Stephen Curry's Encore Performance
When the Golden States Warriors walked off with the 2014-2015 NBA Championship last June, conjecture immediately began regarding the future prospects for the team and its star players, league MVP point guard Stephen Curry and shooting guard Klay Thompson. Only three games into the 2015-2016 season, some of those questions are being emphatically answered.
To begin with, the Warriors have served notice that they intend to go undefeated through the entire season. Of course, that isn't going to happen, but decisive victories over the New Orleans Pelicans (111-95), Houston Rockets in Houston (112-92) and again over the Pelicans in New Orleans (134-120) has to have other teams in the league wondering. If it's possible for a team that finished 62-20 to come back the following season and be significantly better, than the rest of the league is surely in trouble and playing for runner-up status.
As for Curry, his performances this year have been nothing short of spectacular. The truth is he has turned the NBA into his own personal playground and he owns the ball. On the season, he is averaging 39.3 PPG (hello Wilt Chamberlain). He is shooting 58.8% from the field (mostly perimeter shots), 48.6% from beyond the 3-point line, and 95.5% from the charity stripe. As if that isn't a big enough contribution, he has also contributed 7.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. At this point in time, he has no rival to which he can be compared.
On what had to be the most satisfying night of his career, the Warriors opened the season at home on October 27 against the Pelicans. After watching the Championship banner raised and receiving his NBA Championship ring, Curry went out and scored 27 points in the first quarter of the season. The defense must have figured him out as he only scored 13 points the rest of the way to finish with 40 points for the game.
In the second game of the season, Curry decided to spread the ball around a little bit as he only took 15 shots, which is below his 2014-2015 average of 17 shots per game. He still led the team in scoring with 25 points, which is a testament to how deep and talented this team has become. As it turned out, he might have been saving his energy for the second of back-to-back road games to be held the next night in New Orleans.
That's a night the Pelicans would like to forget because Curry made them look downright silly on the court. All he did was score 53 points on 17 of 27 shooting from the field. In the process, he hit 8 of 14 from 3-point range (57.1%) and added 9 assists for good measure. The most amazing stat comes from Klay Thompson who has averaged only 13.0 PPG this season after scoring almost 22 PG last year. As long as Curry can sustain his one-man show, Thompson will be glad to save those points for the nights they are needed.
It's still early in the season, but Curry has this kind of talent. On several occasions, he has made defenders look like the straight man to his NBA comedy routine. The problem is no one else in the league is laughing. They are more concerned about wondering how much better Stephen can get before he levels off.