What’s wrong with Stephen Curry?
Here’s an answer: Nothing.
Nothing is wrong with Curry. He’s doing everything he needs to do and he’s doing it very well. And he’s doing it on a team he’s still getting used to. The bottom line is that Curry’s playing exactly like a point guard should be playing — at least the point guard on this team, with this many weapons.
For most of his career, Curry has tried to embrace the role of point guard, and at times, it’s taken away from his No. 1 talent and God-given gift: Scoring. But last year, it all came together for Curry in a magical season. He scored more than he ever scored before — and in a big, big way, while also playing the role as primary ball-handler and assist man.
He averaged an eye-popping 30.1 points per game in 2015-16, more than six points higher than the 23.8 points he averaged the year before. His assists were fine, too, averaging 6.7 per game. This year his scoring is down, but what did you expect with Kevin Durant joining the Warriors? And he’s only averaging 5.8 assists per game, which figures because coach Steve Kerr has made Draymond Green the primary playmaker.
If Curry didn’t have the season he had last year, we’d be talking about how he’s averaging 24.2 points per game, the most in his career, and how he’s doing it with Durant as a teammate. My point is that if you’re looking for something to worry about as it relates to the Warriors, it shouldn’t be Curry.
Look at it this way, the role of a point guard in a game often comes down to this: At the beginning of the game, you look to get your teammates involved, see who’s got it going, milk that person or a few of those guys and then go from there. If your teammates are struggling to get it done or your team needs a little something extra, then, yeah, that’s when the point guard should get more aggressive, take matters into his hands a little more, if you know what I mean.
To me, that’s exactly what Curry is doing — only it’s taking place over the course of the season. Earlier this season, in an effort to be the consummate point guard, Curry may have gone out of his way to get teammates involved, most notably Durant. And what’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what a point guard should do?
I think you could make a case Curry is thinking more about the game than he ever has before, or at least this role on this specific team. Good. This is a complex offensive situation. Yes, it’s an embarrassment of scoring and playmaking riches but that’s why it’s got to be managed just right — and he’s the one who needs to manage it. Because he’s the best at that kind of thing on this team.
Now that we’re closing in on the halfway mark of the season, Curry is taking stock and trying to figure out where the team is and where his game is in relation to it. Forget that the Warriors are 31-5; it’s about them playing the best basketball they possibly can — and Curry is doing his part.
It’s apparent that Curry and the Warriors have figured out that he may need to take a more active role at the offensive end, perhaps become more of a scoring point guard, if you will. And, yes, even run some more pick-and-roll. That’s a natural process and a good process. And it’s one we should have known was coming. It’s a sign of growing, not struggling.
The other thing is this: Curry’s role may continue to evolve or even change over the course of the rest of the season. Maybe down the road he’ll have to more closely resemble the 30-point scorer he was a year ago; and maybe he’ll have to take a a few less shots in an effort to get more balance among his teammates. Whatever it takes, you know?
As for his 3-point shooting percentage hovering around 40 percent, which would represent a career-low, a couple of things: First, that’s not unexpected considering he’s playing alongside two new players — and one is a four-time scoring champ. He’s making an adjustment. Two, earlier in his career, Curry was known to be a slow starter. November and December weren’t his best months but he always came around. Same thing may very well happen this year.
No. 3 … 40 percent from 3-point range is still pretty darn good. In fact, it’s so good that we probably shouldn’t even be talking about what’s wrong with Curry.