Chef Curry with the Shot

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Updated: December 15, 2021
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After the worst stretch of games and shooting not only by the Chef but from the entire Warriors squad, Wardell Stephen Curry conquered one of the most prestigious records in all of sports, the NBA All-Time 3-point career total. Fitting no, since it was at The Garden, the basketball Mecca, where he had his infamous breakout 54-point game against the Knicks back in 2013. It would’ve been a bit underwhelming to celebrate such an event in Indiana and instead, the world heard the shot out in New York. First bomb out from distance didn’t even touch the net and Ray Allen and the Baby Faced Assassin were tied at the top of the mountain. Only 4 minutes into the game and it was all over and the beginning of a new unsurpassable record has started. In nearly 800 fewer games, on a better percentage, Steph past Ray’s 2,973 total, and if he continues at the rate he’s going even just for a few more years, he’ll likely put his own total up above 4,000.

To put things into perspective, Curry is currently making more 3’s a season than Ray Allen was even attempting in the season he broke the record. However, it is not just attempts, of the top ten 3-pointer shooters all time, Curry carries with him the top percentages at 43% from distance. Using The Favorite Toy Formula invented for baseball by Bill James adapted for basketball by John Hollinger based on track records, health, and age, there is a 94% chance that Curry breaks the 4,000 thresholds. There is a 59% chance that he hits 4,500, 28% to hit 5,000, and a dark horse 10% chance to hit 5,500. He is the one player thus far that if only staying in the modest projections of these estimations may set a record that will stand for years to come despite the increase in attempts across the NBA.

What Now

Golden State was clearly distracted by this chase and the national attention to something that was outside of them as a team and their sole mission of winning a championship. Sure, they beat the Pacers in Indiana, but the method at which the W was collected had not been the way they’ve dealt with sub-500 ball clubs this season. On a back-to-back in New York, no one on Warriors wanted to see Curry collect his record attach an L. In the second half of the game, things started again to look familiar. Golden State put the Knicks away with ease in the 4th and now have two days of rest and festivities in the Big Apple before meeting the Celtics in Boston.

The curious thing moving forward is how Kerr will adapt the rotation with the newly added variables that are currently evolving. The first is obvious in the return of Klay Thompson, and who will be cut out of the rotation, even when he’s on a 20 minutes or less restriction? It is likely since Damion Lee’s jumper hasn’t been falling, his minutes with be the ones that decrease, especially with the plus-minus numbers and overall impact GPII has been producing this season.

The second is a bigger question, in the 20-year-old bare-foot 7-footer James Wisemen. With how well the Warriors are playing and considering they have some of the best 1st quarter numbers in the league, it is hard to imagine that Looney gets bumped to the bench for the sophomore 7-footer coming off a meniscus tear. However, it is just as hard to imagine that ownership and the coaching staff have not discussed it in deep lengths on what Wisemen may look like with the looks Looney is currently getting at the rim and in transition. Even if he’s coming off the bench if Wisemen is looking more impactful in the first half, will Kerr be tempted to use him to open the 3rd or continue to ride with his veterans as planned?

The last question is one that usually only gets talked about in Warriors circles and that is the minutes or lack thereof given for young Jonathan Kuminga. Especially with how poorly Iggy has played since returning from injury (knee soreness) and his complete inability to hit an open 3-pointer, Kuminga looks as if he can cover 1-5 and showed flashes against Turner and Sabonis that he is a serious small ball 5 option that has to be explored. At the beginning of the season, Iggy was looking fresher than he has since the 2019 playoffs and Bjelica was playing the best basketball he has since his Euro-MVP, however, both of their shots seem to have left them.

Undoubtedly, they will continue to get time on the floor, if only for their calming presence and concrete ball handling and facilitating skills that calm the waters in the non-Steph minutes. However, ownership and the fanbase alike both are under the impression from the flashes they’ve seen, that Kuminga should be given more minutes not only to develop but contribute. His attack to the basket looks lowkey unstoppable with his Giannis-like spin move and ability to finish above or below the rim. And unlike James Wisemen who often looked timid in his rookie season, Kuminga looks hungry and aware of his freakish physical gifts.

So, on the night in New York, celebrating the Steph Curry record and the W on the road, the next two days of film sessions should be telling for Kerr moving forward. He has been hesitant to include Kuminga but against New York, he got two slots of serious minutes. Very soon, Klay Thompson should return, and even if only playing 15 minutes a game, it will be the time that Kerr has to decide who are the odd men out in their current roster and start to solidify a new rotation. There is such a fixation on what they can get on the trade market and yet the upgrades they are looking for may already be present at the end of the bench.

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