First of three phases almost complete: Warriors start road trip against 76ers
Curry still has 10 to go, may be taking a game off for rest soon
Stephen Curry got to his current level of greatness partially through his unselfishness. So of course it gets weird whenever he is this close to breaking a huge record. Within 10 threes of the all time record, Curry is going to be reaching a little extra hard each game until he blasts past the one title that most belongs to him:
best greatest three point shooter ever.
In the meantime, the Golden State Warriors are closing in on completion of the first phase of their campaign. In the words of the man himself, here’s Curry, via Marcus Thompson (who is on an absolute tear lately) on the three discrete phases of the 2021-2022 season:
Curry broke down the coming season into three parts: “the beginning of the year until Klay gets back,” followed by the period of reintegrating Klay, then he hopes a deep playoff run. While acknowledging that’s a difficult road, he said the Warriors have “a really solid team” with a chance to take another step in the right direction.
“And who knows how it’s gonna look.
The Warriors have a tough last stretch here, with a five game road trip that covers 10 calendar days. But phase one was an unequivocal success. The top seeded Warriors look scary, and are sitting on top of the standings waiting for Klay Thompson’s return. Look at the standings and it’s clear that Golden State is the team to beat.
Up against a very strong Sixers team tonight, the Warriors will be working hard to protect their spot in the standings, and help Curry chase that all time record - but one way or another, phase one completed successfully!
On the injury front, Andre Iguodala is nearing a return, but at time of writing, the roster availability was still status quo. Interestingly, there’s some rumored rest coming up for Curry.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (21-4) at Philadelphia 76ers (14-12)
WHEN: Saturday, December 10, 2021 // 5:30pm PDT
WATCH: ABC (!?Big time!)
The indelible greatness of Curry doesn’t care about silly records.
Something that I keep coming back to on this record is that it’s such a formality. Despite Ray Allen’s protestations, there isn’t any doubt that Curry is the greatest outside threat to ever play professional basketball. And it’s really not close.
Curry is the best ever - not because of the milestones he surpassed, but because of how he has transformed the game. Look at the number of total three-point attempts in the league here. Note the slope increase when Steph Curry enters the equation. I know I’ve made this point before, but it really does feel like he’s a skateboarder that proved a new trick is possible. It’s not just that he is individually putting up historic stats, it’s that the entire fabric of what’s possible has been folded into a new shirt design, and everyone wants to wear it.
So I don’t know if he’ll manage 10 threes tonight. But it’s possible. And that change - that new acceptance of a reality that was once thought impossible - is what sums up Curry’s greatness way more than any simple counting stat can do.
Looney, Wiseman, Klay, Poole, and the starting lineup
What? You’ve seen plenty of run-on sentences, but you blink at a run-on section header?
Anyways, I find myself irrationally mad at the internet. I am choosing not to link to any of it, but there’s a fair amount of Kevon Looney slander floating around right now. As has happened in the past, there are a lot of lineup iterations right now that are performing better than the Warriors opening lineup.
And there’s an important aspect of the Warriors’ three phase approach to this season that has to be understood: these are all temporary, experimental roster combinations right now. While the elephant in the room is Klay Thompson’s impending return, James Wiseman isn’t that far out either. Both will fundamentally shift the dynamics of the team, as well as coach Steve Kerr’s rotation patters.
It’s all too easy to see a player thrown into the wrong end of the depth chart and then judge his inability to swim. Looney is a placeholder. Crammed into a starting slot that isn’t his, the veteran is proving to be a reliable rotation player - especially within the context of the minutes he’s covering.
This road trip may very well be the last road trip without Klay Thompson. Once he comes back and is eating 20 minutes a game, everything changes. This is why I think Curry was so right about there being three phases to this season. Step one was “tread water till the full squad is reassembled” and it was a success. Let’s try not to judge how well the car runs just because there isn’t a cup holder in the back seat.
The Sixers are better than their record. In order to keep up the illusion that I’m writing previews here, we should touch on the Philadelphia 76ers quickly, Joel Embiid is back to being healthy, and the 76ers are again playing pretty basketball. Don’t let the record fool you, this is going to be a very tough game.
As good as Draymond has been against Embiid, this is one of the example rosters pointing towards every team needing a “beefy” big man. Expect the Warriors to struggle to contain him, and if Curry gets too tricky chasing that record, it could get weird again. It’s a toss up!