Will Stephen Curry’s efficiency force a broader acceptance of advanced statistics? Even for people who don’t follow the numbers behind the sport with a keen eye, it’s hard to not to do a double take when shown the graphic. Curry’s 386 three pointers vaulted him over previous record holder, Ray Allen on Saturday.
It’s a different era for sure, but even given the systemic changes we’ve seen to basketball recently (changes that Curry is at least partially responsible for) this is still an impressive feat - and even more impressive given that he did it in nearly half as many games.
Some pictures say 1000 words. This picture says 1: Legend. pic.twitter.com/SbmRMzccny— Warriors Huddle (@WarriorsHuddle) April 14, 2019
Putting advanced stats in the barbershop conversation
As someone who has spent an undue amount of time talking about basketball online, my good friend Daniel Hardee sometimes has to pull me back into reality with something along the lines of “you’d get laughed out of the barbershop with that one.” Whether it be my stance that DeMar DeRozan is not really all that different a player than Kobe Bryant, or saying Jrue Holiday is at least as good as John Wall - the “not in the barbershop” quip serves as a shorthand reminder that analytics will only get you so far.
This isn’t a unique problem for me. As a dude that spent a lot of time on the debate team in college, I quickly had to learn that people on the internet generally don’t give a damn about fallacies in rhetoric.
But back to Curry, a man who is dominating the NBA over the past handful of season. At around 6’2”, it’s not that we’ve never seen a guy this small dominate, it’s that those small guys were doing more physically impressive-looking things. Iverson had no fear of the inside, Hardaway had that nasty crossover...but Curry? He’s just better at a basic skill than anyone else: the jumpshot.
That list above is impressive enough on it’s own, but Twitter mastermind (and ex-GSOM member - miss you tafkasam!) Sam Esfandiari points out, Curry’s all-time great performance looks even more impressive within the context of how many shots it took to put up those numbers.
Steph 11-16, 38 pts— sam esfandiari (@samesfandiari) April 14, 2019
Russ 17-39, 45pts
Kobe 15-29, 48pts
Jordan 14-31, 38 pts
Jordan 14-25, 40 pts
Gervin 15-31, 39pts https://t.co/NdIcFI05fk
It’s a testament to the growing respect for Curry’s game that his place on the NBA pantheon is even as high as it is. Despite a number of metrics showing that he could very well be the most impactful player in the game, for now, we’ll have to satisfy ourselves by talking around advanced analytics, and just tell the guys at the barbershop that Curry doesn’t need as many shots to break the records he’s breaking.