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Steph Curry is the best shooter in the NBA; yet will he ever be a part of the GOAT debate?

Where does Steph Curry belong on the pantheon?
Where does Steph Curry belong on the pantheon?
SENIOR ANALYST

Steph Curry is one of those dynamic athletes coming out of nowhere. Very few anticipated his talent would lead him into the NBA stratosphere. The upper echelon of athletes fans look back on as the culture shifters. Where should be be historically? He is the best shooter the game has seen, yet where is his place in time? In 762 games, Steph Curry has averaged 24.2 points, 6.5 assists and 4.6 rebounds, played in six all-star games, won two MVP trophies, and three champhionships. His family has been in the news for unfortunate reasons lately, yet when the season tips, we all know Steph Curry will begin where he left off last season as an MVP candidate and definitive winner. Wardell scorched the league last season, and carried the Warriors to the brink of the playoffs before LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers shut that faucet off.

So yeah, Steph Curry

Steph has always been interesting to analyse. He's playing in the same league as LeBron James, and that has complicated how he's placed within the league as well as historically. That stretch of Warriors dynastic play changed the league and how it shoots the three. There was a time when defenders left shooters alone from the arc, yet since three is more than two, and everybody and the locker room attendants practice shooting from deep, that is no longer the case. Steph Curry's three-point shot has now defined a generation, and this is all because of Steph Curry. When paired with Klay Thompson, the Warriors are a terror on defenses.

In 762 games, Steph Curry has played 26,151 minutes, scored 18,434 points, has made 6,340 of 13,296 (47.7%) shots from the field -- including 2832 of 6,540 three point attempts (43.3%), and converted 2,922 of 3,222 free throws (90.7%).

LeBron James

Steph Curry owns a 22-17 edge vs. LeBron James. That number is 15-7 in the playoffs. LeBron has won nine of the 16 during the regular season. There became this perception that Steph Curry was more valuable than LeBron James despite having the advantage of more talent around Steph. LeBron has taken bad teams to the Finals, and averaged a triple-double in a Finals loss to the Warriors. I'm trying to figure out how Steph Curry can be seen in any way as more valuable than LeBron James exclusive of shooting and ball-handling. There always seemed to be more pressure on LeBron as well. The world expected him to win no matter who he stacked against, and because of The Decision, many sports fans will never forgive LeBron. He has more of a global impact than Steph, yet Steph has given confidence to hoopers who have to stay on the perimeter to score. I don't know if Steph would have taken any of those Cavs teams to the Finals. There was much hoopla last season for Steph Curry's performance, yet, when LeBron was essentially doing the same thing and taking whatever team to the Finals, the narrative was more about him losing. Curry was given a lot of MVP votes for simply limping his team to the play in game. How would we see and scrutinize LeBron James if he lost a play in game to Steph Curry?

I don't know.

Klay Thompson

When Klay Thompson went down, everything changed, and coming off the heels of Kevin Durant's injury and subsequent departure, the value of Klay Thompson went way up. That signed 5 year / $189,903,600 is proof enough. It's the spacing Klay provided. It's also the defense, and unquestionably the catch-and-shoot-like lightening. Steph is playing with a first ballot Hall of Famer in Klay Thompson. The Splash Brothers have done it all together and will be an exciting tandem, the same as they ever were when Klay comes back healthy around Christmas. Is Klay Thompson just as valuable as Steph Curry despite the perception?

Maybe.

Draymond Green

The anchor of the team, and its mouthpiece, is Draymond Green . He's the point forward, and his having the ball and directing the team takes a lot of responsibility off Steph Curry. That cannot be denied.This is a team that is great together, yet as with any team, there is always something that could potentially derail them from continuing what has electrified the basketball world. As we saw in his interview with Kevin Durant, this team could have been really scary had they stayed together. Some may see Draymond's drop off as just getting old in the game after so many battles. What I see is a part to an engine that makes it go. When we look back on this team, even the most casual fan will understand Draymond's value.Steph is free to roam, and again, the added dimension of defense matters as well.

Kevin Durant

How can a player that helped the team win back-to-back championships while being named the Finals MVP both times not be the reason? Kevin Durant is true to his sniper nickname, and while his talent will one day see him as the league's highest scorer ever, what he gave to Golden State made them unstoppable. He was the reason for Golden State locking up those rings. How that can be disputed I don't know.

Verdict

There were a bunch of what-ifs between the Cavs and Warriors. If Kyrie didn't go down, would the Warriors be so decorated? If Draymond wasn't suspended, would the Cavs have won their first title in 54 years? Steph Curry is a generational talent, and it's difficult to quantify where he is placed historically because he has had so much help. So much help that Steph Curry doesn't have any Finals MVP's on his mantle of the three rings Golden State won. What does that say? How do we place Steph Curry comfortably behind Magic Johnson as the 2nd best point guard of all time, if all the help is more decorated than the man who became the first ever unanimous NBA MVP?

If the Warriors won in the 73-9 season where Steph Curry was unanimous MVP, this might be a different conversation. Steph Curry is so far into the future with his shooting that he'll have so much space between he and Ray Allen when he retires and we truly look at the numbers. He might lap the field. That's how advanced Steph is from the arc, and way behind it.

I don't know where he goes.

I'm trying to figure it out as I type this.

Let's see, is he better than Allen Iverson for example? Would Allen Iverson have won the same amount of rings if given such a stellar supporting cast? There is a case.

Let's change the pace.

Is Steph Curry a better point guard than Oscar Robertson? In Oscar's 10 years in Cincinnati, he averaged 29.3 points, 10.2 assists, and 8.5 rebounds and shot 48.9% from the field. In the 6 years Oscar Robertson led the Royals to the playoffs, he put up similar numbers: 29.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 9.4 assists on 46% shooting. He just didn't have the help. How can those numbers be pushed down the ladder simply because Oscar didn't have the rings? As far as any other prominent point guard, Steph Curry has a case for being placed in time over all of them.

What's different here is how does the truth that Steph Curry's defense leaves something to be desired? Even in a game where Curry's brilliance offensively has everyone gassed up for the pinball offense seen every night in the box score? He is exposed nightly. It is a strength thing. It isn't a desire thing. Steph wants to play great defense, he just can't. Very few along history with his size were able to make a defensive footprint. Does any of this suggest that Steph Curry is undeserving of how history will honor him? Of course not, yet, this is a convo to have when everything is sorted out. It all needs the meeting of the minds objective enough to discuss how defense affects a game in an offensive era. Some never address Steph's lack of defense as if it's immaterial.

That's just not possible.

I'd put Steph Curry in a top ten point guard list, yet, after further inspection, I'm sticking with Magic and Oscar.

Also Read: How many rings does Stephen Curry have?


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Edited by Arnav

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