This Week In Hoops: February 29th

Hey, everyone! Welcome back to basketball season. If you were around these parts last year, you remember our weekly feature: This Week in Hoops. It’s changed a bit, but the essence is the same. If you’re new to Palestra Back, TWIH is a helpful guide to the recent goings on in the world of basketball. If something happens on the hardwood, you’ll hear about it here. 

The Biggest Story in Basketball

Words aren’t really able to turn Steph Curry and the Warriors into a story. The thought that not only did Curry pull up from 35 feet and casually drain a jumper to beat one of the best teams in the league, on the road, in overtime, but he did all of that and we fully expected him to do so. The rules of basketball, sports, and logic do not apply to Stephen Curry’s jump shot.

Saturday night he tied the single game record for threes made, in the process of passing his own record for threes made in a single season. You’ll remember that it is February and the Warriors have 24 more games on the schedule. Graphically, this situation looks silly:

Broken into numbers, it’s still insane.The previous record, set last year, was 286 made threes. Steph is sitting at 288 threes made this season.

He’s making 5.1 threes per game this season. No one has ever made more than 4 per game for an entire season.

At his current pace, he’ll make 122 more triples, for a total of 410 this season. That’s 43% more than his record breaking campaign last season.

To date, only 13 other players have made more 3-pointers than the 122 Curry is on pace to net in his final 24 games.

more than 122 3s

This season, only 35 players have made as many twos as Steph has made threes. One of those is Curry himself, having made one more shot from inside the arc than outside.

When, and if, Curry’s production is extrapolated to a full career’s worth, records and conventional wisdom will continue to fall by the wayside.

At his current career pace of 3.1 made threes per game (far lower than the 5.1 per game he’s making this year), assuming he plays 80 games per year, he is on pace to break Ray Allen’s all-time career record (2,973) in the 2021-2022 season, when he is 33 years old. Were he to keep that pace and play through the 2025-2026 season, retiring at 38 years old, we would make 1,000 more three pointers than anyone else ever.

If we assume that Stephen Curry has made a leap of sorts, and can continue to make 5.1 threes per game for the rest of his career, he’d pass Allen’s mark in 2019-2020, at age 31. If he kept that pace through the 2026-2027 season and retire at 39 years old, he’ll have made twice as many threes as any other player in the history of the game.

Lest we forget, Curry is far more than a one-trick pony. He’s averaging 30.7 points and 6.6 assists, per contests. Only six other players have accomplished that feat, and the list is not too shabby:

steph is great

Steph Curry is attempting two fewer field goals and playing six fewer minutes than anyone else to ever accomplish a season at that level. It’s getting absurd. He’s a lock for MVP, but there might be another award he could conceivably win this year:

That would be absurd, but justifiable. He’s doing things this year that have never been done before. And getting better! He’s most recent stretch might be the best of the year. The last four games he’s played are among the four best in the history of basketball.

stephs last 4

What? I didn’t make any of those numbers up. Four games against actual NBA defenses, for less than 36 minutes per game, and he’s averaging those numbers.

Even just his last two games have led to a series of absurd stats.

All of this has obviously affected more than Curry as an individual, with Golden State careening towards the all-time wins record. The Warriors have lost five games this season.

Steph Curry missed one of those games. Draymond Green missed another. They lost at Milwaukee the night after losing in Boston in double overtime. Damian Lillard beat them with 51 points the first game after the All-Star break, seemingly angry that he was snubbed from the festivities. The Warriors fifth loss came at Detroit, in a game in which the non-Splash Brother Warriors shot a combined 13 for 50 (26%).

They are 53-5, and we are almost forgetting how good that is.

I’ll be watching in the playoffs, but I’m not sure if it will be for any other reason than to see just how great Stephen Curry and the Warriors can be.

Basketball is Fun!

With all of the hot takes and super serious basketball related opinions out there, it’s important to remember that this is a game being played and watched for fun. Every week we’ll highlight something on the lighter side of the hoops world. 

Signs at College Gameday continue to be fantastic:

And this won’t exactly be filed under “fun”, but it does need to be mentioned. Max Hooper, Oakland guard famous for only shooting threes (he’s taken 229 shots this season, all longballs!), had a special moment with his dad at Senior Night.

Basketball is awesome.

Essential Reading

All the pieces and posts you need to read to be on the ball. 

Palestra Back this week: we went all lowercase to whisper about the biggest secrets in college hoops.

More from me, at Rush The Court: The split between mid-majors and power conference schools is so stark when they battle on the bubble. I detailed the issue of scheduling unfairness when comparing resumes. 

FiveThirtyEight took a breather from election coverage to ask what the hell happened to LeBron’s jumper.

I will read anything about how big Kawhi Leonard’s hands are, especially this great piece by ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh.

I am madly in love with Utah big man Jakob Poetll and after reading this glowing post by SBNation’s Ricky O’Donnell, you may be too.

Rank Shots

May the Tuesday Top Tens rest in pieces. Long live Rank Shots! If you’re not familiar, this is where we rank the best teams in the NBA, college basketball, and rank another totally irrelevant something.

NBA:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. (i think i’m back to putting space between the dubs and the world)
  3. San Antonio Spurs
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers
  6. Toronto Raptors
  7. Los Angeles Clippers
  8. Memphis Grizzlies

College Basketball

  1. Kansas
  2. Villanova
  3. Virginia
  4. Michigan State
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Maryland
  7. Kentucky
  8. Xavier
  9. Iowa
  10. Arizona
  11. North Carolina
  12. Utah
  13. Duke
  14. Vanderbilt
  15. Texas A&M
  16. Texas
  17. Indiana
  18. Miami
  19. Purdue
  20. West Virginia

30 Rock Characters

Happy Leap Day, everyone! Hope you’re wearing blue and yellow, then Leap Day William will give you some candy for your tears! If none of that makes any sense, watch the incredible Leap Day themed episode of the now dearly departed 30 Rock. When I’m sad, I visit these people and they always cheer me up:

  1. Dr. Spaceman
  2. Jack Donaghy
  3. Liz Lemon
  4. Pete Hornberger
  5. Tracy Jordan
  6. Lutz
  7. Grizz and Dotcom
  8. Dennis Duffy
  9. Carol Burnett
  10. Frank
  11. Avery
  12. Toofer
  13. Kenneth Purcell
  14. Cerie
  15. Jenna Maroney
  16. Danny
  17. Criss
  18. Johnathan
  19. Whatever the hell Julianne Moore was doing

Something Vaguely Basketball Related You Should Have Seen By Now

This is the bad boy we’re going split open.

Games To Watch This Week

Monday

NCAA: #21 Kansas at #23 Texas (9 PM/ESPN)

Tuesday

NBA: Hawks at Warriors (10:30/NBATV)

NCAA: #22 Kentucky at Florida (7 PM/ESPN), #19 Baylor at #6 Oklahoma (8 PM/ESPN2), #12 Indiana at #16 Iowa (9 PM/ESPN)

Wednesday

NBA: Thunder at Clippers (10:30/ESPN)

NCAA: #7 Miami at Notre Dame, Seton Hall at Butler (8:30/FS1)

Thursday

NBA: Thunder at Warriors (10:30/TNT)

happy harvey

NCAA: #25 Cal at #18 Arizona (9 PM/ESPN)

Friday

NBA: Wizards at Cavaliers (8 PM/ESPN)

NCAA: We got the smaller conference tournaments starting this week. Maybe kickstart your weekend with Southern Illinois and Northern Iowa (3:30/ESPN3)?

Saturday

NCAA: Vanderbilt at #20 Texas A&M (Noon/ESPN2)

LSU at #22 Kentucky (2 PM/CBS)

#10 West Virginia at #19 Baylor (2 PM/ESPN)

#21 Iowa State at #1 Kansas (4 PM/ESPN)

#8 UNC at #17 Duke (6:30/ESPN)

#16 Iowa at Michigan (8 PM/BTN)

VCU at Dayton (8 PM/CBSSN)

#11 Louisville at #4 Virgnia (8:30/ESPN)

Colorado at #13 Utah (9:30/ESPNU)

Sunday

NBA: Warriors at Lakers (3:30/ABC)

NCAA: #14 Maryland at #12 Indiana (4:30/CBS), Wisconsin at #15 Purdue (7:30/BTN)

Enjoy the games, folks. 

(Note: Every edition of This Week in Hoops will end with a song. I’ve compiled all of these songs into a playlist that you can find here.)

**

Header Image via AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and writer at PalestraBack.com. He has also contributed to SALTMoney.org, Rush The Court, ESPN.com, and USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain. If you have any suggestions, tips, ideas, or questions, email them to palestraback@gmail.com.

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