Steph Curry Is Still Unreal
Some more facts about Steph Curry:
- Curry is currently shooting 12.7 three-pointers per game, and he’s making 6.6 of them. That’s 51.7 percent. At that pace, he would only need 61 games to break his own record for three-pointers in a season. He’s made at least five threes in every game so far, which makes him the only player ever to hit five or more in seven straight games.
- He’s accounted for over half of Golden State’s threes, despite sharing the floor with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Only seven other players in the NBA have taken even half as many threes as Curry, and only two other players have made half as many. The Cavs, Nuggets, and Thunder, as teams, don’t have as many made threes as Curry. Here’s a chart from a few days ago.
- His own teammates can’t help but lose their minds when Curry goes off.
- ESPN’s Nick Friedell said on the most recent Lowe Post Podcast that Curry’s teammates were yelling at him from the bench during the Washington game not to pass.
- Curry is shooting 45.5 percent on threes after 7+ dribbles. He’s shooting 47.4 percent with a defender within 2-4 feet of him.
- The Warriors are 6-1, and their lone loss was a two-point nail-biter in Denver that they almost certainly would have won if they had tried in the second and third quarters or if Damian Jones hadn’t have had his buzzer-beater blocked. They have a 118.7 offensive rating, and they’re going to win the championship again.
- Through seven games, Curry is averaging 33.9 points, 5 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 2.7 turnovers on 34.9 minutes per game. Here is his shot chart, via Cleaning The Glass:
- He doesn’t seem to notice or care who’s guarding him and where they are.
- Curry has always danced away from the play before his shots go down, but he’s never looked so much like someone who can actually see the future as he does this year. It’s not that he’s running away more or celebrating with the ball in the air every game, either. You can just tell by looking at his body language. When he lines it up right, it’s going in.
- The first tenth or so of Curry’s 2018-19 campaign is almost statistically equal to his unanimous MVP season in 2015-16. This year, he’s playing about the same number of minutes per game as he did in 2015-16, his assists are a hair down, in large part because Klay hasn’t made a shot all year, he’s turning it over less, and he’s stealing the ball less frequently. The only significant difference is that he’s taking, and making, an extra 1.5 three-pointers per game.
That would be remarkable in a vacuum, but Steph is doing it alongside Kevin Durant, an alien from space who’s been somewhere between the second- and third-best player in the NBA for nine seasons. He didn’t have Durant in 2015-2016, and that (dominant) Warriors team amounted to an altar of worship for the Steph Curry three-pointer. One might assume that Durant has scooched over to make room for Curry this season as a concession that this is still Curry’s team. But Durant has in fact not slowed down at all this season; as it happens, he’s currently shooting more than ever he has in his career, sporting the highest usage percentage of his Warriors tenure, tossing assists more often and more effectively than he ever has before, and not even fouling much at all despite logging 80 percent of his minutes at either the four or the five. The man is still an absolute world destroyer. And yet he has also been the second-best player on his team.
Rather than steal each other’s shots or push each other off their spots, Curry and Durant have each enhanced the best aspects of the other’s game. Durant thrives in the mid-range, and he’s getting anything he wants partially because of Curry’s running and spacing. Curry is the beneficiary of all the attention Durant draws, and at this point, Durant clearly knows how to find Curry on all those little cuts he does. Also, from a purely mechanical standpoint, Durant is really tall and he has those lion’s mane jellyfish arms that allow him to just throw it over the top of the smaller defenders who try to keep up with Curry. The last pair of teammates to average 30 points per game was Jerry West and Elgin Baylor in 1961-62, and these two could absolutely match them. Look at how easy it can be.
Steph Curry wants to win his third MVP award. Both Durant and Andre Iguodala have said this year that they think both Curry and Durant are unlikely to win it given that they’ve both won it before, and because their coeval achievements may cause voters to mentally cross both of them off the ballot. Those arguments hold water—consider, for instance, that LeBron James only has four MVPs. Curry knows he needs to be overwhelmingly great to win another MVP, and thus far, he’s gunning at a ludicrous rate. He might slow down, but also the Warriors thrive when he’s at his zaniest and most unrestrained. Steve Kerr has said that he wants Curry to shoot the ball whenever he touches it.
That said, who knows, the summer is a long way away, and it’s more fun to watch Curry do shit like this than it is to parse his MVP chances.
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