Now in his thirteenth season with the Golden State Warriors at age 33, Stephen Curry continues to be many things to many people: one of the most entertaining players to watch of his era, a statistically and historically marvelous point guard, and, as of Nov. 12, the leading three-point scorer in NBA history.
The basket that would seal his fate and pass Ray Allen’s long-standing record came late in the second quarter at the Chase Center against the Chicago Bulls. A dual screen offered just enough space for a classic Curry: a pull-up jumpshot from well behind the line, and for the 3,359th time, it went in. He would record nine threes and 40 points that night in a blowout win.
According to Basketball Reference, at this time, Curry leads the league in points per game, three point attempts and makes. He is second only to Nikola Jokic in total win shares so far this season. He has scored under 20 points in a game only twice so far this season and has scored over 35 points six times in a span of 15 games.
Over his last six games, Curry has averaged 36 points on 52% field goals and 47.7% from three point land, seven assists, three turnovers, and two steals. He does all this on a 33.2% usage rate and a 29.2 player efficiency rating, good for sixth and fourth in the league respectively. That is to say, he is virtually unstoppable as of late.
On the NBA’s official MVP power ranking site, Curry currently sits at the very top, over players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jokic, and most notably, former teammate Kevin Durant.
This most likely comes in response to the Warriors’ 18-point blowout victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 16, in which Durant was held to 19 points on 6-19 shooting, good for a plus/minus of -24. Curry again recorded 9 three pointers on just 14 attempts, contributing to a true shooting percentage of 89 and a plus/ minus of +16.
The Nets had a record of 10-4 coming into this game. If Curry and company can do that to a good-to-great team, how about a team sporting a 9-8 record?
Another standout game was his Nov. 18 win against the Cavaliers in Cleveland. Down 11 points heading into the fourth quarter of play, Curry proceeded to feast in one of the greatest 12 minutes of his career, outscoring the entire Cavalier team 20-8 and recording a plus/minus of +26 on his way to a convincing 104-89 victory. An argument can be made that every Warriors basket in the fourth quarter either involved Curry or a teammate left wide open due to the defense overcommitting to Curry.
For Golden State, it’s all coming together just in the nick of time: the immaculate coaching, the players’ chemistry, and the development personnel all deserve credit for the Warriors’ impressive turn in fortune from the last two years’ combined 54-83 record. It’s like a flashback to their 2015-16 season, blowing good and bad teams out of the water. Now that we’ve seen what they’re capable of with a prime Curry at the helm, one question remains: how far away are the NBA Finals?
(* All stats compiled from Basketball Reference unless otherwise stated.)