Well this is a weird feeling: the Warriors have twice as many wins as losses, and it's mid-December.
And the Warriors are doing it without the big man, Andrew Bogut, who was supposed to change the team, and a key rotation player like BRush. So what's brought this change? To me it's pretty evident; we can point it all to one man's change in play: Stephen Curry.
The minute Steph got more aggressive, we started winning more. Since that 6 point clunker v. Denver, Curry has responded by averaging 23 points per game on 17.8 shots per game (45.1% from field, 50% on 3s! .596ts%), 8.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds.
23 ppg on .596TS%, 8,1 assists. Those are MVP numbers..
During the first 13 games, Warriors were 7-6. Steph was taking 14.7 shots a game. Modest, but not the best use of him. Since then, he's been taking 17.8 shots and he’s been over 20 points every game. And since he's seen an increase in his shots, we've been 7-1; since he started attacking defenses more aggressive, we've been winning.
That's who Steph is.
Hes not a prototypical PG. He's maybe the league's best shooter, and one of only players you can legitimately say 'that's not a bad shot' no matter where he takes it (he led the NBA in mid-range shooting percentage last year).
One thing, Jalen Rose says, which I agree with is, "Positions were created so the novice could follow the game. You ARE your skillset". There is no right way to play point guard, shooting guard, center etc. As a team, you need certain things, and maybe it's more beneficial if you get them certain ways but it's not necessary. We just saw Miami win a title with a point power forward, who ran the offense sometimes, posted up other times, guarded centers and point guards. I mean what is that? That's nothing prototypical. But it worked.
This idea we would be better with a prototypical point guard - or the national media's favorite talking point, OKC needs a real PG - is just false. What we need (or heck OKC) is good ball movement, and collective team passing/playmaking. Not one man to do it all. Steph is always going to be a score first player, and quite frankly, he should be. He's VERY good at it. He's an elite shooter and scorer. We need to stop thinking of him as 'not a point guard' and think more abstractly. If Steph is doing X, how can we get what he's not doing out of other areas of the team? Who cares if we're getting more playmaking out of a wing or a PF. As long as the team collectively if moving the ball and getting it.
Credit must be given to Coach Mark Jackson, who’s said all year Steph is a scoring PG and needs to be more aggressive looking for his shot to set up his teammates, to "stop trying to play like Mark Jackson, and play his own game." The more pressure he puts as a scoring threat, the more passing lanes open up. Curry has the ability to put up Rose/Westbrook box-score type superficial numbers, only on increased efficiency because he's a better shooter.
The only other time I saw him play like this was his rookie year under Don Nelson who drilled it into his mind to attack, open up the court, then find teammates. As a rookie he was first guy since Michael Jordan to have a 35 point triple double. He averaged 22 and 7 for second half of season. He had everything to be great. Then we hired a guy who wanted to make him something like Rondo or Calderon. Steph just didn't shoot enough, and it was a wasted one of his best gifts.
And while Nellie deserves a lot of praise for recognizing this in Steph, Jackson equally deserves praise for finally getting Steph to start playing the way he's capable, and not trying to get him to play like he's Mark Jackson2.0.
Keep it up Steph. You are your skillset, and that skillset is as one of league's most lethal shooters and craftiest playmakers when teams worry about your scoring ability.