Recently, Stephen Curry broke Kyle Korver’s NBA record for most consecutive games with a made 3-pointer. With how well Curry has been shooting the ball this season, he is likely going to put that record out of reach by the time the season is over. While it is difficult to make online NBA predictions about when the streak will end, we used some statistical models to try predicting when the streak will end.
A lot of people assume Curry’s 3-point streak will continue for a while, but statistical models show that the streak will likely end sometime before the end of the season. During the streak, Curry had 14 games in which he made only one 3-pointer, which shows that no matter how good a shooter you are it is impossible to shoot well every game.
We input data from Curry’s streak of 128 games using the Poisson and negative binomial mathematical models to predict how many times Curry might have games where he doesn’t make a 3-point shot. The numbers that were put in the models were from the start of the streak through February 25, when he broke the record.
In the past, these mathematical models have been used to predict the probability of having a certain number events occur over a period of time. An example id the probability of Florida having two hurricanes hit next year.
By using the rate Curry has been making 3-pointers this season, the models can be used to predict the probability of Curry not making any 3-pointers in a game.
One of the models predicted that Curry will score no 3-pointers once every 69 games while the other model predicted that he will score no 3-pointers once every 42 games. Using only data from this season, the numbers greatly improve.
One of the models predicted that Curry will make no 3-pionters once in 151 games while the other model predicted that he will make no 3-pointers once every 103 games.
While neither mathematical model predicted that the streak will go on forever, the numbers they produced show that the streak will still go on for some time.
Despite what the numbers say, there are other factors to consider that the models don’t take into account. The first factor the models don’t consider is injuries. Curry could get injured that could cause him to miss some time; his shooting hand can also get injured, which will affect his ability to make 3-pointers.
Another factor to consider is the fact that Curry might put in an extra effort to make a 3-pointer in games where he hasn’t made one yet to try and motivate his teammates or just to put on a show for fans.
After watching some game tape, there was no evidence that Curry intentionally kept shooting until he made a 3-pointer, but it led to us wondering if other NBA stars play in a way designed to help them pad their stats instead of trying to help the team win.
In the past, some individuals have been called out for doing exactly that, but it is very difficult to prove mathematically. One thing we do know is that Steph Curry streak will eventually end, and we should enjoy it while we can.