In NBA history, Stephen Curry’s 2015–16 MVP season has an almost legendary status. It’s difficult to express how incredible he was that year. Beyond the mind-boggling numbers, there was more to it. The entire experience was it. His frequent, almost arrogantly easy shots—shots none else had yet thought of—made for a historical moment that many people, including myself, believed would never be duplicated.
Curry is testing his own limits more than halfway through the 2022–23 season, though. Although there is still a long way to go, as of Monday night’s play, his statistics are almost exactly matching those he produced during Golden State’s run to a record 73 victories.
Curry’s numbers thus far are, if anything, better than they were in 2015–16, when he set an NBA record by making 402 3-pointers at that absurd 45–percent rate. He won’t likely participate in as many games this season, thus it will be difficult for him to surpass that 402 total. In comparison to the 79 games he played in 2015–16, he has already missed two, putting him on pace to play between 74 and 75 games this season.
Curry would end this season with approximately 390 made 3-pointers if he continued at that rate. That is not far from the number 402. He’ll probably play in fewer games this year, but given the tight spot Golden State is expected to find itself in as the season progresses, it’s at least conceivable that he goes off and breaks what has previously looked unbreakable.
The truth is that from 2015–16, Curry has improved largely across the board in terms of statistics. His rate of assists has marginally increased. Turnover rate is a little lower. rebounding enormously. Defense vastly improved. Free-throw percentage and rate are both equal. Efficiency in the middle of the court, in the paint, and at the rim are all noticeably higher. Curry is on track to join Steve Nash and Larry Bird as the only players in history to record multiple 50-40-90 seasons, with the other naturally occurring in 2015–16, with his current shooting splits of 51–44–90.
The only thing that has decreased since Golden State’s attack on the NBA record book in 2015–16 is their victory count and the weekly theatrics that went with with it, but things may be about to change. The Warriors are beginning to move with purpose. On Saturday, Curry and Andrew Wiggins made at least eight 3-pointers together for the third time in team history. In more and more of his games, Klay Thompson reminds you of the shooter he once was and possibly still is. Draymond Green is doing what he does best. 12 of Jordan Poole’s last 21 threes have been successful. Anthony Lamb is changing things. Same goes for Donte DiVincenzo, who has the makings of a second-unit stabilizer, and Jonathan Kuminga. The rock that is Kevon Looney.
Curry won’t be fighting this virtually alone forever, that’s the idea. Curry’s chances of winning his third MVP award will improve when the Warriors, who have won five of their previous six games, start to move up the standings.