The Unbelievably Overlooked Story of the 2016-17 NBA Season
Don’t forget about Stephen Curry, folks.
At 29 years old, he is a two-time NBA MVP award winner and in the prime of his playing career. He is widely considered to be the best shooter in the game today and may go down as arguably the best shooter to have ever played the game, once his career is all said and done. He is, undoubtedly, a future Basketball Hall of Famer.
It may seem rather odd to feel the need to remind people about Curry after the conclusion of the 2016-17 NBA season. His team, the Golden State Warriors, just won its second NBA title in three years and has made three-straight NBA Finals appearances. The Warriors are on the brink of becoming a dynasty, with Curry being the team’s unstoppable floor general.
So, why the need to remind people about the guy? Allow me to explain. Amid all the hoopla surrounding the Warriors since becoming a super team, it can be easy to forget that Steph just accomplished something this past season that no other player in NBA history but him has ever accomplished: he finished the 2016-17 regular season with more than 300 total made 3-pointers.
At first, this one statistic may seem a little underwhelming, given everything else I’ve just mentioned about Steph and the Warriors. But think about it. Why does this statistic seem underwhelming? Wait for it. It’s because this is Steph Curry we’re talking about here! A guy who has clearly shown since entering the league that he can effortlessly knock down 3-point jump shots with the best of them. This does not mean, however, that his historic accomplishment this past season should be overlooked.
During the 2015-16 NBA season, Curry was by far the No. 1 scoring option for a team that, although loaded with talent, was not considered to be a super team. The Warriors won their first 24 games to start the regular season, going on to accumulate a record-setting 73-9 regular-season record. For the second season in a row, they secured home-court advantage throughout the playoffs with a No. 1 seed. They did so with Curry also accumulating a record-setting 402 total made 3-pointers in the regular season. No other player in the NBA’s extensive history, which is rich with great shooters, had even cracked the 300 mark by that point, let alone 400. Curry became the league’s first-ever unanimous MVP selection that season, too.
During the 2016-17 season, Curry still managed to crack the 300 mark for 3-pointers made in a regular season, despite being on a team considered to be a super team. He had a much quieter historic 3-point accomplishment this season, compared to the year before. However, the fact that he still managed to achieve the feat while being part of a deep NBA roster full of All-Star players is astounding.
The Warriors had acquired free-agent Kevin Durant during the 2016 NBA offseason, which meant the team now had another MVP-caliber superstar to look to for scoring. At nearly 7-feet tall, the slim and lengthy Durant is more than just a force to be reckoned with in the paint; he is well-known for his jump-shooting ability as well, including the 3-point jump shot. Still, Curry totaled 324 3-pointers during the 2016-17 regular season. Impressive.
The Warriors also had the sharp-shooting Klay Thompson during the 2016-17 season. Thompson is a player whose game has come to be defined by the possibility of scoring 50+ points on any given night, a feat that he’s achieved more than once throughout the past three seasons. As one half of the NBA’s so-called “Splash Brothers” duo, Thompson is often an option for the Warriors on the perimeter. Still, Steph totaled 324 3-pointers during the 2016-17 regular season. Crazy.
Curry has led the league in most threes made during the regular season numerous times by now. Curry hit a total of 272 threes during the 2012-13 season, which was a record number at the time. Even so, he failed to crack 300 on a team not nearly as talented as the 2017 NBA championship team.
Curry then hit a total of 261 threes during the 2013-14 season. Even so, he still failed to crack 300 on a team that had just one All-NBA player that season: him.
Curry then sunk a total of 286 threes during the 2014-15 season, which was also a record number at the time. Even so, he once again failed to crack 300 on a team that did not boast four reigning All-NBA players. The Warriors did go on to win the NBA title that season, though.
Thanks to the combination of Curry, Durant, Thompson and Draymond Green, the 2016-17 Warriors squad was headlined by four guys who were All-Stars in 2016, two of which are also MVP award winners. All four of them went on to be All-Star selections in 2017 as well. Their deep roster garnered a 67-15 regular-season record; they also captured home-court advantage throughout the playoffs for the third year in a row.
Durant was the runaway choice for the NBA Finals MVP award after putting on dominant performances for the Warriors in their five games against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Durant, Curry and Green were All-NBA selections in 2017. On a team this loaded, “Chef Curry” still totaled 324 3-pointers during the regular season. Unbelievable.