Stephen Curry has come back to earth after last season’s miraculous regular season, and we’re all seeing the superstar in a new light.
To a certain extent, everyone is much more critical of Curry, and he’s being looked at under the same light as his fellow superstars. This is welcoming. Since he’s beginning to enter micro-analyzation territory, his down numbers have caused quite the stir.
The Chef is having what we consider a down year, and he’s averaging just 24.8 points on 47 percent shooting and 5.8 assists in 38 games with the Golden State Warriors this season.
According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, the reigning two-time MVP is aware of his lessened production, but he’s not worried:
“Yeah, I heard the words ‘slump’ and ‘down year’ and all sorts of other ways to describe something that wasn’t really a problem for me. I obviously hold myself to the highest standard. Still, at this point, I’m not at the numbers I was last year, but I’m not worried about that because it’s a different year. Every shot I take, I have confidence I’m going to make it, and over the course of the season, I expect that to show itself as we go along.”
Because of the Herculean effort he put forth last season, being the NBA’s leading scorer at 30.1 points a night while entering the 50-40-90 club, Curry, much like how he’s done to himself, has given the fans a level of excellence to expect. Some are quick to write-off his talents as a ballplayer, and that’s absurd, but Kevin Durant‘s arrival impacted his volume.
Over the first 18 games of the season, Golden State was running rampant, and Durant’s seamless assimilation into the Warriors’ offense overshadowed Curry’s production. For October and November, Curry was shooting 49.4 percent from the field, 42.1 from three and pouring in 26.6 points a night.
His slump started on Dec. 5. After back-to-back performances of 28 and 31, Curry failed to crack 20 points (19.7) for the final 14 games, and his percentages were absolutely atrocious: 41.4 percent overall and 36.5 from three. However, Curry’s most jarring stat is his plus-16 plus/minus during last month.
Chef also did his part on the defensive end. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. For the most part, teams were avoiding Curry because he was playing like an All-Defensive player, and I say that with as little hyperbole as possible. Among the four All-Stars, Curry’s opponents attempted 8.8 shots a game on average, the fewest among Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Furthermore, he held those opponents to 38.6 percent from the field, a clip that was nearly six points less than their average.
Granted, the Dubs did their part to keep Curry away from the better players, but he limited whoever he guarded, and that’s the key takeaway.
Steph, however, isn’t phased by his offensive slump. “That is the one that’s most comical, because if you look at the numbers at that point, in the politest way, I’ll take those slump numbers any day of the week,” said Curry to ESPN. “But I know it’s a long year and a lot more games to play. I try not to get caught up in that nonsense. It’s a roller-coaster ride of a season. It is what it is.”
I’m sure it would’ve been a lot different if the Warriors didn’t go 13-3 over their 16 games last month, but the new year doesn’t call for living in the past, and 2017 has re-energized the three-time All-Star.
Golden State has played four games thus far, and Curry looks like his old self. He’s scoring at 31.8 points a night and has nailed 50 percent of his shots. From three, he hasn’t yet cracked 40 percent (39), but the volume is there, and Curry’s already bucketed 18 threes in those games.
Even with Curry’s hot and cold play, the Warriors hold the best record in the NBA and sit at 32-6. The players’ slumps are nothing to worry about for Golden State since they have enough talent to make up for someone underperforming. What they need to worry about is beating quality opponents. They’ve only dropped six contests this year, but five have come at the hands of top-5 teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies (twice).
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