• Joe Makar

What to Expect from Stephen Curry this Year

Stephen Curry needs no introduction. He is the greatest shooter of all time and mesmerizes every time he hits the NBA hardwood. For Curry, there is no such thing as a bad shot. Even when he launches from half court, you still have a feeling it’s going in.

After appearing in just five games last season due to a broken left hand, Curry is back and ready to spark a playoff run to a team that most people seem to have counted out. Curry is a generational talent, a mold of player we’ve never seen before, but what can we fairly expect from the two-time Most Valuable Player and three-time NBA champion?

In the Warriors first two games of the season, they got blown out by 26 points to the Nets and 39 to the Bucks. They then followed the Christmas day massacre with a narrow one-point victory against the Chicago Bulls for their first victory of the season. The Warriors now sit at 4-3 through their first seven games.

In those games so far, Curry is averaging 32 points per game and 6.4 assists per game on 46 percent shooting from the field and 36.9 percent from three. His 62-point outburst against Portland certainly helped inflate those numbers to a respectable level.

This season we can expect Curry to take more shots and be forced to carry more of the offensive load than he has been accustomed to in the past. Curry has always been nothing short of incredible regarding his shooting from deep. He can shoot from anywhere within half court and make the most difficult shots look easy.

We can expect at least a slight drop in efficiency due to the increased volume of shots Curry will receive. Without a true star next to him, Curry seems forced to generate a larger offensive burden, even if a high-quality shot doesn’t present itself.

Many wondered before the season started whether Curry could carry his team to the playoffs, even without his All-Star backcourt partner Klay Thompson, who will miss the entire season rehabbing from an Achilles injury.

We have seen Curry as the number one option on his teams before, but never quite like this. Not only is Curry the undisputed best player on his team now, but he is also the veteran leader the team needs to galvanize the squad after tough losses or even narrow victories.

In their game against the Bulls, Damion Lee nailed a three pointer for the win to give the Warriors their first win of the season. Perhaps the most encouraging sign of all this was Curry who was absolutely elated and thrilled for the success of his teammate. Veteran leadership and encouragement go a long way in the league, especially when it is coming from a player of Curry’s caliber and resume.

This season will be very different for Curry and the Warriors, but at least they still have a sense of familiarity and continuity. They are still led by their head coach Steve Kerr and still have their defensive anchor Draymond Green. That should provide Curry with a bit of comfort no matter what their final record is after the 72-game season this year.

If we could learn anything about the Warriors from their recent play and suppressed expectations, it’s just how quickly the tide can turn in the NBA.

Just two years ago, the Warriors were rolling out a starting five of Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and DeMarcus Cousins. At the time, this team was viewed as unfair, as they had (at the time) a top five player at every position and no glaring weaknesses.

That Warriors team would win most of their games simply by having more talent than their opponent on any given night. Now, the Warriors must play with a fiery passion. They must dive for all the 50/50 balls and limit turnovers, take high quality shots, and play smothering defense to claw out scrappy wins against the tough competition that lies within the Western Conference.

The Warriors certainly experienced a fall from grace, rather quickly for that matter. Curry has been asked about it and has mentioned that he doesn’t believe their championship runs are over, just give it time. Certainly a difficult mountain to climb, but if anyone can do it, it’s none other than Stephen Curry, the man who took a lottery team to the playoffs, a playoff team to an NBA record 73-9 season, and a team that was often overlooked to three NBA championships.

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