Is Steph Curry already the best shooter in NBA history?

SP33Demon

Lifer
Jun 22, 2001
27,929
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As his team goes 20-0 and he put up 40 tonight (his 6th 40pt game), the question needs to seriously be asked because his percentages are incredible. Cumulative metrics aside, some former coaches and players seem to think so.
"He can do anything he wants to with the ball and get to any place he wants to get. He's probably the best shot-maker ever." - Former coach Mike D'Antoni
http://www.cbssports.com/nba/writer...y-best-shot-maker-ever-also-has-a-mean-streak

Opposing Charlotte point guard Nicolas Batum:
"You try to make him work hard, but I don't think we've seen anybody shoot like him -- that's pretty impressive.

ESPN Ethan Strauss tonight wrote:
Curry might have more than the Charlotte road swing figured. This is his fifth game of the season in which he has scored more than 20 points in a quarter. He’s averaging 32 points in 34.3 minutes on 20.2 shots -- a 70 percent true shooting percentage. His season is an absurdity that just keeps topping itself.

He's shooting 45.9% from the three point line and 52.4% FG, both career highs.

To put these numbers in perspective, Steve Nash only topped his 3pt % in 17 years... once (2007) but never 52% FG. In fact, what does Nash think of Curry?
-Q: Simple question—how much better is Steph Curry than he was last season, when he already was the MVP? He’s better, right?
-NASH: Yeah. Just gets better and better. Game gets sharper. And I still think he’s going to understand things more clearly as well. His skill level improves, which is kind of alarming... He’s maybe as skilled a player as we’ve ever had in this game.

But he has improvements to make as far as his feel and comfort, the cat-and-mouse thing, strategy and picking and choosing a spot, conserving energy and getting the same amount done. He can improve a lot, which is scary.

The skill level is already prodigious and it keeps getting better. And since the experience and understanding will continue to grow, it’s pretty remarkable to think about the heights he can get to. ... The ability to find his shot off the dribble and shoot from deep is uncanny. ... I wouldn’t compare anybody to Michael.

But I would say Steph is turning into a historical category of his own, in a way.

He’s in the prime of his career and will be for a few years and the way he’s improving and the level he’s playing at is… I think he’s unlike anyone else. His ability to make shots and still handle the play-making duties is historic.

I think you’d be hard pressed to find a player more skilled than him in the history of the game.

...
I never challenged myself to take the shots with that range. I shot all my shots off the dribble as Steph does—but he’s taking the shots I took as a player to a whole other level, with speed and range and variety and volume, because that mentality is there.

He grew up as kind of a gunslinger and I grew up as a play-maker.

There are some similarities, but he’s taken the scoring part and the ability to shoot and create shots and moved it to another level.
...
We’re seeing someone… I hate to put myself in this statement, but he’s taken what I did to another level.

I mean, the ability to find openings, to shoot going right or left, off one leg, either side of the rim, with the range, the variety… he’s doing things I never did.

The game’s evolving… and it’s a beautiful thing because it’s about skill and dedication, commitment and inspiring a whole generation.

It’s awesome to see. And think it’ll be fascinating to see what the next evolution will be because of Steph.
http://blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami/2015/11/18/steve-nash-on-steph-curry/
Huge praise from one of the best PGs ever.

Reggie Miller, never reached either number in 18 years.

MJ, has surpassed 52.4% FG 4X but never broke even a paltry 38% 3pt% in those years.

Larry Bird's best was 42.7% 3pt% so not even close. He surpassed 52.4% FG% only twice.

Magic surpassed the FG% 7X, but his 3pt% was laughably lower 3pt%.

Lebron surpassed the FG% only 3X, and laughably lower 3pt %.

Kobe's %'s in each are laughably low, not even going to list them.

Really the only person to surpass Steph's 3pt% in the modern era is Kyle Korver, 4X. But Korver has never sniffed near 52% FG% in his career.

Now he may not continue with these numbers for the rest of the season, but he might. If he does, should we be asking: is he currently the greatest offensive shooting weapon in NBA history this early in his career? He combines the 3pt shot with the FG ability on par with the greatest of the great in each respective category. I know this is only comparing 2 major stats but they are the 2 most important for shooting in the modern era.
 

stlc8tr

Golden Member
Jan 5, 2011
1,106
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He has a sweet stroke for sure but today's game is a lot different too. The rules prohibit a lot of the rougher stuff of yesteryear. No hand checks. No forearms.

For example, if Curry was around during the Bad Boys era, he would have been put on his ass a lot more to try and prevent him from getting into a good shooting rhythm.
 

QueBert

Lifer
Jan 6, 2002
22,412
731
126
He's SICK, if he keeps this up he will retire without a doubt #1 for 3's. But if he doesn't he will fall somewhere behind Allen & Kerr. If he surpasses Allen that will be an amazing fucking feat. I'm talking not just % but total numbers too. Curry's way more well rounded than either. If he plays like he's been playing for another 3 or 4 seasons he'll easily be > Bryant. Dude's a monster, I hope to god we get to see him and Lebron with a healthy Cavs squad duke it out in the finals.
 
Oct 20, 2005
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You know what the best thing about this GSW streak is?

Lebron and the Cavs aren't mentioned anywhere on ESPN or talked about on TV/Radio.

It's so wonderful, so fresh. I hope GSW goes 82-0.
 

smackababy

Lifer
Oct 30, 2008
27,024
79
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He has a sweet stroke for sure but today's game is a lot different too. The rules prohibit a lot of the rougher stuff of yesteryear. No hand checks. No forearms.

For example, if Curry was around during the Bad Boys era, he would have been put on his ass a lot more to try and prevent him from getting into a good shooting rhythm.


Eh, Curry, like Jordan would just adapt and get stronger. One series against the Detroit Raiders and Jordan's rules and he was scoring 40+ the next season again.
 

SP33Demon

Lifer
Jun 22, 2001
27,929
142
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You know what the best thing about this GSW streak is?

Lebron and the Cavs aren't mentioned anywhere on ESPN or talked about on TV/Radio.

It's so wonderful, so fresh. I hope GSW goes 82-0.
Amen to that. Curry is a better offensive weapon than Lebron anyway. I'll take the best shooter with an amazing handle/passing skills over extra rebounds.
 

chin311

Diamond Member
Feb 27, 2003
4,307
3
81
You know what the best thing about this GSW streak is?

Lebron and the Cavs aren't mentioned anywhere on ESPN or talked about on TV/Radio.

It's so wonderful, so fresh. I hope GSW goes 82-0.

So true, I know ESPN just rides whatever hype they can get behind, and when there isn't something new it's just the LeBron the Queen made-up headlines.

I wouldn't mind Warriors / Cavs Finals and Warriors sweep :)
 

Capt Caveman

Lifer
Jan 30, 2005
34,547
651
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After 20 game? How about some comparisons to other players for a 20 game span?

Single year, need to wait til the end of the season then compare.

All time, need to do it for multiple years then compare.
 

Ackmed

Diamond Member
Oct 1, 2003
8,478
524
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He has a sweet stroke for sure but today's game is a lot different too. The rules prohibit a lot of the rougher stuff of yesteryear. No hand checks. No forearms.

For example, if Curry was around during the Bad Boys era, he would have been put on his ass a lot more to try and prevent him from getting into a good shooting rhythm.

This is exactly it. Rules change. Same argument in the NFL with DB's not being able to do what they used to. Comparing someone from now to 20+ years ago is silly. Makes for interesting conversations though.
 

HomerJS

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
36,107
27,879
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He has a sweet stroke for sure but today's game is a lot different too. The rules prohibit a lot of the rougher stuff of yesteryear. No hand checks. No forearms.

For example, if Curry was around during the Bad Boys era, he would have been put on his ass a lot more to try and prevent him from getting into a good shooting rhythm.

Absolutely. Go back and look at clips of Bulls with Jordan vs Pistons, even the New York Knicks. They roughed up Jordan so much took him a while to win first.

Todays game Jordan would drop 50 on a regular basis
 

Childs

Lifer
Jul 9, 2000
11,450
7
81
I think what sets Curry apart from the other great shooters is his willingness to take "bad shots". It kinda makes him unguardable. When you look at footage from other great shooters in their prime I have no doubt they could have done similar things if they got to play with a similar philosophy. I think Pistol Pete was the best ever. Seems like he has the only game that wouldnt need to change in any era.
 

Lyfer

Diamond Member
May 28, 2003
5,842
2
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He looks like a 16 year old kid. Great player tho. We need more like him in the league.
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
27,035
547
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I was going to attempt a comparison to Rick Barry but he didn't play(much) in the 3-point era!
 

11thHour

Senior member
Feb 20, 2004
796
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No, but this could be the greatest shooting season ever. A great season or two doesn't qualify as 'greatest in history', but 'at this rate', there's no question he will easily qualify in 5-10 years. No player should ever be allowed to 'jack up shots' as quick as he does and make them, muchless in clutch situations. Everyone wanted to be Jordan because of his skill, but no one will mirror consistently curry's powerful fast twitch tourette-syndrome-like stroke.

On the other side of the coin, he sucks on on-ball defense and is pretty easy to get around.
 

11thHour

Senior member
Feb 20, 2004
796
1
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He has a sweet stroke for sure but today's game is a lot different too. The rules prohibit a lot of the rougher stuff of yesteryear. No hand checks. No forearms.

For example, if Curry was around during the Bad Boys era, he would have been put on his ass a lot more to try and prevent him from getting into a good shooting rhythm.

Hand checks and forearms don't help against faceup shooters as much as post up shooters. Players also adapt, and if he were in that era, he would have learned to play tougher as well (as he has during his career.) People forget, that's the same era where if you touch a hair on jordan's arm (or even appear to), it's a foul. So yes, Jordan played in a tougher era, but at the same time he was far more pampered with the whistle than any player in today's 'soft' era.
 

HomerJS

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
36,107
27,879
136
Hand checks and forearms don't help against faceup shooters as much as post up shooters. Players also adapt, and if he were in that era, he would have learned to play tougher as well (as he has during his career.) People forget, that's the same era where if you touch a hair on jordan's arm (or even appear to), it's a foul. So yes, Jordan played in a tougher era, but at the same time he was far more pampered with the whistle than any player in today's 'soft' era.

Later in this career he got more calls but early on Pistons developed the "Jordan Rules" designed to limit his production. Take a look at this vid. Jordan got roughed up a lot. If this were employed on Curry they would break him in half.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLv2F33snCE
 
Sep 29, 2004
18,665
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What is more scary is the level of some kids playing pickup these days. I am 40. I play with some 20 year olds these day that can shoot 3 pointers at well over 50%. And this is common place. In my day, you might have one guy that can do that and a handful that did 33%.

To add. I hate to say it but I think I ha more fun playing at a young age than kids these days. They can all shoot but most lack basic skills at playing "good" pickup basketball. To much run and gone with no on ball or off ball screens. A lot of run down the court and shoot type crap.
 

edro

Lifer
Apr 5, 2002
24,328
68
91
What is more scary is the level of some kids playing pickup these days. I am 40. I play with some 20 year olds these day that can shoot 3 pointers at well over 50%. And this is common place. In my day, you might have one guy that can do that and a handful that did 33%.

To add. I hate to say it but I think I ha more fun playing at a young age than kids these days. They can all shoot but most lack basic skills at playing "good" pickup basketball. To much run and gone with no on ball or off ball screens. A lot of run down the court and shoot type crap.

My BIL plays a lot of pickup and leagues; he is 38.
He complains about them too.
He said the young guys run and shoot 3s the whole time... but they hit them.
They are very anti "touch"; they complain heavily if you make any contact at all.
They rarely get into the paint... it is all shots from near the 3.
He said it is hilarious that all 5 players are standing outside the arch the whole time.

He said it's just the new generation.
 

core2slow

Senior member
Mar 7, 2008
774
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Just a whole different ball game nowadays. Rules are tougher against ticky-tack fouls have pushed this generation of players to play from the outside. It'll be a sad day when teams dont need to rely on traditional big men anymore.
 

PokerGuy

Lifer
Jul 2, 2005
13,650
201
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I think Curry is the best shooter I've ever seen. I'm not old enough to have seen Pistol Pete play in his prime, so I can't compare to him.

I still don't think he's the best all around player though -- yes, he's a fantastic scorer with a great handle, but MJ could score at will, rebound and was the best defensive player in the league. Nobody else ever had that all around game. I also think Labron is better overall, but Curry is the best scorer I've seen.

I agree with the earlier posts about the different eras as well. In the late 80's and 90's the game was really much tougher and it was much more difficult for guys to free up (lots of grabbing, pushing, hand checking etc etc), and driving in the lane came with a steep price. With today's rules, MJ, Bird etc could put up 50 a night easily.
 

11thHour

Senior member
Feb 20, 2004
796
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Later in this career he got more calls but early on Pistons developed the "Jordan Rules" designed to limit his production. Take a look at this vid. Jordan got roughed up a lot. If this were employed on Curry they would break him in half.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLv2F33snCE

Curry is far stronger than he looks. That's not to say it wouldn't come with pain back in the day, as if Jordan handled it pain-free lol, but he's not intimidated driving to the basket. With him leading the league in fg% in the paint (even higher than de andre jordan) that says perfectly he can (and could back then) handle physicality. Seriously, 66.1% in the paint, given his frequency, is an insane stat for a guy his size. I'm not going to jump on his band wagon now, but I'm not exactly rooting for an acl tear either, because he is defying the odds in an unbelievable way (ie most improved after mvp year, lol.) I still can't believe this is the kid that was a giant-killer and lit up the ncaa tournament for a couple years. He wasn't even drafted as a sure-thing to have an impact in the nba.
 

BurnItDwn

Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
26,084
1,561
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Michael Jordan is spelled M I C H A E L J O R D A N. Steph Curry is completely wrong way to spell it. No contest at all. Jordan with triple coverage outscored the league on an impossible scale.