Steph Curry
Steph Curry calls the shots around here. (Image via The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Is Steph Curry the Greatest of All Time?

Stephen Curry is a two-time league MVP and has won two titles, but are his achievements enough to make him an all-time great?

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Steph Curry

Stephen Curry is a two-time league MVP and has won two titles, but are his achievements enough to make him an all-time great?

Steph Curry has one of the best highlight tapes of any active NBA player. He captures the eyes of viewers consistently with his incredible three-point shooting, his ridiculous handles and his electric on-court persona. Any game in which he plays is must-see TV because you never know when he could lay down one of the NBA season highlights by breaking his opponent’s ankles or drilling a deep three in the clutch.

Curry has proven over the years that he is one of the league’s best playmakers. He became the NBA’s first-ever unanimous MVP in 2016 after leading the Golden State Warriors to the best regular season record in NBA history, going 73 – 9. He is a primary player on one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.

He’s made the All-NBA team for five consecutive seasons and led the NBA in three-pointers made for five consecutive years as well. He’s one of the best free-throw shooters in NBA history, shooting right around 90 percent for his career, good for third place all-time.

The Baby-Faced Assassin is in the top 20 in player efficiency rating (PER) all-time with a 23.8 rating. He’s top five in true shooting percentage all-time and has been a top 10 scorer in the NBA for six years running. Curry is one of the best active players in steals per game, averaging 1.8 per game over his career, good for fourth place among active players.

He ranks amongst the top 10 all-time in effective field goal percentage shooting 57.9 percent. He finished in the top 10 in win shares for five consecutive seasons and his plus/minus is historically great, ranking in the top 10 of all-time. His three-point percentage is fourth all-time even after leading the NBA in three-point attempts for five consecutive years.

He already ranks in the top 10 of NBA history in three-point attempts even though he only this year celebrated his 30th birthday. Five of the top eight slots for individual three-pointers made in a season are held by Steph Curry as well, all while shooting over 41 percent from deep.

Curry shoots three-pointers at an unprecedented volume and somehow remains one of the most efficient shooters of NBA history. That pace which he has set for himself is unlike anything ever seen before in the NBA. While he is far from a lockdown defender, he makes an incredibly valuable impact on that end averaging almost two steals per game and leading the NBA in steals multiple times throughout his career.

Curry ranks right around John Stockton in career win shares per 48 minutes and is ahead of names like Oscar Robertson in that area. His career plus/minus numbers place him ahead of names like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin Durant, Shaquille O’Neal, Scottie Pippen and Dwyane Wade.

His career PER is barely below Magic Johnson and ranks above Larry Bird and Kobe Bryant. In fact, Curry made more three-pointers in a two-season span (726) than Larry Bird hit over his entire career (649).

Steph Curry not only matches up from a statistical standpoint but passes the proverbial “eye test” as well. Curry is one of the most electrifying players ever to set foot on an NBA basketball court. His in-game highlight reels feature plays that only he can make.

Like him or not, it must be admitted that he revolutionized the game of basketball. Once Steph Curry entered superstardom, the game of basketball transitioned into an era of high-volume three-point shooting. Teams now, more than ever before, emphasize shooting as a positive attribute, with some players even making rosters solely because of their shooting ability, a thing rarely heard of before these recent years.

Curry ushered in a golden age (no pun intended) to the Golden State Warriors, taking a perennial cellar-dweller franchise to the playoffs and, eventually, multiple titles, the best single-season record of all-time and a bonafide NBA dynasty.

Offense now takes precedent over defense to a high degree, a level that is unprecedented in the NBA. Stars like Kevin Durant and James Harden can also be credited for this shift, to a point, but Steph Curry undoubtedly contributed an essential artifact to the transition: his high-volume yet high-efficiency three-point shooting.

He changed the game of basketball in a manner similar to Michael Jordan. This is not to say that Curry is the GOAT; instead, I’m arguing that he made a similar impact for basketball at a global scale.

Jordan was a groundbreaking athlete, one that enthralled quite literally the entire globe with his incredible athleticism, scoring prowess and winning ways. In the 90s, basically anyone who watched or played basketball wanted to be Michael Jordan.

It didn’t matter where you lived, whether it be in North Carolina, Chicago, Los Angeles, Lithuania or China, you wanted to be like Mike. He altered the way people all over the world viewed the role of an NBA superstar.

A similar phenomenon has occurred with Steph Curry. Many people attribute it to the underdog narrative that has followed him his entire basketball life. He wasn’t recruited to a top college for basketball but took Davidson on a bit of a Cinderella run in March Madness in his final year.

He wasn’t expected to become anything in the NBA. He was too short, not athletic enough, too injury-prone, too one-dimensional to ever truly become successful at the highest level. “He’s not a true playmaker, he’s just a shooter,” the critics would say, saying he would never become a true NBA point guard.

In a way, they were right. Steph Curry didn’t become a “true” NBA point guard. What he did instead was revolutionized what people expect from the position. What he lacks in size and athleticism, he makes up for with a lightning quick release, endless range and incredible ball-handling skills that force the defense to focus on him every time down the court.

Curry has proven over time to be one of the most unstoppable forces in the NBA. His career stats are on par with some of the greatest players of all time. He revolutionized the game of basketball in a way very few ever have.

He’s a bonafide NBA superstar with a global impact that rivals LeBron James’s and Michael Jordan’s. He is without a doubt the greatest shooter the NBA has ever seen, and it is now time to consider him amongst the all-time greats.

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