Curry hitting 79.1 percent of his three-point shots, a career record

Steph Curry
November 21, 2022

The Golden State Warriors, the defending champions, are off to a disappointing 7-9 start this year, which has them currently outside of even the play-in image in the competitive Western Conference. Worryingly, they’re under.500 despite some very outstanding games from Steph Curry.

 

Curry has scored 32.2 points, 6.6 assists, and 6.7 rebounds per game in 15 games while shooting 52.8 % from the field, 44.3 % from 3-point range, and 90.9 % from the foul line. He’s 3rd in the league in average, leads the league by a large margin in 3-pointers made (77, as opposed to 55 for Buddy Hield, who is second), and is on pace to become the only player to have multiple 50/40/90 seasons, joining Larry Bird and Steve Nash.

 

Curry’s dominance has come, as usual, from outside the arc. Looking beyond the conventional metrics, he’s shooting an incredible 46.8 percent on off-the-dribble 3s this season. To put that in context, Donovan Mitchell is the only other player who makes at least five off-the-dribble 3s each game and shoots over 40% on those attempts. But you could continue on and on about his shooting, which has been extensively chronicled over the years.

 

Instead, it’s worth examining Curry’s scoring around the basket, which has been an underappreciated component of his strong start. His 5.7 two-point attempts per game and 63.7 field goal within the arc are career highs, contributing to his increased efficiency. On the other hand, his handling and finishing in the paint stand out.

 

According to Basketball-Reference, he’s hitting 79.1 percent of his three-point shots, a career-high. He’s scoring 1.522 points per possession on shots described as “at the rim” by Synergy Sports, putting him in the same tier as big guys like Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns. According to the NBA’s analytics site, he is 76.4 percent in the constricted area, and among the players who have at least as many as Curry’s 55 attempts, he is the 12th most effective; only Donovan Mitchell is shorter than him.

 

Curry has been exceptional around the hoop in every way you want to look at it.

 

“Of course, acknowledging I can throw the ball and laid a lot of pressure on the opponents there, you gotta be able to have a change-up to go to the paint and find innovative ways to finish,” Curry said after the Warriors’ Nov. 11 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. “I’m not playing from above the rim, so it’s only about playing angles and possessing some touch. You have to use your shooting as a threat to open up driving lanes, so I’ve been fortunate to do that. Even coming off excellent screens from players, I’m not afraid of contact. I don’t go to the foul line as much as I used to, but I’m still trying to find out how to get your zone, get your driving angle, guard the ball, get it on the rim, and wish it goes in.”

 

Of course, Curry has gotten some transition looks and has caught defenders cheating with backdoor cutters. On the other hand, most of his eyes in the painting could have been more straightforward, which makes what he’s doing much more astounding. Here’s a deeper look at his attack’s most notable features.

 

As he previously stated, just because he does not play above the rim – he has zero dunks this season – does not imply he is afraid of contact. He’ll never leap over opponents, but he can use his physicality to his advantage. As a guard, one method is to jump first and make contact.

 

Watch how Curry drives, gets off the ground before Julius Randle, and slams into his chest; this keeps Randle on the ground and prohibits him from successfully disputing the layup.

 

We saw an extreme example against the Detroit Pistons when Curry came downhill in the grab, and his left foot near the dotted circle before Isaiah Stewart was ready. Curry pushes into Stewart to trap him on his hip and glides unchallenged to the hoop.

 

To finish in the paint, you must first get there, and Curry has excelled as a ballhandler. While he’s consistently had one of the league’s most excellent handles, he’s also been known to be sloppy in possession. He’s only turned the ball over 2.7 times a game this season, the second-lowest number of his career; he was holding the ball on a string and had been using that possession for cooking opponents on the perimeter. One of his favorite tactics this season has been a behind-the-back movement to his right hand.

 

Some of his endings have been so absurd that it’s reasonable to curious if he can keep converting at this rate. At the same time, given everything he’s accomplished in his career, you usually don’t want to start doubting Steph Curry.

 

“There aren’t enough adjectives to express Steph’s play; he’s just incredible every night,” Steve Kerr remarked. “If there’s one area where he’s substantially better today than when I first got here, It’s because of his strength and conditioning. He’s much larger and stronger, capable of defending at an extremely high level, playing two-way basketball for an entire game, and simply knocking down jumpers from all over and finishing at the rim. He’s incredible.”

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