Steph Curry's Under The Radar Season

Does Golden State rely on Curry more now than ever? Even with more superstars than ever, it looks like they might.

(Jesse D. Garrabrant/GettyImages)

I know this is a fresh new take but Steph Curry is really good. But with the addition of Kevin Durant many have questioned if Golden State is now Durant's team and if Curry is the best player on his own team anymore. On the surface this appears to be a legitimate question, Durant had one of his most efficient seasons while Curry seemed to have a down year. But taking a deeper look into the numbers it may appear Golden State is more Curry's team now than ever before.

First lets take a quick look why many people consider this a down year for Curry. His FG% dropped from 50% last year to 46% this year, his TS% took a hit from 67% to 62% and his 41% from beyond the arc was a career worse for him. Even looking at some advanced stats like Box Plus Minus and Win Shares this past season would rank 4th if we were just looking at his past 4 seasons. 

I get what many people must be thinking right now, all the numbers I just listed are all great arguments on why Golden State is now Durant's team and he is the best player on the team. But lets take a look at how Golden State plays with Curry on the court vs when Curry is on the bench.

(Ronald Martinez/GettyImages)

Curry led arguably one of the most dominant and deepest teams in the history of the NBA in on/off by a pretty wide margin. Curry's on/off rating this year was a +17.5 while Kevin Durant came in third on the team with a +8.2. For those of you that aren't stat nerds, the on/off rating is the point differential a player has for their team per 100 possessions. So this past year Golden State outscored their opponents by 17.5 points per 100 possessions when Curry was on the court. Now on the surface the +17.5 point differential doesn't seem all that great because just look at how stacked Golden State was, they're a super team and blowing people out all year long, so everyone on the team has a high on/off. That is true but if you continue to look even deeper you can see even more of the impact Curry had.

When taking a look at the impact Golden State players had when they sat down you will see one glaring difference between Curry and the rest of the players. Golden State had a + on/off net rating for every player even when they sat except for one player and that one player was Curry (-0.3). Curry was the one player that when he sat on the bench, Golden State no longer played like a super team, they actually played like just an average team.

If we look at how Golden State played when the other stars sat down you still saw a dominant team. Of the four star players for Golden State Kevin Durant actually had the smallest impact while sitting on the bench, Golden State still had a +7.4 when he sat compared to Klay Thompson's +6.5 and Draymond's +4.5.

So Curry may not have had the eye popping raw stats that he put up last year when he won the first unanimous MVP but there can be an argument that Golden State relies on him more now than ever before. These stats have carried into the playoffs as well where Curry still leads the team in on/off with a +28.7 and still is the only player on the roster that when he sits Golden State has a negative on/off rating. There should be no question on who's team Golden State is, it's Curry's.

May 29, 2017


David Graves