Stephen Curry started the 2022-23 season putting up numbers on par with his unanimous MVP campaign.
Then, injury struck.
On Dec. 14, Curry suffered a partial dislocation of his left shoulder. The injury sidelined him for almost a month. The Warriors were a disaster when he wasn't on the court prior to his injury, but they managed to keep their head above water in the games he missed, going a surprising 6-5.
How has Curry looked since returning? Let's take a closer look.
Stephen Curry continues to shake off rust in return from injury
As you'd expect from anyone sidelined for as long as he was, Curry has had some rust to shake off.
In his first three games since returning from injury, he averaged 19.7 points in 29.6 minutes on .449/.313/.714 shooting splits. He also averaged almost as many turnovers (3.0) and fouls (3.0) as assists (3.3), which isn't ideal.
According to Basketball Reference's Game Score — a scale that gives a rough estimate of a player's productivity for a single game — those were three of the five-worst games Curry has played so far this season.
The good news for the Warriors? Curry was pretty dang good in his last outing.
In a win over the Wizards on Monday, Curry scored 41 points while shooting 12-for-28 from the field, 6-for-15 from 3-point range and 11-for-12 from the free throw line. It still wasn't a perfect game for him, but he got hot in the first and fourth quarters to lead the Warriors to victory.
It was encouraging to see Curry in attack mode, which helped him draw his second-most fouls in a game this season (7). The Wizards were physical with him at times but he looked comfortable playing through the contact.
Stephen - 41 PTS / 6 3PM— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 16, 2023
Jordan - 32 PTS / 7 3PM
Splash party in D.C. ☔️ pic.twitter.com/fZt2iCfVIH
"I think we have seen him over the last few games, since he's back, kind of take steps," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said of Curry after his 41-point performance. "He's had some moments.
"I thought even tonight, he was struggling early on, closed the first quarter with a flurry and then second quarter kind of struggled and looked a little bit tired to me. I don't think he looked like he was looking three weeks ago before the injury, but you can see him breaking through barriers."
Curry faces his biggest test yet on Thursday when the Warriors take on the Celtics in a Finals rematch.
Curry was a problem for the Celtics in the first meeting between the two teams this season, scoring 32 points in a 16-point win. And, of course, he gave them plenty of nightmare fuel in the 2022 NBA Finals when he torched them to the tune of 31.2 points per game, earning him his fourth championship and first Finals MVP award.
Grading Stephen Curry since injury return
This is all about expectations. Could Curry have played better? Yes. Should anyone have expected him to play better considering he's coming back from a partially dislocated shoulder? I don't think so.
It's no surprise that it's taking him some time to find his footing again and his performance against the Wizards was a promising step in the right direction.
Warriors upcoming schedule
The Warriors have two games remaining on their road trip before they return to Golden State.
The Warriors are now 5-17 on the road this season following their win over the Wizards compared to 17-5 at home. The Rockets are the only team in the Western Conference that has won fewer away games (4).
Here are Golden State's next five games:
|Date||Opponent||Time (ET)||TV channel|
|Jan. 19||at Celtics||7:30 p.m.||TNT|
|Jan. 20||at Cavaliers||7:30 p.m.||—|
|Jan. 22||vs. Nets||8:30 p.m.||NBA TV|
|Jan. 25||vs. Grizzlies||10:00 p.m.||ESPN|
|Jan. 27||vs. Raptors||10:00 p.m.||NBA TV|