January was the worst shooting month of Curry’s career. That’s a simple fact. In 15 games Curry shot 38.5 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from behind the arc.
Of course, shooters all go cold from time to time – though close to 30 percent from distance over a sample size this large is navigating sub-zero temperatures by Curry’s lofty standards. These are numbers typically associated with Russell Westbrook shooting displays – not the almost supernatural being we’ve become so familiar with in the Bay.
The slump saw his overall numbers dip too. Curry is now averaging 26.0 points per game. The reigning scoring champion has gone from this season’s second-leading scorer to its tenth within the space of a month. Barring the 2019-20 season where he broke his hand and only played 5 games, Curry’s field goal percentage of 41.9 percent is the lowest of his career – whilst his current 3-point accuracy of 37.9 percent would see him fail to reach the 40 percent mark for the first-ever time.
An early December MVP straw poll conducted by various media members saw Curry receive 94 of the 100 first-place votes casted. In January, he has perhaps already shot himself out of the MVP lead discussion.
Searching for the cause
So, what was behind Steph’s struggles? Perhaps an emotional comedown after chasing and breaking Ray Allen’s three-point record? Maybe the physical fatigue and mental strain of shouldering the offensive load for a season and more without his Splash Brother? The idea that the change in his rotation minutes has stifled his rhythm is also a popular theory.
It’s likely that there is no single cause behind the slump, but rather a combination of factors. Curry will be 34 in March. His game is predicated on skill over athleticism. Although he has aged well like fine wine – rest becomes ever more important as the miles tick up in season thirteen. The All-Star break looming in the horizon comes at the perfect time for Curry. Offering him a chance to rest, reset and gear up for a stretch of basketball that matters so much more than the dog days of January.