SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For Stephen Curry‘s own standards, he acknowledges his shooting statistics this season haven’t been to his liking.
But the back-to-back MVP, in an exclusive interview with ESPN, said that he took exception to some of the criticisms he’s received and added that there has been a healthy dose of overreaction.
“Yeah, I heard the words ‘slump’ and ‘down year’ and all sorts of other ways to describe something that wasn’t really a problem for me,” Curry told ESPN. “I obviously hold myself to the highest standard. Still, at this point, I’m not at the numbers I was last year, but I’m not worried about that because it’s a different year. Every shot I take, I have confidence I’m going to make it, and over the course of the season, I expect that to show itself as we go along.”
Curry is averaging 24.8 points a night and shooting 40 percent from 3-point range, the lowest long-distance mark of his career. Furthermore, his 47 percent clip from the field is his third-lowest career percentage.
His NBA-record 157 consecutive games of knocking down at least one 3-pointer was snapped earlier in the season, and he’s had an 0-for-10 shooting night and a 1-for-11 affair this season.
But he’s slowly starting to find his groove.
On Monday, the Golden State Warriors‘ franchise point guard was honored as the Western Conference Player of the Week after averaging 31.8 points, 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds for games played from Jan. 2 to Jan. 8.
“There’s a lot of scrutiny over something to me, that wasn’t really an issue, knowing that it will all average out, most likely,” Curry said to ESPN. “I try to get better from year to year, so if you survey it from that standpoint just off of raw numbers, I’m not achieving my goal right now. But there are a lot of things that go into it obviously.”
Curry finds it humorous to suggest that he’s been ‘in a slump.’
“That is the one that’s most comical, because if you look at the numbers at that point, in the politest way, I’ll take those slump numbers any day of the week,” Curry told ESPN. “But I know it’s a long year and a lot more games to play. I try not to get caught up in that nonsense. It’s a roller-coaster ride of a season. It is what it is.”
Head coach Steve Kerr compared what Curry is experiencing to that of a baseball legend.
“If people think that you’re just supposed to do that every year, that’s crazy,” Kerr told ESPN. “Ted Williams didn’t hit .400 every year, but every year he hit about .350, .360 and that’s what Steph is doing. The expectations on Steph are outrageous.”
Williams, arguably the purest hitter of all time, batted .406 in 1941. The next year it dipped to .356, an average that would probably secure the batting crown most years.
Andre Iguodala, Curry’s teammate, said he was dumbfounded when he first heard of a slump being associated with the point guard.
“I be like, ‘What are y’all even talking about.’ Like, why? That’s just the world we live in,” Iguodala said to ESPN. “It’s like, whatever. You can be on the best team and winning the most games and they’ll try to find something. It’s almost sad because they look for things to say negative. They just look [for] something, anything.”
He blames the media for reaching for a narrative.
“I think they’re just looking for something,” Iguodala continued. “It’s not just that he set the bar so high. I don’t think it’s that. It’s just the hate. That’s just how they’ve been since the beginning of time. And you’re not going to write that, but that’s just how they are. Since the beginning of time, it’s some things that we can do that they can’t do. And they’ve been trying ever since to either try to do it, which they can’t, and they figure that out, and to make us feel less than what we are.”
The debate about whether Curry is having an up or down year will probably continue if his stats remain similar to what they are now, but he made it abundantly clear that all he’s concerned about are the standings.
“It doesn’t matter what the numbers say. If we’re winning, and I’m doing my job, my teammates know I’m doing my job, that’s all I’m worried about,” Curry said.