Stephen Curry is on pace for two mind-boggling feats, but which is more impressive?

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Stephen Curry is having an historic season, even by his standards. Here’s a look at what he’s doing, what’s most impressive about it and what it all ultimately means.

We’ve seen this before. Stephen Curry is leading the league in scoring while shooting 51.3 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from 3 and 93.8 percent at the free throw line. He is on track to join Steve Nash and Larry Bird as the only repeat members of the 50-40-90 club, to join Steve Kerr as the only 50-50-90 club member, and to join himself as the only other 50-40-90 scoring champ.

When put together, no one has come close to what the Golden State Warriors guard is doing. His true shooting percentage of 68.9 has been topped only by Tyson Chandler (three times), Artis Gilmore (twice) and Kyle Korver. Gilmore scored topped out at 18.5 points in those years, Korver at 12.1 per game and Chandler at 11.3 per game.

Curry is at 30.1 points per game. For all intents and purposes, he is having the most dominant scoring season of all time. So that’s the first feat.

The second feat stems from the second “50” in Curry’s slash line. Even without the field goal and free throw percentages attached to it, the number would be historic.

Only six NBA players have ever made half of their 3-point attempts in a season: Kerr (three times), Korver, Jason Kapono, Detlef Schrempf, Tim Legler and Jon Sundvold. None of them have done so on what anyone would consider “high volume.”

We could define that term with a specific cut-off (minimum 5.0 attempts, for example), but doing so would undersell the clarity of this delineation. High volume is somewhere in the 5-7 attempt range. The closest a 50-percent 3-point shooter has ever come was in 1995-96, when Legler shot 52.2 percent on 3.2 attempts per game.

In other words, you could cut Curry’s attempts in half to 5.4, and he’d still be in a different volume class than any 50 percent shooter has ever been.

But alas, he’s taking 10.7 per game. And so that halfway figure does not define a theoretical volume that would still be record-setting, but rather the number of triples Curry is making on a nightly basis. Put another way: Curry is making more 3s than any 50 percent 3-point shooter has ever attempted, and not by a slim margin.

I probably don’t need to be so strategic in how I package this. Most people get it. And yet, even those who might respond sarcastically to my — “I understand math, yes” — don’t seem to grasp the historic nature of this.

Three-point accuracy was a skill possessed almost exclusively by specialists for decades. As a result, the greatest 3-point shooter of all-time is seen, in some ways, as a supercharged specialist. Sure, he’s setting 3-point records, but what about his rebound and assist numbers?

This would be comparable to asking about Barry Bonds’ stolen base totals the year he hit 73 home runs, or Tom Brady’s rushing yards when he threw for 50 touchdowns. The most impactful scoring play in basketball is the 3-pointer, and thus it is the most valuable stat to dominate in.

To a certain extent, Curry has also made us immune to this type of dominance. In 2015-16, when he was averaging over 5.0 3s a game (no one had ever averaged 4.0), people understood and were talking about how he is breaking the game of basketball. Now, we see him hitting significantly more 3s than he was that season, at a significantly higher percentage, but the response is one of far less awe.

There is some reason for tempered excitement. We are only a third of the way into the season, and Curry has missed a third of the season to date. Seventeen games is not a major sample size. The odds that Curry averages 5.4 3s per game all year are low; the odds he shoots over 50 percent while doing so are infinitesimal.

Another thing that is unlikely: Curry to fall off so much that his feat is no longer historic, even by his standards. He would have to shoot below his career average of 43.9 percent from here on out to not set a career high in percentage (45.4 percent being his personal best), and would have to do so on less than 8.8 attempts (his four-year low is 9.8) to not make the second-most 3s per game in NBA history (4.3).

In other words, Curry is almost certainly going to set a career high in efficiency, while making more 3s per game than any player ever has (other than himself in 2015-16).

Either feat alone — 50-50-90 shooting while leading the league in scoring OR shooting 50 percent from deep at historic volume — is enough to build a rock-solid MVP case, if not to win the award.

Doing them all at the same time? We’ve truly never seen this before, seeing as we’ve never seen any one of these things.

NBA award voters notoriously raise their standards for past winners. That’s why Curry had to do something historic to repeat as MVP in 2015-16, and that historic feat had to be at the center of the winningest season ever for him to win the award unanimously.

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For that same man to win the award a third time? I suppose it would take something like this.