Steph Curry isn't just shooting lights out from beyond the arc; he's blowing away the standard model of what a volume three-point shooter is. Yes, it's early in the season, but I still can't believe Steph Curry's shooting.
A Three-Point Unicorn
Trivia time, in the history of the NBA, how many players have - taken at least 15 shots a game AND taken over half their shots from beyond the arc? If we limit ourselves to completed seasons and allow some rounding, we're left with George McCloud in 1995-1996 and Mookie Blaylock in 1996-1997. basketball-reference.com query here
However, if we include this season then currently both Eric Bledsoe and Steph Curry are on that list. Steph Curry though is currently something we've never seen. He's shooting 11.5 three pointers a game, almost three more than the previous leader (Baron Davis at 8.7 in 2003-2004) He's also connecting on a ridiculous amount. He's shooting 45.2% from beyond the arc AND over 50% from the field. I don't buy he can keep this up the whole season, but I'm excited to see what happens.
Some final trivia tidbits
- Steph Curry missed most of the 2011-2012 season with an injury. He was only able to play 26 games. In eleven games this season he's already shot more three-pointers than he did that season!
- Steph Curry has taken as many threes (or more) than 21 NBA teams (restricted to the three-point era) How many will he end the season at?
A Usage Rant
The theme of a lot of my posts/podcasts this year is why I dislike Usage as a stat. A big part is an odd myth that pervades basketball culture: the Usage Curve. The idea being as a player takes more shots their efficiency has to go down as they run out of "easy" shots they can take. There might be something to this if we didn't have the three-point line. Yes, as you get closer to the hoop, it's harder to get open shots as it's less area to guard. Even the worst teams don't just let players score layups every play. And yes, as you have to move further back, it's harder to score as easily, as, in theory, further shots are harder to make. But the three-point line is a cheat code. By offering up 50% more points for an only slightly harder shot, the Usage Curve idea flies out the window.
I also don't buy that there are a "limited number" of good threes a team can take. Yes, if Curry was the only player that could shoot on the Warriors it might be different. The Warriors have players like Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, and Festus Ezili, who can all score inside. They have players like Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, who can shoot threes. The other team can't even try to double team Curry every play. There might be some number of shots in a game where Curry's good looks would disappear, but I don't even know if that's below two shots a minute! Regardless, I love Steph Curry's shooting. Career wise it's already absurd. But if he can finish this season shooting over half his shots from three, he may become my new favorite player.