested floaters over the fingertips of 7 footers, and ridiculous reverse layups.
Stephen Curry's Statistics from 2015-19
27.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 6.2 APG, 48.4% FG, 43.3% 3PT, 91% FT, 1.7 steals, 0.2 blocks
The reason for Stephen Curry being ahead of Kevin Durant in my Substance Report rankings is due to the fact that the Warriors are just a different breed when Steph is on the floor. His Player Efficiency Rating edges out KD by a half of a point (24.5 in comparison to 24 flat), and his Points Per 100 Possessions is nearly three whole points greater than Durant's (38.4 to 35.6). The Dubs wouldn't be themselves if it weren't for Curry's rise over the past half decade, and he's been an absolute revolution in this three point shooting league that exists now.
Prior to Curry's 2015-16 MVP season, the average amount of 3's attempted per game was 22.4, and now it's at a baffling amount of 32 three pointers being jacked up. This is directly influenced by the game's greatest shooter of all-time.