NEW ORLEANS — Lately, lots of heavy hitters around the NBA circle have had the name Stephen Curry on their tongues. So much so that Curry's name has made its way into the Rookie of the Year conversation.
The latest example came Sunday afternoon on national television. Former coach and current ABC television analyst Jeff Van Gundy gave out his annual awards. Best rookie went to Curry.
But does Curry really have a shot?
Her certainly has a better chance than he did in December. Back then, Sacramento's Tyreke Evans and Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings, who dropped 55 on the Warriors a month earlier, got all the ROY love.
Curry has knocked Jennings into third place and is challenging Evans, who at one point was considered a no-brainer. He's done it by putting together two stellar months.
He was Western Conference Rookie of the Month in January after averaging 19.1 points and 5.1 assists in 15 games. Last month, he improved those numbers, averaging 21.5 points and 7.3 assists in 12 games.
"This kid is a scoring machine," TNT analyst Doug Collins said. "He absolutely has such a great feel to shoot the ball, he's a very good ball handler and an excellent passer."
Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy called Curry the best overall player in the rookie class.
"The game at the offensive end is just so easy for him," Van Gundy said. "He never looks stressed. He's able to take whatever the defense gives him. He makes great
"He really reminds me a lot of watching a guy like Steve Nash. He may not be quite as quick and maybe (has) a little bit more of a scorer's mentality. But whatever you do defensively, he's able to read it and make the right play."
Still, Evans' production is at near historic levels. He is averaging 20.3 points, 5.4 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 37.1 minutes — for the season. If he finishes with averages of at least 20 points, five assists and five rebounds, he'll join Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only rookies to have done so.
Unlike Curry, whose numbers in November and December reflect a rookie finding his way, Evans hasn't had a bad month.
And even though Jennings' production has tapered off significantly since his hot start, he is the floor general for a team with a winning record and on track to make the playoffs.
But right now, neither has the buzz going for him as does Curry.
That includes one quote his teammates enjoy most of all.
Curry and some teammates were walking through Lenox Mall in Atlanta last week when a passer-by uttered the phrase Curry hasn't been able to live down. Fellow Warriors Chris Hunter and Anthony Tolliver have been shouting it all weekend.
"Steph Currrrrrry, baby!"