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The question has now become whether Stephen Curry is the greatest NBA shooter of all-time.
Every generation of basketball fans has their Greatest “something” of all-time. For most people, Michael Jordan is considered the “GOAT” with either LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and so many others right behind him.
In some cases, those names are placed above Jordan — depending on what argument needs to be made at that particular time. The GOAT conversation can go on in perpetuity because, for the most part, the weight of the accomplishments are subjective and each player has a laundry list of accolades to their name.
That’s what makes G.O.A.T. conversations fun in some circles, the ability to debate and go back and forth. However, what isn’t debatable is the fact that Stephen Curry is the Greatest Shooter of ever.
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Golden State is cooking with Chef Curry
When Curry was drafted seventh by the Golden State Warriors in 2009, no one could have possibly foreseen what kind of a player he would become. In his first few years in the league, Curry showcased his All-Star potential. But being in a backcourt with Monta Ellis, another guard with a similar build, it hindered his development as the lead guard. When Ellis was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Andrew Bogut in 2012, the Warriors took a chance and gave Curry the space he needed to become the focal point of the offense.
Stephen Curry would have to wait another year to prove that he was worth the gamble as he only played 26 games that season due to various ankle issues, injuries that could have derailed his career before it even took off. Nevertheless, with the ball firmly in his hands. Curry caught fire, never looking back. Since his injury-riddled 2012 campaign, he’s averaged 26 points, almost seven assists and five rebounds in 34 minutes per game.
Not only that, Curry has been selected to seven All-Star teams and six All-NBA teams. He’s also a three-time NBA champion and a two-time MVP in the nine years since.
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Why Stephen Curry is the G.S.O.A.T.
While those accomplishments are all well and good, with basketball-reference giving him a 100% chance of making it to the Hall of Fame, what also has be stated is just how well he’s shot the ball during this stretch. In the 572 games since the 2013 season, Curry is just narrowly missing the coveted “50/40/90” club. He’s shot around 48% from the field, 43% from three and 90% from the free-throw line.
Along with winning the MVP and guiding the Warriors to the NBA Finals in 2016, Curry also averaged the most amount of points by any player in the “50/40/90” club when he scored 30.1 points per game. Additionally, with his free-throw percentage hovering at almost 91%, that is the highest in NBA history. He’s made 2,000 career three-pointers faster than anyone in league history, beating out Ray Allen by 225 games, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility to see Curry hit more than 3,000 threes by the time his career is over.
Mind you, Curry is only 33 and if can feasibly hit 230 – his average amount of makes per season including the record-breaking 402 he hit in 2016 – for the next five seasons (which would be around 1,153), he would be at 3921 three-pointers made. At which point, there’s almost no doubt that he can surpass 4,000 by the time he ends his career.
What else needs to be said about Curry’s shooting prowess? Perhaps the fact that he led the league in three-point makes five times or maybe even the four times he led the league in free-throw percentage? What about when he made the most three-pointers in a single playoff slate with 98 or when he set a new NBA Finals record with nine made threes?
The list of Curry’s shooting accolades during both the regular and postseason is extremely expansive. It also has to be noted what his impact is to basketball in general has been. Because of his incredible shooting — and the Warriors by extension, teams began to experiment more with outside shooting, thus spawning the “three-point revolution.” Teams are now throwing up more outside looks than ever before, with varying degrees of success, all because of Curry and his ability to expertly shoot the ball at a Hall-of-Fame level.
Is Stephen Curry a big game flame out?
Some might retort. What about his clutch stats? Well, he’s had success with that as well.
Since 2013, the NBA has been tracking three-point shooting data in the fourth quarter or overtime on shots off three or more dribbles in the playoffs. For players to be considered, they must have attempted at least 25 three-pointers. On the top of that list? Curry with a 48% conversion rate on 106 attempts. Second on that list is James Harden, shooting 25% on 99 lifetime attempts.
What’s more, NBC Sports and NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh dug into the analytics and found that Curry is the 10th most clutch player in the league. Using the “Clutch Win Probability Added” metric, Curry slotted in the spot after taking into account his miss against the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 and his horrific turnover in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. Nonetheless, even with those in mind, there should be no doubt that Curry is greatest shooter of all-time.
His impact on the game as a whole is undeniable. And even with his flaws, those aren’t enough to dethrone him from a seat he rightfully earned. Nobody even comes close to Curry in any regard pertaining to shooting and that’s why we should accept that he is the GOAT shooter and enjoy his career while he’s still playing.