OAKLAND, Calif. — Wednesday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers served as a shot of methadone for all of the Stephen Curry addicts of the world.
The two-time MVP danced and dazzled his way to 35 points, his second highest point total of the season, to go along with seven rebounds and five assists.
His up-and-under layup in the 3rd quarter (where he switched the ball from his left hand to his right in mid air) gave us that warm fuzzy feeling that felt all too similar just a season ago.
Curry looked noticeably aggressive right from the tip. Maybe it was because Damian Lillard missed the game with an ankle injury. Or it could of been the Blazers’ undependable pick and roll defense.
Or maybe, just maybe.. It was Steph being Steph.
Many point to the addition of Kevin Durant as to why Curry’s production has dropped in comparison to last season. Which is a legitimate argument.
A team does not simply plug in a career 27 ppg scorer and expect everybody to play the exact same way as before.
So yes, Curry’s numbers are down from a season ago. But how does one honestly top one of the greatest offensive seasons from any player in the last 30 years? (See: OKC Thunder & Russell Westbrook).
Curry may not be on a blistering record setting pace for made three-pointers but he is still on pace to net over 300 treys, which last time I checked has only been accomplished one time before by Mr. Unanimous himself.
As you can see from the table above, Curry’s numbers are pretty similar to his first MVP season in 2014-15. The same season mind you that Golden State won its first NBA championship in 40 years.
Watching Curry set the league on fire last season was exhilarating. However as we came to see come playoff time, the over reliance on Steph’s wizardry was not sustainable enough to lift the Dubs to a second consecutive championship.
So rather than trying to replicate last season with the expectation of a different outcome, Curry is playing within his and his teammates’ game.
“He knows to shoot,” Draymond Green said of Curry after Golden State’s victory over Portland. “I think that everybody makes a big deal of him not taking a lot of shots in certain games or here and there. At the end of the day, he’s a smart player. He plays within the flow of the game.”
Playing within the flow of the game will not get you MVP considerations. Instead it makes you a fringe all-star on the best team in the NBA with the occasional SportsCenter top play nomination and record setting performance.
As Draymond so eloquently put it after last night’s game, “When the game says shoot, you shoot. When the game says pass, you pass.”
Make no mistake about it, Curry is in full control of his game.
As of today, the Warriors lead the NBA in offensive efficiency (116.3) and defensive efficiency (104). They also hold an ace up their sleeve in the form of the Curry-Durant pick and roll which Steve Kerr will most likely start to use more of as the Playoffs near.
If you’re worried about Curry’s numbers, don’t trip chocolate chip because his game is still sweet. This season is simply a step forward in his career in learning how to pick and choose the necessary spots of when he needs to unleash his fury.
It’s merely just a schmuck’s opinion, but save it for June Steph.