Steph Curry Ignites the 2023–24 NBA Season: Defying Logic and Age with a ‘White-Hot’ Start

There will come a time when Father Time taps the shoulder of Stephen Curry. It happens to the best of the best and the fittest of the fit.

Meanwhile, allow yourself to watch his work with the Warriors and wonder while you wait. It’s wise to pack your patience.

Curry on Monday night reacquainted himself with the challenges of a back-to-back road set by scoring 42 points in 30 minutes – and adding five rebounds, five assists and two steals as the Warriors rolled to a 130-102 win over the Pelicans at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.

“I don’t know what his numbers are, but he’s white-hot,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters in New Orleans. “It’s amazing watching him. He looks better than ever. At 35.”

Curry’s numbers through the first four games of his 15th NBA season are mind-blowing: 33.5 points per game, shooting 55.8 percent from the field, including 47.1 percent beyond the arc. He’s averaging more than one point per minute on dazzling efficiency, with an effective field goal percentage of 71.4. His 24 3-pointers through the first four games of the season are an NBA record.

This is Curry’s most productive start since 2015-16, when he was the first unanimous MVP award winner in NBA history – and well beyond what he typically delivers through the first week of the season. It’s better than last season, which was better than the season before, which was better than 2020-21. Which was better than 2019-20.

The man has literally improved his start for five consecutive seasons – from age 31 through 35 – at a point where many NBA players show signs of decline.

“He puts the work in every summer, and he keeps looking for ways to get better,” Kerr said. “He’s constantly searching for edges in his training. There’s a reason he’s Steph Curry but . . . it’s just stunning to watch.”

Particularly for someone with such a high usage rate. Kobe Bryant was 34 when he last averaged more than 20 points per game over a full season. Dwyane Wade was 33. Russell Westbrook was 32, as was Allen Iverson. Paul Pierce was 31.

Yet there was Curry, 35 years, seven months and 16 days young, torching a superb defender, New Orleans wing Herbert Jones – less than 24 hours after goading bombastic Dillon Brooks of the Houston Rockets into a series of pointless jumping jacks.

On a night without Klay Thompson (right knee soreness) and Jonathan Kuminga (left knee contusion), who combined to average 27.3 points through the first three games, Curry filled the void in spectacular fashion.

“When those two guys are out, especially Klay, it opens up more opportunities,” Curry told NBA TV. “And I had to be aggressive because it opens up options for everybody else, too. Thankfully, shots went down early, which got us into it – especially on a back-to-back.”

Curry’s 16-point first quarter set a tone that kept the Warriors on task through the first half, and his 12-point third quarter sent them soaring toward blowout mountain.

Golden State outscored New Orleans 71-45 after halftime, with Curry gashing their defense for 24 points. He finished plus-13 over 30 minutes.

“It’s crazy,” rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis said of Curry’s fast start. “Watching it on TV it’s still incredible, but when you get it first-hand, seeing it live, preseason and then now, what he’s doing is just . . . he’s on fire.

“Every time he shoots the ball, I’m already thinking that the ball is going in. Credit to him because he’s playing at another level.”

A level that defies age and logic. A level that should not be sustainable. But at this point, why bother with projection. There’s a fantastic, long-running show that is a joy to watch. Enjoy it until it’s gone.

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