After what he’s called the best offseason of his NBA life, with a new baby boy, golf tournaments and daily doses of regimented basketball work, Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry has been named the NBA’s Western Conference Player of the Week for the second week of the 2018-19 season.
It’s the 13th time Curry has earned the award, more than any other Warriors player since the award was first given out in 1979. Over the last four games, Curry, 30, averaged 36.0 points (2nd in the NBA) on 54.7 percent shooting from the field (47-of-86 FG), 54.5 percent from three-point range (30-of-55 3FG) and 90.9 percent from the free throw line (20-of-22 FT), and averaged 4.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Curry’s latest week, during which Golden State has gone 4-0, has added to his historically bonkers start.
Curry started the week by sinking six 3-pointers against the Phoenix Suns to surpass Jamal Crawford for fifth place on the NBA’s all-time threes list. Against Washington on Oct. 24, Curry scored 23 points in the first quarter and 20 in the third, en route to an Oracle Arena personal high-tying 51 points and a 144-124 Warriors win. Curry capped off the week in Brooklyn on Oct. 28, setting a new NBA record by connecting on five-or-more 3-pointers in his seventh consecutive game.
En route to that, he’s beaten his own NBA records for threes in the first five and first six games, set in his second MVP year, 2015-16, when he won the award unanimously.
“I think he just works and gets better,” head coach Steve Kerr said after Curry’s 51-point game. “I think he’s at his physical and emotional peak right now, mental peak. He knows the game. It’s his 10th year. He knows the league, he knows his opponents, he knows his body, he looks stronger than ever, to me. His ability to finish plays in the lane is as good as it’s ever been. Maybe better. He’s just in a really good place.”
So far, Curry is off to a start comparable to that campaign. Over the first seven games, he’s shooting 52.9 percent from the field (55.3 over the same span in 2015-16), he’s averaging 33.9 points (same as the first seven of ’15-’16), he’s averaging 4.6 rebounds (4.7 in ’15-’16), dishing out 5.6 assists (6.0 in ’15-’16) and shooting 90.6 percent from the free throw line (91.5 in ’15-’16). The biggest difference, though, has come from beyond the arc. In his second straight MVP season, he was hitting 47.5 percent of his 3-point shots over the first seven games — already a remarkable number. Through his first seven games this year, he’s shooting an unconscionable 51.7 percent.
Curry finished the 2015-16 season with a then-career-best 20.1 ppg average, a then-career-best 50.4 shooting percentage, a near-career-best 45.4 3-point shooting percentage (45.5 in 2011-12 is his top mark), a career-best 63.0 effective field goal percentage, a career-best 5.4 rebounds per game, 6.7 assists per game and a career-best 2.1 steals per game.
“I think maybe the difference in ’15-’16, it was new,” Kerr said. “This time, people have seen this before, and I don’t think that he spends a whole lot of time comparing this season to any other season.”