This week, we highlight GOAT-level play from 35-year-old Stephen Curry, catnip for hoops nerds in New Orleans, unseemly player foibles and make a plea to Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks ... how about a jog?
1. The varied brilliance of Stephen Curry
What a thing: a four-time champion and two-time MVP is having perhaps his greatest season as he approaches his 35th birthday.
Curry is averaging 31.4 points -- second highest of his career, about 1.5 above his unanimous MVP campaign of 2015-16. The shooting splits are straight comedy: 52% overall, 44% on 12 (!) 3s per game, 63% on 2s -- Curry's best-ever mark from 2-point range if you exclude 2019-20, when he played five games.
He's averaging seven dimes and a career-high seven rebounds, and playing the best defense of his career. Again: Curry will be 35 soon.
The Warriors have leaned more than ever on Curry's tireless movement and varied shotmaking amid an uneven start. Almost 20% of Curry's attempts have come from floater range -- the largest share of his career. He has made an astounding 60% of those shots, and the floater has become an important counter within some of Golden State's core actions:
The Warriors set up for the classic Curry-Klay Thompson split action. Curry spots D'Angelo Russell ball-watching and snaps into an impromptu back-cut. Draymond Green delivers a pinpoint pass, and Curry stops on a dime for a tilting floater over, oh, just the most fearsome rim-protector of the past decade. Curry makes every part of that look routine. None of it is.
We are well-versed in Curry's swirling pass-and-go relocation game -- how you can never exhale, how he warps the very structure of the floor by zig-zagging around in patterns only he and his teammates can anticipate. All these years later, it still brings new delights: