Watching Stephen Curry perform this season has felt more like witnessing effortless sorcery than watching a player in the prime of his career carve up NBA defenses.
Over the last 10 games, the league’s reigning MVP is averaging—averaging!—a league-leading 38.2 points and 6.7 three-pointers per contest with a 71.6 true shooting percentage. He has somehow found the time to dish out 7.3 assists per game, too.
As is often the case in today’s sports media landscape, his spellbinding performances have only augmented the hot takes regarding his game and where his season stands in the annals of history, bringing them to something more like a deafening roar. “Coaches do not understand the game of basketball,” Oscar Robertson posited last week, before going on to credit lackluster defensive effort rather than celebrate Curry’s performances. Days later, the 27-year-old threw down a 51-point performance, with 24 points coming in the third quarter alone.
Two days after that, he poured in 46 points in 37 minutes, leading the Golden State Warriors to their 53rd win of the season on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team touting the fourth best record in the league. The performance was as mesmerizing as it was laughable: he broke the record for single-season three-point field goals (286), a record he already owned, and tied the league record for single-game three-pointers made (12).
To further pad the narrative, Curry improved his on-court production after Russell Westbrook inadvertently landed on his ankle in the third quarter, connecting on a higher percentage of his shots and scoring 31 of his 46 total points.
“I never would have thought at this point in the season I would be closing in on 300 and all that kind of stuff,” he told ESPN.com. “That doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve always tried to push the envelope and keep getting better, but a lot has to go right to get to this point.”
The showcase was his 11th of the season in which he scored at least 40 points in less than 40 minutes of action, while shooting better than 48 percent from the floor. Dating back to 1983-84, that already stands as the most games in a single season fulfilling the aforementioned criteria, breaking a tie with—you guessed it—Michael Jordan.
And even still, New York Knicks President Phil Jackson found an opportunity to tweet that Curry’s game is reminiscent of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a player who logged 1,879 fewer points and 1,005 fewer three-pointers than Curry on 50.6 true shooting percentage (Curry’s career average is 61.4).
Ignore for a second that Curry’s quotidian report includes him pulling up from 30 feet like it’s an ordinary jump shot that any sensible human being would hoist. Consider this: Curry now has the top three individual three-point shooting seasons in league history and is well ahead of his pace in seasons past. It’s February, and he’s connecting on a career-high percentage (46.8) while attempting the most threes per game in league history (11).