• Brian Cooney

The Impact of the "Stephen Curry Era"

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have changed the game of basketball worldwide. Basketball has continued to evolve over the years, but the Warriors Dynasty has brought the three point shot to life. Basketball players today are shooting the three-pointer at an elite rate, and it can be attributed to the success of the leader of this Warriors Dynasty: Steph Curry.

The three-pointer helped basketball become more advanced. Over the years, the NBA has seen an increase in the amount of three-point shots taken and the number of shots going in. According to shottracker.com, the NBA averaged 2.4 three-point attempts per game 5 years after the three-point introduction. Today, NBA teams average 29 per game. This new layer of the game allows teams to be effective from any spot on the floor and has made it difficult for defenses to clog the paint.

Steph Curry is the primary reason the three-point shot has taken over the NBA due to his style of play proving to be extremely effective. Steve Kerr came into the Golden State Warriors system knowing he had two of the greatest shooters of all time in Curry and other "Splash Brother," Klay Thompson. Through on-ball screens and flares from the corners, Kerr is able to use his shooters effectively by continuing to create open shots for them. Opposing defenses are always on their toes once Curry crosses half court because he can pull up and shoot from anywhere. Curry draws most of the attention from the defense, allowing his teammates to find open space to shoot a three or cut to the basket.

In 2016, the Golden State Warriors ended the regular season with a record of 73-9, besting the 1996 Chicago Bull's previous 72 win record. The Warriors shot a total of 2592 three-point shots this year, 17% more than they did the previous season according to basketballreference.com. They shot 41% as a team from three, leading them to the best regular season of all time. With the three-point shot being the catalyst of the Warriors team, other NBA teams have tried to replicate the success the Warriors found.

The Atlanta Hawks in 2018 drafted Trae Young, a sharpshooting point guard, and Kevin Huerter, a three-point specialist shooting guard, with their two first-round picks. Both players drew similar comparisons to the Warriors guards: Curry and Thompson. The Hawks were trying to build a "Splash Bros" combo for their own. Today, these two players are playing well and exceeding expectations together. Young has shown superstar potential, as he can score from anywhere past half court, much like his player comparison Curry. Huerter has had a lesser role than Trae Young has, yet has shown promise of becoming the Hawks starting shooting guard of the future.

As three-pointers increase, the number of three-point specialists in the league increase. The Miami Heat started undrafted shooting guard Duncan Robinson in the NBA finals this past season. Robinson was a G-League signee coming out of college and has made his way to the starting lineup on a competitive team. Since entering the NBA, he has shot 43.5% from the three-point line. So far this 2020-2021 season, he is averaging 14.5 PPG, on 8.5 3PA (3 Point Attempts). He was a key part in the Miami Heat's success last year, as he provided a spark of offense that no other player could provide at times. Three-point specialists are more valuable than ever because of this new era of basketball.

Teams are taking a record number of three-pointers per game and per season. Teams are even drafting and signing players who are elite three-point shooters but average at other areas. Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors changed the game of basketball as we know it, proving you can win effectively with a new style of play. I predict that the three-point shot will continue to increase in shots taken per season and shots made across the league.