Stephen Curry sent a reminder of what he can do and why he's a serious MVP contender

Jay Asser 19:58 25/10/2018
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Stephen Curry has great shooting nights with such regularity that he only grabs headlines now when he goes supernova.

We’ve become blasé to Curry hitting six or seven 3-pointers. So what? He does it seemingly every other game.

Eleven triples? Now we’re talking. That’s exactly what Curry did on Wednesday when he lit up the Washington Wizards for 51 points while moving up to fifth on the NBA’s all-time 3-pointers list.

And he did it in only three quarters, hitting 15-of-24 from the field, including 11-of-16 from long range, as well as all 10 of his free throws before sitting out the fourth with the result in hand.

It was the sixth time in Curry’s career he’s tallied at least 50 points in a game, and the sixth time he’s splashed 11-plus shots from beyond the arc. That’s… a lot.

Curry is such a marksman and so prone to catching fire that it takes a night like Wednesday at Oracle Arena for fans to truly get up and take notice. What would be considered hot-shooting games for other players are just missed opportunities for Curry to have one of his signature performances.

It’s gotten to the point where Curry is being taken for granted on a night-to-night basis because he’s set the ‘wow factor’ bar so high.

It doesn’t help that the expectations for his team are similarly lofty, thanks to the Warriors’ ridiculous star power and recent success.

That’s a major reason why Curry’s candidacy for MVP is fighting an uphill battle. He’s already won the award twice (2015 and 2016), so voter fatigue is a factor, but the fact that he plays with another MVP calibre player in Kevin Durant only cannibalises both players’ cases.

But Curry should be considered a legitimate candidate for MVP this season, regardless of who’s around him. It will take a couple qualifiers for the 30-year-old to garner serious consideration, but it’s not unfeasible to imagine him picking up the award again.

For one, Golden State need to get back to 60 wins. It’s not like they were bad last season with their 58-24 record, but as mentioned, expectations are sky high so anything fewer than sub-60 victories and the top seed in the Western Conference will feel like an underachievement.

And secondly, Curry needs to come close to reproducing his stats from two seasons ago, when he not only averaged 30.1 points, but joined the coveted 50-40-90 club by shooting 50.4 per cent from the field, 45.4 per cent from 3 and 90.8 per cent at the free throw line.

With as many mouths as there are to feed in Golden State, averaging 30 points again is highly unlikely. But if Curry can be nearly as efficient as he was in the best season of his career, he’ll be hard to ignore, so long as the team success is there.

Extrapolating a season’s worth of numbers based on five games is shortsighted, but Curry is already off to a great start, averaging 34.6 points on 55.0 per cent shooting from the field, 52.4 per cent from deep (on a ridiculous 12.6 attempts per game) and 90.9 per cent at the line. His 6.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds aren’t too shabby either.

Overcoming the malaise that has plagued the Warriors the past two regular seasons and the fatigue from playing in four straight NBA Finals won’t be easy, but with a few more nights like Wednesday, Curry will have everyone’s attention.

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