In his best year as a professional athlete, Stephen Curry is on pace to run 16.4 miles less this season than his last. The reigning three-point contest champion is currently averaging 2.4 miles covered per game as compared to 2.6 from the 2013-14 campaign, according to NBA.com. The MVP candidate is also averaging 33.5 minutes per game as opposed to last season's draining 36.5 minutes per game total. Average everything out and he's on pace to play 246 less minutes. If every minute counts and every step worth fretting over (this front office loves their progressive analytical "experiments") then they are succeeding. With that being said, let me submit a quote that directly counterpoints that entire notion.
"My 32, 33 minutes a game right now feels about like 40 last year," Curry said. "It's a tough task if you want to play at the level every single night that I expect, the coaches expect and teammates expect. That's a big deal."
You can read the entire piece here.
I'm sure most of you can piece the reasons why Curry would be feeling a bit tired.
"That's basically it" is a bit overarching when trying to delve into the reasons why Curry might feel like he's more spent despite running and playing a lot less. An Xs-and-Os thing seems intimidating, and it usually is, because we're not professional coaches. In this situation, however, it's a tad easier to justify why you would feel like you know the answer to his fatigue. Guarding the opposing point guard ostensibly opens up the defender to more wiggly and squirming through screens and unsuspecting backscreens. Ricky Rubio tore his ACL trying to fight over a screen. Point guards are much more exposed to this simply because they're trying to avoid while balancing through limbs at a higher pace. This does not, I repeat, does not at all mean that Curry is on pace to injure himself. Nobody knows when that will or will not happen, that's not how these things work.
There is a reason why great point guard defenders are either not point guards (Klay Thompson) or are mostly one-way players (Avery Bradley, Patrick Beverley). Noted point guard dynamo Chris Paul can be seen coasting through regular season games because the wear-and-tear can sometimes be too much.
Apologies for the blurriness.
As everyone already knows and has repeatedly stated, Klay Thompson is the one in front of Russell Westbrook, allowing Curry to "rest" or to play safety against the Reggie Jacksons and Thabo Sefoloshas of the world.
As compared to this season. For comparison's sake, we'll look at a mid-January game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
This time it's Thompson leaving Andre Roberson stranded in an ocean of nothingess as Curry struggles to fight over the screen against Westbrook. Granted, this video is a bad example of just how good Curry has been in those situations. But on numerous situations, Curry has had to fight through a screen on the wing, a re-screen as the big man resets, then another as the point guard can pass and cut through the baseline. That's a ton of work on one end.
To even push the point, the Warriors offense is still the same below-average unit it is without Curry at the helm. The team simply struggles to score at its league-leading rate without Curry, which is not surprising and its impact is what you want in a superstar. On the same token, when the games get close, Curry will have to stay on the court more. The minutes should start pushing upwards of 35-38 minutes as the incredible blowouts, at a historic pace, mind you, start to fade away. These aren't concerning results, rather just how reality works. The normal cycle of a team are even starting to show itself as the Warriors flailed but won against the New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Philadelphia 76ers.
But these are purely hypothetical scenarios. If we're to judge Curry on his shooting, he's been phenomenal, on pace to nearly join the 50-40-90 club while hoisting much more difficult shots than most people could even dream of. If we're worried about his shooting slump (at 39.9 percent from downtown), he has shown a career arc of shooting much better after the random demarcation point of the All-Star Weekend. It doesn't hurt that the Warriors get three more days off until the Friday night game against the San Antonio Spurs.
What the Warriors are currently doing is unprecedented in franchise and perhaps even league history. They rank near or at the top offense and defense in efficiency. with any advanced site you want to use (Nylon Calculus, Basketball Reference, NBA.com). We can only hope their engine, motor, windshield, and whatever else car part you can imagine can keep functioning at his highest level under the large amount of responsibility.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure they forced me to write this. Heh. If and when Curry explodes and wins the MVP and the first championship of a four-peat, come get me.