I have to hand it to KD: coming into this season, he faced all the pressure in the world after ditching Oklahoma City this summer, and everyone wanted him to fail -- he was indeed the ultimate NBA villain on the ultimate NBA super-team (which is pretty much a synonym for 'villain' these days). So how did he respond? Try: by turning in the most efficient season of his career.
It's not just the raw numbers that jump out at you, although they are nonetheless impressive: 25.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals per game -- but that's not necessarily anything out of the ordinary by Durant's standards, although both his rebounding and block averages are the highest of his career, which is a testament to the new team-first role that he has embraced in Golden State.
But more to the point of "team-first", as I had mentioned before, is Durant's efficiency. Indeed, KD's 0.592 Effective Field Goal Percentage mark not only ranks eleventh in the league thus far this season, but also as by far the highest in the forward's own personal career. True Shooting Percentage, which accounts for free throws (unlike efg%) as well as threes and field goals, gives Durant a 0.647 mark, which is also good for eleventh in the league. For context, KD has put up shooting splits of 53.7/39.3/86.2 to date, flirting with another 50/40/90 season.
Hence Durant has put his Warriors above all else, and I commend him for it, seeing a considerable drop-off in points per game, and his efforts have yielded results. This is true not only on an individual basis -- Durant ranks sixth in the league in both PER (27.45) and EWA -- but also on a team basis: to date, KD has been the best player on the league's best team, leading the Golden State Warriors to a 30-5 (0.857) record.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen... albeit not that far. To be honest, however, the addition of Durant to Golden State has hurt Curry's production so much that I almost didn't put the guard on this list. Steph's PER of 23.46 ranks 20th in the league; and in VA (Value Added) and EWA (Estimated Wins Added) he hardly fairs better, ranking 16th in each. To compare, Curry's 2015-16 PER of 31.56 smoked the rest of the competition, as did his top-ranking EWA and VA statistics en route to one of the most dominant seasons in modern history, the Warrior's second consecutive MVP, and a record-breaking 73-9 team mark.
Sure, maybe we could expect a little bit of a decline in numbers due to the addition of Kevin Durant. But Curry's decline in shooting efficiency rests entirely on his shoulders; if anything, in fact, KD's addition should have helped them even more. Instead, after posting the league's best True Shooting Percentage last year at 0.669, Steph's 0.634 ranks just 19th in the league. His 50.4 FG% from last year has dropped to 46.6, and his jaw-dropping 45.4 three-point percentage has fallen to 40.3% thus far this season.
Don't get me wrong: Curry's still an absolute beast and among (or maybe the) top superstar that the NBA has to offer. He and Durant have led their Golden State Warriors to a 30-5 record (0.857), the league's best. But frankly that record is perhaps the main reason why Curry even cracked this list at this point in the season over other deserving studs.