Saying that Stephen Curry isn’t human has become cliché, but there are only so many ways to describe his other-worldly performance this season.
As if last year’s dominant MVP season wasn’t impressive enough, Curry has been even better this year.
Through 56 games, the 27-year-old point guard is averaging 30.7 points (first in the NBA), 6.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals while shooting 51.5 percent from the field and 46.8 percent from three-point range. Curry broke the NBA record for most threes in a single season with 24 games remaining, and he’s on pace to knock down 400 three-pointers by the end of the campaign. He also leads the league in PER (32.9, which would break Michael Jordan’s all-time record), True Shooting Percentage (68.5 percent), Win Shares (13.4), Box Plus/Minus (13.3) and Value Over Replacement Player (7.3). Again, not human.
With all of that said, few superstars in sports are as humble as Curry. He deflects credit and attention to his teammates and coaches, praising their abilities and how they are the ones who put him in position to be successful. Curry rarely boasts about his accomplishments, choosing instead to downplay his jaw-dropping achievements and answer questions with his self-deprecating humor.
However, Curry’s teammates can go on and on about the reigning MVP’s greatness.
“It’s every night!” Marreese Speights said of Curry’s dominance. “He’s a superstar, the MVP of this league, and he’s doing a lot of great things. A lot of kids look up to him. He’s a superstar, but he’s a humble guy. That’s what makes him even better. He’s humble and he wants to get everyone else involved, yet he’ll still have 50 points. He’s a great teammate and I love playing with him. We don’t even need to feed him [the ball]. He can feed himself. He’s just a whole different animal. He’s a sensational player.”
After Curry recently dropped 51 points on the Orlando Magic – hitting 20-27 shots from the field, including 10 threes – his teammates were ecstatic, but admitted they weren’t surprised.
“That’s just him in the zone,” Shaun Livingston said, shaking his head. “Certain guys get in the zone and, you know, they might get 20 points? That’s being in the zone for me! For Steph? It’s unlimited range, unlimited scoring ability. He can get hot in a hurry and put up amazing numbers. He can get hot at any minute. It’s special.”
In that game against Orlando, Curry hit a half-court shot as the third quarter came to an end. This extended Golden State’s lead to eight points and gave them momentum entering the fourth quarter. These long bombs from Curry have become a nightly occurrence. The very next game, he beat the Oklahoma City Thunder with a similar half-court heave in overtime. By now, Curry’s teammates are used to him making these shots and expect them to go in. This is understandable, considering Curry is shooting 62.1 percent on shots from 28+ feet, which is higher than most NBA players shoot at the rim (including 14 of his fellow All-Stars).
“I don’t have a reaction anymore,” Draymond Green said of Curry’s half-court shots. “I just roll with it. I know they’re going in when he shoots it. He hits that shot all the time! We shoot half-court shots often. Like, a lot. Whenever someone is late [to practice], we put money in a pot and we shoot half-court shots and he hits it 60 percent of the time. It looks like it’s going in every time.”
“I told [Brandon] Rush on the bench, ‘Watch, he’s going to hit this,’” Thompson said of the Orlando shot. “I’ve seen him do it too many times. He probably [has] the best range in NBA history. We’re witnessing greatness.”
Thompson was even more impressed with Curry’s 51 points, which he knows is extremely difficult to do from personal experience.
“It’s very hard,” Thompson said of Curry’s 51. “I’ve only done it one time; I’ve seen Steph do it three times just this year alone. It’s not easy, it takes a very special talent to do it.”
That special talent is the biggest key to the Warriors’ success this season. The team is currently 54-5 and chasing history. All of Curry’s teammates agree, this wouldn’t be possible without their humble superstar.
“He opens things up for everybody, not just [me],” Thompson said. “He singlehandedly spreads the floor, all by himself, and that allows our offense to do great things.”
Make sure to follow Basketball Insiders on Twitter at @BBallInsiders.