As the Golden State Warriors' losses mount, Steph Curry struggles for answers
There's a fire in the chef's kitchen.
Despite having two-time MVP Steph Curry leading the way, the Golden State Warriors have lost seven of their past eight games. The club has slipped to 10th in the Western Conference (23-27), a season-worst four games below .500 and a half-game ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans for the last play-in spot in the playoff race.
After reaching the NBA Finals in five consecutive seasons and winning three championships, Golden State finished last in the Western Conference last season as injuries hit the Warriors hard. Curry missed all but five games and All-Star Klay Thompson missed the entire season after Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent.
With Curry back in the lineup this season and the Warriors still struggling to find their footing, the question has become: Is this season a stain on his impressive résumé?
Despite the fact that Curry is still performing at a high level, Nick Wright believes that the Chef deserves criticism because he isn't doing enough to carry his team.
"Now we are 50 games in, and the team is terrible, and that's not supposed to happen if a great, great player is healthy. ... Does that not resonate at all when we're talking about a guy that's considered by some to be one of the greatest players ever?"
On the season, Curry is putting up 29.4 points, 6.0 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game. If he finishes with those averages, he would join Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and James Harden as the only players in NBA history to post multiple seasons with at least 29 points, six assists and five rebounds. (He previously did it in 2015-16, his second MVP season.)
Curry is also inching closer to Wilt Chamberlain, needing only 130 points to pass the big man as the franchise's all-time leading scorer. He's already the Warriors’ all-time leader in assists (4,875).
But while Curry racked up 37 points against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, he didn't receive much help from his teammates, as the Warriors’ bench was outscored 55-19 by Atlanta’s reserves.
That lack of help for Curry has become a theme of the season.
This season, the Dubs rank 22nd in the league in offensive rating (108.4), and this season is the first time since 2013-14 that Steph does not have a teammate averaging more than 20 points per game. His fellow "Splash Brother," Thompson, is sitting out his second consecutive season because of an Achilles tendon tear.
Still, Curry clearly makes the now-lowly Warriors better, as the franchise has a 22-20 record with him this season and a 1-7 record without him, which is why Chris Broussard argues Curry can't take the heat for Golden State's poor performance.
"I'm not going to make that drop Steph's historical ranking ... He's still a good player in a bad year with his team, and it's also different for small players ... Small players don't carry their team like this ... He's one of only two small players — Isiah Thomas, the legend, being the other — who created dynasties built around themselves."
When Curry sat against the Raptors on Friday, the franchise suffered an embarrassing blow, losing by 53 points and becoming the only team in the past 25 years to lose a game by 50 points and not score a single fast-break point.
Toronto's margin of victory is tied for third-largest in NBA history by a franchise that is 10 or more games below .500.
The Dubs need their Chef – who ranks second in 3-pointers made (196), third in points per game (29.4), fourth in usage rate (32.9%) and sixth in free-throw percentage (92.6%) this season – to keep cooking if they hope to have a chance on a nightly basis.
With 20 games to go, it might take more than a quick dish from Curry to keep the Warriors in the hunt for the postseason. It might take his best entree.
Filet mignon, anyone?
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