The Golden State Warriors were losing their grip on an early-season test against the rival Sacramento Kings, and Stephen Curry had seen enough. It was Oct. 27, and Golden 1 Center fans had witnessed a furious 20-6 fourth-quarter run to cut the Warriors’ lead — 15 points just three minutes earlier — to five with 45 seconds remaining. As Andrew Wiggins cut to the basket, pulling two defenders toward him, Curry snuck out to the top of the 3-point line as two Kings unsuccessfully closed out. Night night.
Curry’s 41-point performance in the second game of the season, a 122-114 win for the Warriors, set the tone for a red-hot start, even by Steph standards. He has been simply unstoppable on the court, averaging 30.9 points on 55.1% shooting from the field, 46.5% from 3, and an impressive 94.4% from the free-throw line. He has already made history by becoming the only player in NBA history to average at least 30 points through his first eight games of a season at age 35 or older.
This is not the first time Curry has had a remarkable start to the season. He has achieved the impressive feat of averaging 30 points on 50-45-90 shooting splits through his first eight games in a season for the third time in his career. No other NBA player has accomplished this. Moreover, Curry has led the Warriors outright in scoring in all eight games, establishing the longest streak to begin a season by a player at age 35 or older.
Moving Beyond Individual Brilliance
While Curry’s individual brilliance has been a sight to behold, it is worth noting that the Warriors are no longer solely reliant on his theatrics to keep the offense running. Last season, Curry started hot but suffered a shoulder injury in December, leaving the team in a precarious position. The Warriors needed him to dominate games just to have a shot at winning, and when he sat, Golden State would drown.
However, the team’s improved defense this season has been crucial in ensuring that the Warriors can stay competitive even when Curry is off the court. When Curry is not playing, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by an impressive 11.5 points per 100 possessions. Their defensive efficiency has significantly improved, as they are giving up just 98.2 points per 100 possessions when Curry is on the bench.
One crucial factor in the Warriors’ success this season has been the addition of Chris Paul during the offseason. Paul, a future Hall of Famer, has spearheaded the team’s efforts to reduce turnovers. When Curry is on the bench, the Warriors are among the top five in the league in turnover percentage. Additionally, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by more than 13 points per 100 possessions with Paul on the floor and Curry off it. This has contributed to the team’s bench unit performing exceptionally well and maintaining or building leads.
Curry’s incredible performances on the court are not solely driven by technique and skill; there is an undeniable joy and sense of accomplishment that radiates from him. Even he admits to surprising himself at times, such as his memorable moment against Dillon Brooks in Houston. The move and celebration that followed were not planned but were a pure expression of the joy he experiences while playing the game he loves.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has run out of superlatives to describe Curry’s greatness. Kerr has compared him to Michael Jordan, his former Chicago Bulls teammate, and has even said watching Curry play is like a religious experience. The 35-year-old Curry continues to defy age and expectations, continuously striving to improve and find new ways to excel. There is no doubt that the two-time MVP has solidified his place among basketball’s elite.
As the season progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that Curry could make a strong push to win his third MVP, becoming the oldest player to receive the award. His sensational performances have left teammates and opponents in awe, with Warriors forward Draymond Green acknowledging his impactful contributions in crucial games. The possibility of Curry winning another MVP title is not far-fetched, given his extraordinary skills and the impact he has on the game.
Stephen Curry’s red-hot start to the season has been nothing short of extraordinary. His record-breaking performances, combined with the improved overall performance of the Warriors, have elevated him to the status of a basketball legend. Not only is Curry rewriting the record books, but he is also leading his team to victory with his unmatched talent and unwavering determination. As the season unfolds, all eyes will be on Curry, waiting to witness his next incredible feat on the court.