An individual is clearly the best at their craft when the only remaining records for them to break are… their own. That’s essentially what Warriors superstar Steph Curry is attempting right now regarding his three-point shooting proficiency.
So far this season, Curry has made 47.3% of his threes, which would break his previous career high of 45.4%, which he set in 2015-16 – when he unanimously won MVP. He’s not slowing down on his attempts either. Quite the opposite, actually. Curry is shooting 12.4 threes per game, which would also be a career-high, topping the 11.7 threes he attempted per game in 2018-19.
Curry’s true shooting percentage is an absurd 71.6%, his offensive box plus/minus is a league-leading 10.6 per 100 possessions, and he’s averaging exactly 30.0 points per game, to boot.
Lonely At the Top?
Curry already claims many of the greatest three-point shooting seasons in NBA history. He possesses the fifth-most, fourth-most, third-most, and most three-pointers made in a season – the only other player in the top five is James Harden, who has the second-most in a season, a feat he accomplished in 2018-19.
In the best of those seasons (2015-16) Curry became – and remains to this day – the only player in NBA history to make 400 three-pointers in a single season. And now, two weeks into 2023-24, Curry is on pace to surpass 400 made threes in a season yet again.
He’s currently making 5.9 threes per game, which means – if he plays all 82 games this season at that pace, he will finish the season with 483 of them.
That probably won’t happen, considering Curry hasn’t played more than 70 games in a season since 2016-17, he’s in his fifteenth season, and the Warriors have seen firsthand how an exhaustive regular season can lead to fatigue in the playoffs.
So while nearing 500 might be a lofty goal even for Curry, a few statistics show that he might be able to maintain something close to this pace.
Why He Might Break 400
Well, hitting shots like this will help a little.
It also might help to continue playing consistent minutes with new Warriors guard Chris Paul. The duo has played 114 minutes together and the Warriors’ offensive rating is 119.8 when they share the court.
Unsurprisingly, adding one of the best passers in NBA history, and putting him on the floor with the best shooter in NBA history, leads to positive results.
In addition, Steph Curry is being assisted on 68% of his made threes this season, per Cleaning The Glass, the second-highest mark of his career, meaning he is getting more open looks that he’s not forced to create for himself. Paul’s ballhandling ability lessens the burden Steph has to carry as both the primary ballhandler and shot-creator.
Curry is the greatest shooter of all time, in part because of his ability to find space and get a shot off by himself. But he’s also perhaps the best-conditioned player in the NBA; thus, having another elite passer who can find him when he’s running off screens – or his defenders simply get exhausted trying to defend him – will lead to an even higher rate of open shots.
A New Threshold
Curry does not need any more individual awards to cement his legacy. However, if he even wants to be considered for MVP or All-NBA teams this season, he’ll need to play in at least 65 games, a rule implemented in the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
This, in all likelihood, will lead to more players playing more games throughout the lengthy regular season.