Stephen Curry is out at least two weeks after suffering a scary-looking sprained ankle. While x-rays were negative, this injury should have Curry, the Warriors and their fans remembering the dark ages of basketball. A time when Curry’s ankles were an issues and the Warriors had missed the playoffs for five consecutive seasons. The year was 2012 and it was the last time someone not name Stephen Curry led the NBA in 3-pointers made.
During the 2011-2012 NBA season Ryan Anderson led the league in 3’s with a whopping 166. Curry made 166 in his rookie season which was good enough for 6th in the league. With this injury James Harden now has the inside track to lead the league in 3’s and snap Curry’s streak of 5 straight seasons doing so. He already had a 98-83 advantage.
For a little perspective, twenty players made more than 166 3-pointers last season. Jason Terry made the 2nd most 3’s in ’11-’12 with 138. Seth Curry made 137 3’s last season. He was 40th in the league. 31 players made 100-or-more 3’s in ’11-’12. 91 made 100 3’s last season. James Harden currently has already made 98 in 22 games this season.
It’s amazing how much the league has changed since ankle injuries forced Curry to miss 40 games in single season. It’s the reason Curry played on a discounted 4-year $44 million contract during his incredible streak. Curry played from 2012 to 2017 as one of the best bargains in all of sports. He won two MVP awards and two titles while playing on a 4-year, $44 million contract. He never once missed more than four games in a season on that contract. Though he did miss 6 games in the 2016 playoffs with an ankle injury.
Maybe that’s why last summer Warriors owner Joe Lacob reportedly wanted to bring a less-than-max offer to the table before he was talked out of it by general manager Bob Myers. Maybe this injury will prove Lacob right. Curry could only miss a handful of games, but if issues linger, we’ll find out if that 5-year, $201 million supermax contract was worth it. Every time Curry tweaks his ankle there will be legitimate concerns.
Even if he makes a full recovery, the era of Curry being head-and-shoulders above all other shooters could be over. James Harden and Klay Thompson were already ahead of Curry. After setting the NBA record in ’15-’16 with 402 3’s, Curry dipped back to 324 last season. The second-most ever, but that number could be topped by both Thompson and Harden this year. This year he is shooting a career-low 38% from 3 which is down from a career-low 41% last season. Meanwhile, Harden is shooting a career-high 40% on a career-high 11 attempts a game. For now, before the injury, Harden had caught up. If he stays healthy, Curry won’t catch him.