Can Steph Curry push Bradley Beal for the scoring title?

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Mike DePrisco
·3 min read
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Can Curry push Beal for the scoring title? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

For most of the season, Bradley Beal has had a stranglehold on the NBA lead in points per game. 

After a career year last season averaging 30 points for the first time, Beal took it to another level in 2020-21 and is scoring just over 31 points per game. With roughly 20 games left in the regular season, Beal is in the driver's seat for his first-ever scoring title, but is there anyone who can catch him?

The Wizards Postgame Live crew debated it ahead of Wizards vs. Warriors Friday night, and the consensus choice was, in fact, Stephen Curry. 

"Steph Curry, ladies and gentlemen, is here," Chris Miller said. "The last four games, he gave the Bucks a 41-piece, then he gave the Hawks 37, he gave the Heat 36 and he gave the Bulls 32. He's averaging 36 points in the last four games while shooting 41% from three.

"So the reason I say he could potentially catch Brad, is Brad just played a game in which he didn't even get to the free-throw line because of injury," Miller said. "Brad is so great that he could still get close to 30 without taking any free throws, but his 3-pointers are not like he used to shoot it. He has figured out the cheat code when he's healthy by getting to the free-throw line, to supplement his offense. Steph Curry is still shooting threes at a high clip."

Curry missed basically all of last season with a wrist injury and has come back as an MVP candidate for Golden State. He's averaging 29.7 points and shooting over 40% from three on 11.5 attempts per game. If not for him, the Warriors would likely be where they were last season as one of the worst teams in the NBA. 

The case for Curry being able to catch Beal is similar to how Beal has put up such impressive scoring numbers all year. Curry is the only consistent offensive option for Golden State. Without him, they can't get any easy baskets and if they want to make the playoffs or play-in tournament, Curry is going to have to score a ton of points. 

"When you talk about a guy that can actually catch Brad, it has to be a guy that can be a walking 40-ball," Tony Massenburg said. "That would be Steph Curry, and not only is he lethal in the way he goes about his business shooting from three, but the act that his team is not as good as say, Dallas when you look around at the pieces that he has. 

"Steph really has to be the guy, he doesn't rely on the 3-pointers just to score," Massenburg said. "He also gets to the line because he's constantly in motion and guys tend to foul him. Even on 3-point shots, guys tend to foul him... This is a guy who's an all-around scorer who so happens to be the most lethal 3-point shooter the game has ever seen."

Beal should still keep his eye on players like Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard and maybe even Kyrie Irving as the season winds down, especially considering the hip injury that cost him five-straight games beginning at the end of March.

But Curry, as the guys said, is the main threat to such an impressive accomplishment for Beal at 27 years old.