Being an All-Star or not doesn’t actually mean anything, but in a game that’s supposed to recognize the excellence and popularity of NBA players, it was weird not seeing Stephen Curry being a part of it last season, and it’ll be even weirder if he’s not part of it in 2013-2014.
Curry has been enjoying a rare offseason that doesn’t have to do with ankle problems, so he can focus solely on improving his shooting (if there even is such a thing) and building his strength to avoid future injuries and become a better player when it comes to shooting while taking contract, which is something the Spurs realized during a certain point of the team’s conference semifinals last season.
Curry finished last year with 272 three pointers, setting a new NBA record for made shots from beyond the arc. But it wasn’t just about volume. Curry hit 45.3% of his shots last season while taking over 7 per game. That is the highest three-point field goal percentage in NBA history for a player attempting at least six shots a game, placing himself above Peja Stojakovic, Mitch Richmond and Ray Allen.
But as he gets close to the rim, Curry has more problems finishing. He scored 1.024 points per possession on shots around the rim last season, which is below the league average. In order to generate more space on his outside shooting, Curry needs to do much better in catch and shoot (43.2% when guarded in those situations), and start shooting a lot more from the inside, in order to get to the line more. He averaged 3.7 shots from the line last season, less than all of the players in the league who averaged more than 20 points per game (Curry averaged 22.9 per game).
In short, Curry wants to be more than a shooting phenomenon, and he’s on the right path. After years of struggling next to Monta Ellis, it seems he’s finally healthy just as the Warriors are building the right team around him. Next season expectations of him and the Warriors will be a lot higher than in the past, but if Curry’s offseason workout plans are as efficient as he hopes they are, last season’s All-Star snub will be the last time anyone surprised he isn’t a part of that weekend as a player on the Western team.