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. Bleacher Report had Top-50 players of all-time list at the beginning of the NBA season, ranked by its very own Andy Bailey. Within the rankings, Steph ranked as the 10th best player to ever grace the court.
The only other point guard ahead of him?
Earvin Magic Johnson.
And that’s where this piece is going; what does Curry have to do to become the GOAT point guard? It surely between Johnson 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 the casual fan base will likely tell you Johnson 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, Johnson has Curry beat in accolades as of right now. Johnson has won five championships and was the Finals MVP in three of the wins. Curry has won three championships and has famously won zero Finals MVPs (I think everyone agrees Curry was robbed in 2015, but I digress). Johnson has four more All-NBA appearances than Curry, having 10 compared to Curry’s six. Curry was a bit of a late bloomer to superstardom, so Johnson will get the edge on longevity at this point. Mind you, Curry is only 32 years old and will surely stack up those accolades before he’s done.
However, Curry is already better than Johnson. Curry won the MVP award 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 NBA history. In 2016, Curry averaged 30.1 points, 6.7 assists, 5.4 rebounds, 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; which would be good for a true shooting percentage of 66.9!
If you take Stephen Curry’s five-year peak and compare it to Johnson’s, Curry has the edge. Curry from the 2015-16 season through the 2018-19 season put up these numbers: 26.5 points, 6.5 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 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 finals five straight years and won three championships along the way.
In the playoffs, Curry has averaged over this five-year span: 27.2 points, 5.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals, with a true shooting percentage of 61.6.
Johnson from the 1985-86 season through the 1989-90 season put up these numbers: 21.5 points, 12.2 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 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, Johnson put up these numbers in the playoffs: 21.0 points, 12.8 assists. 6.4 rebounds, 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. Curry’s last five years is something we’ll likely never see again in NBA history.
Curry needs to stack up more accolades to 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 Johnson, but the GOAT point guard crown is already on Stephen Curry’s head.