Covering Stephen Curry’s recent slump and its effect on the team
Steph Curry is currently having the worst shooting performances of his career. The Golden State Warriors are also one of the best teams in the NBA right now. It’s hard to imagine these two statements existing in conjunction, especially considering the Warriors’ last season. But, these statements can exist because of the astounding versatility of our team roster.
The 2020-2021 season saw Steph Curry averaging an amazing 32.0 points per game. He was a serious contender for the season MVP and was playing the best basketball of his career. It wasn’t enough, though, as the team wasn’t able to make the play-in tournament.
This was because the players surrounding Curry were inexperienced and weren’t equipped enough to support the star. Andrew Wiggins was still relatively new to the team, Jordan Poole was averaging only 12 points per game, and Draymond Green and James Wiseman missed almost all of training camp because of health protocols.
Chemistry has always been a strongpoint for the Warriors, and that factor was distinctly lacking in the last season. So when the Warriors entered the 2021-2022 season, no one expected them to rise to the top the way they did.
The team went on a tear with Curry averaging 28.7 points per game, Wiggins averaging 16.2, and Poole averaging 14.2. Players like Otto Porter Jr. and Gary Payton were shining in their own unique way, Kevon Looney and Draymond Green were working hard on rebounds and defense, and younger players like Kuminga were showing small glimpses of their true potential for the future.
Somewhere in the season, though, Curry seemed to hit a roadblock. Scoring only 9 points during a game against the Heat, he seemed tired and unlike his usual self. Many fans brushed it off, though, deeming it an off night. But it happened again. And again. And again.
He went from a 27.6 ppg average in December to a 22.3 ppg average in January. Statistics showed that it was one of the worst shooting stretches he ever had in his career.
But even though the ball wasn’t going in, his other stats were slowly improving. In December, he averaged 4.7 assists per game; in January, he averaged 7.73 assists per game. Curry’s rebounds also improved from a 4.7 average to a 5.9 average.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr commented, “Steph looks great physically. The last few games he’s playing some of his basketball in terms of handling the point guard duties. He’s taking care of the basketball, he’s playing great defense, shots just aren’t going.”
Yet even when Curry shot 1 of 13 from the three point line, the Warriors still managed a win over the Jazz. Even when he scored 9 points, the Warriors beat the Heat. Even at his worst, the team was still able to continuously win, a reality drastically different from last season’s.
This is credited to the fact that players like Kuminga are slowly starting to step out of their comfort zones and take charge of some of the play rotations for the team. Over his last 10 games, Kuminga has been averaging 12.7 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 55.6 percent from the field.
Gary Payton, who has quickly risen to the role as fan favorite, has also been astounding on defense over the last 10 games. Even in the Warriors’ recent game against the Nuggets, in which they lost in the last minute of the 4th quarter, Payton put up 12 points, 4 rebounds, and a total of 6 steals. “The Warriors outscored the Nuggets by 13 minutes during his minutes,” according to Golden State of Mind.
Although the team is clearly lacking the impact of the calculated defense of veteran players like Draymond Green or the crazy shotmaking of Stephen Curry, the way that the rookies, the bench, and newer players have handled this team in their injuries and slumps has shown that a bright future is in store for the Golden State Warriors.