Steph's prolonged slump highlights importance of Draymond


It was known and expected that the Warriors would feel Draymond Green's absence on the defensive end. Green had been playing a Defensive Player of the Year level before feeling calf tightness that turned out to be connected to a lower disc issue in his back.

The Warriors will have a difficult time re-capturing their defensive identity with Green in street clothes. But the three-time champion's absence also is being felt on the other end of the floor, and his return might be the key to snapping Steph Curry out of the worst shooting slump of his career.

After scoring 13 points on 5-for-20 shooting, including 1-for-13 from 3-point range, in the Warriors' 94-92 win over the Utah Jazz on Sunday, Curry is now shooting 37.1 percent from the field and 32.7 from distance through 11 games in January. This comes after a December in which Curry shot 40.4 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Green's absence from the offense might be helping prolong Curry's deep freeze.

As Stan Van Gundy pointed out on Twitter, in the past two seasons, Curry has played 91 games with Green and 14 without him. In those 91 games, Curry is averaging 30.5 points per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 41.4 from distance. Without Green, Curry's numbers drop to 24.8 points, 40.6 percent overall, and 34.4 from deep.

Curry's slump predates Green's back injury, but there is no discounting the impact Green has on Curry and the Warriors' offense. Green and Curry have impeccable chemistry developed over years of playing together. Green knows where Curry wants the ball and has a feel for what the two-time MVP will do before Curry makes his move.

This isn't a knock on Curry, it simply highlights Green's importance to the Warriors on the offensive end and how he is able to take some of the pressure off Curry with his vision and passing ability. The trust the two have in one another is one of the foundational pieces of what makes Golden State's offense so dangerous when running at full capacity.

Bleacher Report's Andrew Bailey dug a little deeper into the Green-Curry stats, and the bigger sample size paints a similar picture.

Per Bailey, since 2014-15 when Green is on the court, Curry is averaging 28.3 points per 75 possessions while shooting 43.4 percent from three with an effective field goal percentage of 60.6 and a 65.0 true shooting percentage. With Green off the floor, Curry still is averaging 28.5 points per 75 possession, but the rest of the numbers fall to 38.1/54.5/59.8.

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Curry's slump predates Green's back injury, but it's plausible that the deep freeze would have ended by now had Green been available.

In Curry's final two games with Green on the floor, he went 8-for-41 from the field and 2-for-19 from 3-point range. But in the four games prior, he averaged 34.8 points while shooting 45.4 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from 3-point land.

Curry is the greatest shooter of all time. But his job is made easier when Green is on the floor to orchestrate the offense and get him the looks to light the fire that leads to a Curry explosion.

It's a matter of when, not if, Curry snaps out of his slump. It's coming. But don't be surprised if there's an explosion shortly after Green returns to the floor.

Like John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Curry and Green, while individually great, are something entirely different when together.

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