Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry has had arguably the largest effect on the game of basketball of any player in NBA history. The three-point moving artillery unit has been torching defenses from deep for a whole decade now. Curry has also cemented himself as a first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the greatest basketball players to ever walk the face of the earth.
Now, that’s something everyone involved in basketball can agree on. What is a bit of a debate, however, is where Curry actually ranks in history. Last year, Bleacher Report listed the top 50 players of all time. Within the rankings, Curry ranked as the 10th best player to ever grace the NBA.
The only other point guard ahead of him?
And that’s where this piece is going. What does Curry have to do to become the GOAT point guard? It is surely between Magic and Curry at this point, with not much argument about anyone else being in their tier (sorry, Chris Paul). Bleacher Report and the majority of casual fans will likely tell you the Los Angeles Lakers icon is ahead of Curry and it’d be hard to catch him.
However, this writer is here to tell you that Curry is already the greatest point guard of all time.
Yes, Magic has Curry beat in accolades as of right now. Magic has won five championships and was the Finals MVP thrice. Curry has won three titles and has famously won zero Finals MVPs (I think everyone agrees Curry was robbed in 2015, but I digress). Magic has four more All-NBA appearances with 10 compared to Curry’s six. Curry was a bit of a late bloomer to superstardom, so Magic will get the edge on longevity at this point. Mind you, Curry is still only 33 years old and will surely stack up more accolades before he’s done. Case in point: He earned his second scoring title last season.
However, Curry is already better than Magic. Curry won the MVP in 2015 and repeated in 2016, becoming the first-ever unanimous MVP in NBA history. Curry’s 2016 season is widely known as the greatest offensive season in league lore. He averaged 30.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 2.1 steals a game. He shot 50.4 percent from the floor, 45.4 percent from deep on 11.2 attempts, and shot 90.8 percent from the free throw line. Those figures are good for a true shooting percentage of 66.9!
If you take Stephen Curry’s five-year peak and compare it to Magic Johnson’s, the Warriors guard has the edge. From the 2015-16 season through the 2018-19 season, Curry put up these numbers: 26.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.8 steals, 48.5 percent from the floor, 43.4 percent from deep, 91,1 percent from the stripe, with a true shooting percentage of 64.8. He went to the NBA Finals five straight years and won three championships.
In the NBA Playoffs, Curry averaged over this five-year span: 27.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.6 steals, with a true shooting percentage of 61.6.
Magic from the 1985-86 season through the 1989-90 season put up these numbers: 21.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 12.2 assists, 1.7 steals, 50.6 percent from the field, 32.2 percent from deep, 87.5 percent from the stripe, with a true shooting percentage of 60.9. Johnson also won three championships along the way.
Over the same span, Magic put up these numbers in the NBA Playoffs: 21.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 12.8 assists, 1.6 steals, with a true shooting percentage of 60.3.
The difference here is that Curry is so far and away a more lethal and efficient offensive player. The NBA has never seen the combination of explosiveness and efficiency on the offensive end like Curry. His body of work is something we’ll likely never see again in NBA history.
Curry needs to stack up more accolades to firmly secure the spot as the greatest point guard ever. Doesn’t even need to be championships. A few more All-NBA appearances and All-Star selections, and it’ll be a wrap for this discussion.
Old heads will hold onto Magic Johnson, but the GOAT point guard crown is already on Stephen Curry’s head.