There have been many, many blog posts about Steph Curry’s dominance this year but let me add one more just for fun. Using data from dougstats.com, I looked into Curry’s dominance in 3-point shooting.
The average number of 3-pointers made so far this season (excluding Steph Curry) is 42. However, this isn’t exactly the group we want to compare Steph against, since we wouldn’t consider, say, DeAndre Jordan his peer in terms of 3-point responsibility. Instead, I considered guards that have played in 60+ games so far this season. After doing so the average number of 3-pointers made about doubles to 87 (again, excluding Curry). Meanwhile, Steph Curry has 343 threes and is on track to finish the season with 398, more than one hundred more than his own single-season record. Here’s how the outlier that is Steph Curry looks graphically.
Four years ago Klay Thompson would’ve been on track to beat Ray Allen’s single-season record, but because of Curry, Thompson has to settle for a distant second.
Curry has been ahead of everyone else all season long and this distance only grows larger with each game as this chart shows (made with data from Basketball-Reference.com):
How rare is Steph Curry’s season? If we think of creating an NBA guard as a random normal process and give it this seasons mean and standard deviation of three pointers made we can get a rough idea. As it turns out the distribution of threes is skewed (as you might expect), but if you squint a bit you can see the distribution of the square root of each player’s three pointers made is approximately normal (this was revealed by using the PowerTransform function in R’s car package).
Assuming the parameters above we would expect to see a “2015-2016 Steph Curry” about once every 200 seasons.
Here is Curry’s shot chart so far this season (using data from stats.NBA.com and this tutorial from The Data Game):