Cook: Steph Curry is the greatest shooter of all time
Jamison Cook | Thursday, April 29, 2021
With about eight minutes left in first quarter of their April 25 game against the Sacramento Kings, the Golden State Warriors had put up just seven points. Warriors guard Stephen Curry had already made one three-pointer, and with the shot clock winding down on a subsequent possession, the ball was in Curry’s hands once again. The ball was deflected into the backcourt as Curry came off a Draymond Green ball screen, and he hustled to retrieve it. Crossing back into the frontcourt with just two seconds on the shot clock, Curry dribbles once behind his back and pulls up about forty feet from the basket, launching a three that would be considered a horrible shot had the shot clock not been about to expire.
The craziest part is that no one is surprised. From the moment the ball left Curry’s fingertips, any true basketball fan knew it had a chance to go in.
This particular three-pointer was just one of seven Steph made on the night, giving him 85 in the month of April, the most in any month in NBA history. The previous record was held by James Harden of Brooklyn Nets, who made 82 threes as a Houston Rocket in November 2019. Oh, and the Warriors have two more games before the end of the month (at the time of writing). 100 three-point makes in one month are attainable. You heard it here first.
April 2021 has been a month to remember in the career of Steph Curry. He is currently averaging a whopping 38.2 points for the month and has dragged his Warrior teammates against their will seemingly at times — into 10th place in the West. Under the NBA’s new play-in playoff format, this puts Golden State in position to have a chance at a playoff spot in a year where superstar Klay Thompson has not played a minute and Curry himself has missed significant time due to injury.
But that is not all he’s done this month. Steph passed the legendary Wilt Chamberlain to become the all-time leading scorer in Warriors’ history on April 12 and became the first player in NBA history age 33 or older to score 30 or more points in 11 straight games. This streak of 11 30+ point performances from March 29 to April 19 broke a record set by the late, great Kobe Bryant, who scored 30 or more in 10 straight games in December 2012. Any time your name is mentioned alongside Wilt and Kobe, you’re doing something right.
For anyone who has watched the NBA since Curry entered the league in 2009, the transformation from skinny, mid-major shooter in a baggy jersey to two-time MVP and NBA Champion that can score from anywhere on the court has been mesmerizing to watch.
Curry walked onto the scene riding the coattails of an improbable NCAA Tournament run, with his shooting prowess propelling little-known Davidson into the Elite Eight. Despite leaping into the national scene in an emphatic way, Curry fell to the Warriors at the seventh pick. The Grizzlies, Kings and Timberwolves will forever regret passing on Steph, especially Minnesota, who managed to pick two forgettable point guards directly before Curry with the fifth AND sixth picks. Props to you as an NBA fan if you can name them both (Ricky Rubio at five and Jonny Flynn at six for those wondering). Only the Clippers and Thunder can be excused (somewhat) for not choosing Curry, as Blake Griffin and James Harden have turned out to be pretty good picks even if they don’t still play for the teams that drafted them.
But regardless, Curry has proved, more this season than ever, that he will go down as one of the all-time greats. Reggie Miller, Ray Allen and Larry Bird deserve all the respect in the world, but Steph is the best shooter to ever walk the planet. And if I’m being completely honest, it’s not even a close argument anymore.
Curry takes and makes shots that these legends would not even dream of attempting. The way he can shoot off the dribble from both inside and outside the three-point arc has not been seen from anyone else before. For the 2020-21 season, Steph is shooting 47.5% from 30-34 feet, an unbelievable statistic considering that the three-point line is a mere 23 feet, nine inches away from the hoop. From three-point range as a whole, Curry is shooting 43.3% on the season.
As compared to Miller, Allen and Bird, Steph has a higher career three-point percentage than all of them by more than three percentage points. Curry also passed Miller for second place on the all-time list of three pointers made earlier this season, and he now just has Allen left to pass. With just over 200 makes separating the two, Steph is well on his way to eclipsing Allen’s record within next season. However, if he continues on the ridiculous pace he has established in April, it may come sooner than that.
I know that the old heads out there will cite that the game was “different back then” and that I have only ever seen the current “soft” state of the NBA compared to the physicality of old. And while I will admit that the focus of the NBA has shifted drastically towards shooting more threes, I would also argue that this is due to one person: Stephen Curry. Whether you like it or not, the man has single-handedly changed the game of basketball forever. Let’s just appreciate him while he’s still splashing from 40 feet.
April 2021 has proved to me, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Curry is the best shooter to grace us with his presence on this Earth. The only piece missing from his Hall of Fame resume is a Finals MVP, and if he adds this, watch out Magic. Steph might make more threes this year than Magic made in his entire career, and we might just have a new best point guard of all-time on our hands in the very near future.