The Golden State Warriors are out to a nice start at 5-1, albeit against a pretty soft schedule, and Stephen Curry’s numbers look MVP level: 28.7 points, 7.5 rebounds (by far a career high), 6.1 assists (highest since 2016-17) and 1.5 steals per game. Nobody else in the league can match those across-the-board stats. You have to take the rebound filter down to 5.2 for Ja Morant, who has a case as the best player through the first week-plus of action, to make the cut.
That said, against his own insanely high bar, he has not been his best to start the season. In addition to posting his highest turnover percentage since 2013-14, he’s 13 for his last 33 from 3-point range, and three of his six box scores read 2 for 8, 4 for 15 and 7 for 20 from deep. He’s 40 percent from 3, per Cleaning the Glass, with a true-shooting of 60 percent, but that’s largely the power of two hot games inside a small sample.
There’s also this: Curry has not scored a single point over the Warriors’ last four fourth quarters. It’s the kind of stat you have to look up to make sure it’s right. Sure enough, it’s true. With this caveat: Curry didn’t have to play the final frame in Golden State’s blowout vs. OKC on Saturday. Prior to that, Curry went 0 for 8 from the field, including 0 for 6 from 3, in the fourth quarter against the Kings, Thunder and Grizzlies.
Naturally, this little three-game blip is of zero concern to Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who called Curry’s fourth-quarter struggles “the biggest fluke of all-time.”
If you disagree with Kerr on this, and actually think this is something to be concerned about, you’ve lost your mind. This will not continue. Just as Damian Lillard’s ice-cold start to the season will not continue. Curry is the greatest shooter and one of the best scorers of all time who last season hit 46 percent of his fourth-quarter 3-pointers.
That said, Curry was at 39 percent, 36 percent and 36 percent in his three previous seasons on fourth-quarter 3s. Those are still good numbers, but not super elite, and two of those seasons were when Kevin Durant was around and the Warriors enjoyed a much bigger margin for Curry to have a few late-game bumbles.
Now that it’s back to Curry being option one, two and three until Klay Thompson gets back, he is obviously going to need to pick it up in fourth quarters of what will presumably be a lot of close games against better teams than the Kings and Thunder, who couldn’t make Golden State pay for Curry’s donuts, and even the Grizzlies, who did take advantage by beating Golden State in overtime.