The Warriors have started the 2021-22 NBA season 8-1, and while Steph Curry has had a few big games, he hasn't been the driving force behind the best record in the league.
After scoring 36 points on Oct. 28 against the Memphis Grizzlies, Curry has scored 20, 15, 19 and 20 points in the next four games -- all Warriors wins. Through nine games, he's averaging 25.1 points on 42 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent shooting from 3-point range. If those percentages held, they would be the lowest of Curry's career minus the 2019-20 season when he played just five games after suffering a hand injury that cost him most of the pandemic-shortened season.
Part of the reason for Curry's subpar numbers was that he was "under the weather" for a few days. But another factor is that coach Steve Kerr admittedly is experimenting with the Warriors' rotation pattern.
The reigning NBA scoring champ has had a pretty consistent rotation since Kerr joined the Warriors in 2014-15. Curry would play the entire first and third quarters and would play the final five or six minutes of the second and fourth quarters, barring fouls or blowouts. But with a deeper bench and more weapons at his disposal this season, Kerr is trying to see if certain groupings work well together.
There have been times this season where Kerr will sub Curry out of the game midway through the first or third quarters, and either sub him back in three minutes later or leave him on the bench and bring him back in to start the second or fourth quarters. Sometimes, Curry has finished the first or third and stayed in to start the second or fourth, which is unusual for him in recent years.
But by changing Curry's rotation pattern, the two-time NBA MVP hasn't been able to get into a consistent rhythm on the court, which could be leading to some of these performances.
"I think we're still trying to figure out Steph's rotation right now," Kerr told reporters Monday roughly 90 minutes before the Warriors tipped off with the Atlanta Hawks on Chase Center. "And I've talked to him about it. We're experimenting with a few things because part of it is that we're looking at a lot of different combinations overall. And I want to see him as part of some of them. So I haven't really done him any favors in the early part of the season, in terms of helping him get into a rhythm because he's been in and out of the rotation.
"But the great thing with Steph is he's always open to anything as long as it's geared towards winning. I think we'll get more comfortable with his rotation as we go."
After the Warriors' 41-point win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night, Curry was asked about his minutes and rotation. His first few answers were short, noting that he was fine with everything because the team was winning, while also saying that it was still early in the season. Then he provided a little more insight into his mindset.
"I'm open to different looks that maybe keep minutes monitored, but still allow it to be continuous so you still keep a rhythm and what I'm used to," Curry said. "But again, long season, so things get ironed out and change pretty quickly depending on how things are going."
After two seasons without playoff appearances, Curry, Kerr and the Warriors are eyeing a postseason return and hope to play deep into May and June. Kerr understands that October, November and December are the times to play with rotation patterns and see what works before the playoff push begins.
Curry might not be benefitting from what Kerr and the coaching staff are working on right now, but the rest of the team is thriving, and it's helping the Warriors win games. At the end of the day, that's what matters to all parties involved.