Before suffering a minor shin injury in late December, Stephen Curry’s play was hotter than the California sun. For the first three months of the season, the Golden State Warriors guard was shooting like an NBA Jam player who’s “on fire” — except instead of shooting lights-out for a few possessions, Curry was on fire for more than 30 games.
Curry leads the NBA in points per game, three-pointers made, and most points in a single game. He also ranks in the top 10 in the league in a slew of other categories, including total points and free throw percentage. Curry is on pace to set a record for three-pointers per game, which would require him to break his own record that he set last season. Oh, and Curry’s Warriors won their first 28 games of the season, by far the most in league history.
But it’s not just traditional statistics that prove Curry’s value to the Warriors. Advanced stats tell the same story: he’s the best player in the league this year. For example, take Curry’s Player Efficiency Rating (PER), a statistic that attempts to account for all of a player’s contributions on the court. Curry’s PER sits at 31.6, which would be the seventh-best all-time over a full season. Basketball legends Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James currently top the list of the best PER seasons ever. It’s safe to say that Curry is in good company.
If Curry can return to full health and continue the pace he set early in the season, he’ll challenge NBA records and put himself in the conversation among the greatest seasons ever. At that point, fans might need to come up with a new way to say he’s on fire.