By Kendrick E. Johnson
The only thing more captivating this NBA season than watching the Golden State Warriors chase Michael Jordan’s 95-96 Chicago Bulls for the best regular season record are the nightly shooting exhibitions put on by the Warriors leader and reigning MVP Stephen Curry.
At only twenty-seven years old, Curry is having one of the best individual regular seasons in history. Currently, the Warriors star point guard is averaging 30.7 points, 6.6 assists and 5.3 rebounds per a game, while shooting 51.6 percent from the field, 46.8 percent from the three-point line and 90.8 percent from the free throw line. If Curry’s can keep up his ridiculous stat line through the final 24 games of the season, he will become only the seventh player in NBA history make 50+% from the field, 40+% from 3-point, and 90+% from the free throw line for an entire season.
Despite sitting out of the fourth quarter in 15 of the Warriors 53 wins, Curry has improved his scoring average by 6.9 points a game after averaging 23.8 ppg last season en route to MVP. The jump in scoring average is so massive that it’s unprecedented, as it currently represents the biggest jump in scoring average by a reigning MVP, demolishing Larry Bird’s current record of 4.5 ppg.
When you combine the record-breaking rise in scoring average, being on the doorstep of joining 50–40–90 club and the Warriors being on pace to have the most wins in a regular season, it’s easy to see why some people believe Curry should become the NBA’s first unanimous MVP and Most Improved player in the same season. Unfortunately for Warriors opponents, Curry is in a zone many basketball purists didn’t even know existed until this season, and he doesn’t seem to be coming out of it anytime soon.
Since the All-Star break, Curry has scored 31 points or more in five of the Warriors six games. In his last five games, the “Baby Assassin” is averaging 39.6 ppg while shooting 58.6 percent from behind the arc and scoring 42 points or more in three games.
As a result of averaging five made 3-pointers a game this season, the reigning MVP has already broken his own NBA single-season mark for 3-pointers made; with 288 made so far this season. The record is even more impressive when you consider the fact Curry broke the record he sat just last season in only 58 games.
“I would never have thought at this point in the season I would be closing in on 300 and all that kind of stuff,” Curry said via ESPN after the Warriors recent win over the OKC Thunder. “That doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve always tried to push the envelope and keep getting better, but a lot has to go right to get to this point.”
If everything keeps going right for Curry and the Warriors, we could be watching the best regular season for a team and an individual player concurrently.