Flash back to October 2012. Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors were coming off a tough 2011-12 season with coach Mark Jackson going 23-43, in what most would call ‘growing pains’ in an NBA coach’s first season. It was tough; plain and simple.
The following season, 2012-13, was a different year. It put the Warriors back on the map and back to a relevancy it has missed since the Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin days. Let me tell you why this year is different, why Curry is putting up better numbers while sitting more and most importantly, why the Utah Jazz are to thank.
Last season, Stephen Curry had 31 games during the 2012-2013 season where he played over 41 minutes and 41 games where he had between 30-39 minutes (BasketballReference.com). Curry had 15 double-doubles and only scored less than 10 points five times while missing only 4 games last season. That is tough for a franchise player to take. That will wear on you during a full 82-game season. To put that in perspective, only six other players played more minutes than Stephen Curry last season: Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Monta Ellis, DeMar DeRozan, Kobe Bryant and James Harden.
During last year’s postseason, I wondered how long the Warriors could last. Yes, they were young, however, after 82 games, a six-game series with the Nuggets, a thin bench and an unhealthy David Lee, the Warriors had every reason to crash and burn in the Spurs series. Unfortunately, they eventually did. The Spurs sweep of the Lakers, their deep bench and star players getting the rest they needed, it proved to be the difference in the end. It’s hard to be a jump shooter if you have no legs. It was obvious, their legs were shot. An immediate change was needed and the Warriors Front Office needed to make something happen.
With the multiple player trade sending Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and others to the Utah Jazz, cap space was created for the signing of free agent Andre Iguodola to add him to the mix. Yes, this meant that Harrison Barnes would probably come off the bench, but with a bench that was thin as it was, it proved to be a great move by last night’s last second shot, I don’t think the Warriors are regretting that decision one bit. They’ve also added Toney Douglas who looks to fill the role of backup point guard along with tenured forwards Marreese Speights and Jermaine O’Neal to the mix to free up minutes for the starting lineup.
Through eight games this season, Stephen Curry has averaged 4 minutes less a game. Here are the statistics that have gone up: Field Goals Made, Field Goal Percentage, Three Pointers Made, Three Pointers Attempted, Three Point Percentage, Free Throw Percentage, Assists, Blocks, Points. (click image below to see the breakdown)
The only categories I feel that are to worry about is that his turnovers have increased 0.25 per game, but his assists average is higher, therefore it counters it. Steph Curry has rested 36 more minutes through 8 games this season. This will be huge down the stretch and with the Warriors currently leading the Pacific Division, it’s shown some dividends so far.
I think that Warriors Front Office got the memo. Steph Curry can definitely do more, with less. On behalf of Utah Jazz fans, “You’re Welcome.”
References: BasketballReference.com. “Stephen Curry Game Log.” http://goo.gl/RmZJ1z. October 15th, 2013.