Elite shooters have traditionally aged well in the NBA, because their number one skill does not go away even in the twilight of their careers. Players like Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Larry Bird, Kyle Korver, Steve Kerr, Dirk Nowitzki, JJ Reddick and Peja Stojakovic, to name a few, were always dangerous even when their athletic abilities slowly began to abandon them. Each of these players played between 13 to 20 seasons, largely because they were always a threat and an asset to any offensive scheme.
That’s why it shouldn’t be a surprise that Steph Curry is having a dominant start to the 2023-24 season. After being drafted in 2009, Curry has become the consensus greatest shooter in NBA history, but unlike some of the previously mentioned names in the list, it doesn’t look like he’s quite ready to slow down yet.
Curry is still the most dangerous man in the NBA from distance and he’s already had a couple of excellent games early in the season. He most recently dropped 42 points on the New Orleans Hornets, where he made 7 of 13 threes.
The thing that makes Curry more dangerous than other aging shooters is that he’s still so deadly with the ball in his hands. Other shooters have had to rely more on off-ball movement and screens to get open for catch and shoot opportunities later in their careers, whereas Curry still has the agility and skill to pull off some fuckery that regularly leaves defensive schemes in shambles and his defenders with their asses on the floor. Don’t get me wrong, Curry is also excellent at catch and shoot opportunities, but his pull up threes and his wizardry with the basketball to open up tiny bits of space for those shots is what puts him in a group that only includes Damian Lillard and maybe Kyrie Irving.
Although he “only” dropped 24 points on the Houston Rockets, Curry certainly had enough highlights including a three over Dillon Brooks that had all sorts of pettiness attached to it.
Of course, in his preceding game, he also torched the Sacramento Kings for 41 points, shooting 7 of 10 from deep and 14 of 19 from overall. That was especially fun to watch because De’Aaron Fox dueled him with 39 of his own, with the young star and newly minted Curry Brand athlete showing that he wasn’t afraid of the moment.
Curry also dropped a game-winning three on the Kings in a preseason game that had no business being entertaining or having starters playing all the way until the final whistle. He particularly likes to torture the Kings, and if you don’t remember, he dropped 50 points in Game 7 of their series in this year’s playoffs to send the Warriors to the second round.
The only blemish on Curry’s record so far this season the 108-104 loss to the Phoenix Suns on opening night, where he had 27 points but shot 8 of 20 from the field and 4 of 14 from three. You can’t really pin all the blame on him, though, since Chris Paul went 0 of 6 from distance and Klay Thompson went 3 of 11.
There are plenty of questions that the Warriors as a team must answer, like how their tiny roster will be able to handle a seven-game series against teams that have the likes of Nikola Jokic or Anthony Davis (who helped the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Warriors 4-2 in their second round matchup). For now though, let’s appreciate the kind of excitement that Curry still brings on any given night.
The Warriors take on their Northern California rivals in the Kings again next, on Thursday, November 2, at 10:00 AM. De’Aaron Fox will likely be out of that game with an ankle injury suffered in a thrilling overtime victory against the Lakers, which means that Chef Curry is probably going to cook the Kings again with them not having a player that can hope to counter him.