When Kyle Korver nailed a three in 127 straight games over the course of two NBA seasons, I honestly thought that record would stand forever. Korver is a useful player, no question, but he has basically one singular skill (shooting threes) and his entire subsistence in the NBA is predicated around that fact. Very few players have the green light to essentially chuck threes whenever they feel like it, which is one half of the problem in chasing that record. The second? Not many people can shoot like Korver. It’s telling that Korver’s streak more than doubles the best streaks of acclaimed three-point artists like Ray Allen and Reggie Miller.
Well, I’m going to have to eat my thoughts, because Stephen Curry just blew past Korver. And given Steph’s game, this streak may continue until he retires.
Few games exemplify the way Curry has weaponized the three-point shot more than the Thursday afternoon matinee against the Orlando Magic. Through three quarters, Curry scored 46 points on 18-24 shooting to go along with 6 rebounds and 8 assists. Of his FG attempts, 13 came from behind the arc and an ungodly nine of them went in, including a casual 44-foot heave to close out the third. His 46 points came in just 30 minutes played, an astonishing rate. Words cannot describe how easy this dude makes the three-point shot look, and at this rate, defenders will have to start defending him at half court. As a fan on Twitter observed, Curry’s shooting percentage from beyond 39 feet is better than Andrew Drummond’s free throw shooting percentage. Ridiculous.
In the process of obliterating Korver’s record, Steph also pulled within 15 threes of breaking his own single-season record for threes made. Again, we are just five games removed from the All-Star break, which roughly marks the midpoint of a season, and Curry is ALREADY about to break a record that he set through a full 82-game season. He might finish with 400 threes-made if this continues. In the machine that is the Golden State Warriors, Curry is the dynamic cog that can single-handedly warp reality.
The makers of the NBA 2K video game franchise said earlier this week that they can’t seem to code for Curry’s brilliance. He makes silly shots seem reasonable, impossible shots seem makeable and ludicrous shots seem casual. The ideal video game should seek to reward “smartly” taken shots and penalize “poorly” taken ones. In Stephland, there is no such thing as a poor shot — hell, if Steph decided to take only half-court shots all game, I’d let him do it — his return on investment is probably superior to many players’ post up games.
Curry is the reigning MVP of the league, and barring a total catastrophe he should be the MVP again this season. He has already put himself in the conversation for all-time greats, although he will need to keep performing at this level for many many years before that conversation can actually be meaningful. Golden State is the far-and-away frontrunner to win the NBA title again this season, and they might break the ’95-’96 Chicago Bulls’ regular season record of 73 wins if their pace holds up. The scary thing? Curry’s game is not built on otherworldly athleticism or physical prowess. One could imagine a 45-year-old Curry continuing to bomb threes as a spot-up shooter — a frightening thought for the rest of the league. As it stands now, much as Lob City was unmissable when it first took the league by storm, “Steph is heating up” might be the new king of must-see TV.
Long live King Steph — may his three-point cup runneth over forever and a day.
Thank Vignesh Venkataraman for being the only columnist to acknowledge the brilliance of Steph Curry and the Warriors at viggy ‘at’ stanford.edu.