Lighting the fires on Eddy Curry

Mike Ehrmann - Getty Images

Eddy Curry with Spurs for training camp

After yesterday's excellent post from Aaron Preine, Checking the tires on Tim Duncan, I couldn't resist writing something about the man that the Whirlwide Liter ranked as the worst player in the NBA. Yes, the 7 foot tall Illinoisan from Harvey who shunned DePaul University to jump straight to the NBA. The same Thornwood High School graduate that, in the 2002-2003 season, became the first Chicago Bull since Michael Jordan to lead the league (58.5% field goal percentage) in a major statistical category. The gentleman who played a total of 83 minutes for the Miami Heat last year, and was buried so deep on the bench that he logged nary a minute in the postseason.

Yes, that Eddy Curry.

Now, it's not like the Spurs have been a franchise to shun the occasional reclamation project. From Nick Van Excel to Glenn Robinson (who even won a ring in SA in 2005) and beyond, it's been a normal occurrence for a semi-random league malcontent to be snagged off the association's scrap heap and slotted into the rotation in San Antonio. In fact, it was March of this year, at last season's trade deadline, that PATFO added Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson: a couple of players who had already worn out their welcomes with multiple teams.

So, when R.C. Buford agrees to sign someone whose reputation doesn't quite mesh with the template of the prototypical Spur, the franchise has earned a good amount of leeway from its fans. Enough for us to at least take a breath before overreacting.

BUT EDDY CURRY? REALLY! WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?

He's the poster boy for NBA underachievers. After showing early promise, he's settled in, and for his career, he has averaged more turnovers per game (2.2) than blocks (.7), steals (.3) and assists (.5) COMBINED. He has, and this is putting it kindly, struggled with his weight for years; with the highlight being in 2009 when his own personal trainer stated that it would be "delusional" for then coach Mike D'Antoni to think Curry could get down to 285lbs, which was the weight at which the Knicks listed him. At that time, he tilted the scales at 328. Today, he's noticeably slimmer, but the question remains as to whether that's sustainable for him.

Since the end of the 2007-2008 season, he has played 24 games. No, that's not a per-year stat, that's a total. He's struggled with irregular heartbeat. He's tangled with his coaches at multiple stops. He's been bought out, passed over, and declared washed up.

I'm not known for doing hatchet-jobs on players, and I don't mean this to be one either. Everything I've referred to was pretty well documented long before the first time Curry donned the silver and black. The truth is that I prefer a comeback story to almost any other kind, and what would be a bigger headline than Eddy turning things around in the Alamo city? For me, that would be a LINSANITY-level shocker.

Sure, the odds are against him, but a success of his wouldn't be much of a feel-good story without him being a long shot. Chances are that he will only be with the team through training camp, where he'll be a (hopefully) active body for Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter, DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner to practice against. But who knows what could happen? I'm not much of a betting man, but the last time I checked, it's the underdogs that pay off the best. And since everyone with a pulse is constantly mentioning the Spurs' need for another big, it would be pretty serendipitous if Curry has a renaissance this year and returns to relevance.

(h/t to Matthew Tynan and Jesus Gomez for the stats work)

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