OAKLAND — Everyone seems to be worried about what’s wrong with Stephen Curry The national sports shows can’t figure it out: Where’s the Steph we’ve come to know and love?
They act like Curry himself didn’t expect a dip in his usage and numbers when he helped recruit Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors over the offseason.
Yes, he isn’t matching the pace of last season, when he sustained the hottest shooting streak in NBA history en route to 402 made 3-pointers.
But, was it ever reasonable to expect a repeat performance?
The team is loaded in a way that on many nights Durant will lead the group in shots, and on other nights, like Monday, it’ll be Curry.
“I’m not going to fall into the temptation of abandoning what makes us successful just to say I shot more,” he explained after beating the Portland Trail Blazers, 125-117.
Dating back to last year’s MVP ceremony, both Curry and head coach Steve Kerr have repeatedly joked that Steph set himself up for unfair comparisons by putting together such a ridiculous season. What we’re seeing this year can be chalked up to a return to the norm, which is still remarkable as he’s shooting .
We marveled in 2014-15 when he set the record for most threes made in a season at 276. This year, he’s on pace to beat that mark — but, barring an unforeseen hot streak — he’ll return to where he was the three seasons prior to last year, scraping the bottom at just 300-plus 3-pointers.
Last year was the outlier. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Sure, Under Armour and those in charge of marketing the league probably aren’t ecstatic that Curry can’t achieve the impossible year over year. But as basketball fans, there’s no reason why you can’t appreciate the back-to-back MVP returning to similar levels of years prior.
The Curry Flurries may be less frequent, but he’s no less spectacular — as evidenced by his 35-point performance on Wednesday that was highlighted by a jaw-dropping, hand-switching reverse layup that even he was surprised he pulled off.
The Warriors are better than they were last year — despite being on pace to win a measly 71 regular-season games — and Curry doesn’t have to shoulder as much of the load, which is what he wanted. He’ll still get his opportunities to lead the team in attempts, like he did against the Trail Blazers in the Dubs’ 31st win of the year.
“He knows to shoot,” Draymond Green said about whether his teammates need to tell Curry to take enough attempts. “I think everybody makes a big deal out of him not taking a lot of shots in certain games or here and there. At the end of the day, he’s a smart player. He plays within the flow of the game.”
What’s wrong with Steph? Absolutely nothing. (And that’ll be true even if he scores in the teens for the next two weeks.)
What’s wrong with the sports commentariat setting unrealistic expectations for greatness? Now, there’s a question worth asking.