Golden State Warriors

Steph Curry No. 15 on The Athletic’s list of NBA all-time greats

Warriors superstar guard Stephen Curry already received the honor of being listed alongside the 75 greatest players in NBA history. That was thanks to the NBA’s own list, released for this season, the league’s 75th.

But the NBA didn’t attempt to list the 75 greatest ballers of all time in any type of order. We were left to argue and discuss which player deserved to be No. 1, or in the top five, or in the top 10. The Athletic has picked up the pieces, however. Its writers have compiled their own list of the 75 best players in NBA history, counting down to the best to ever lace ’em up.

So who’s No. 1? We don’t know yet — but we do know who is No. 15. It’s Curry. (We know who No. 13 is, too. It’s former Warriors NBA Finals MVP and current Net, Kevin Durant.)

Here’s an excerpt from a robust and insightful column from The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson, who has covered Curry closely throughout The Golden Child’s career. I highly recommend reading the entire article. I’ve pulled a section with some nice stats, but Thompson paints a beautiful, grand picture of Curry’s career that is worth checking out.

The preeminent and premier 3-point shooter, who sets a new record every time he makes one. As of this writing, he has 3,050 made 3s, already 77 ahead of Ray Allen, the previous record holder, and 506 made 3s ahead of the next active player on the all-time list: James Harden. At .907, Curry is the career leader in free-throw percentage, as well. It should be no surprise that he’s among the top 10 in career true shooting percentage at 62.3 percent, sixth-best in league history. He’s also the only one under 6 foot 5.

He’s the catalyst for the resurrection of an NBA franchise to greatness. According to StatMuse, Curry is seventh all-time in plus-minus: plus-5,361 in 808, the fewest amount of games in the top 15. He averages plus-6.6. Duncan, the all-time leader, averaged 6.4; LeBron averages 5.3. Simply, when Curry is on the court, the Warriors are winning. Five consecutive NBA Finals and three titles prove it.

The Athletic

Curry is the unquestioned best 3-point shooter in NBA history, that’s something we can all agree on (right?). So shouldn’t that propel him to a higher position on this list? Take his true shooting percentage, sixth-best in NBA history, and one may start to wonder if Curry got snubbed here.

But the key in my mind is the shockingly few games Curry has played compared to his contemporaries in the Top 15. As Thompson notes, Curry has played in just 808 games (809 as of this blog post). That’s the fewest games played by any of the NBA greats ahead of him on the list.

I mean, every 3-point shot Curry makes is a new NBA record. He’ll play in just his eighth NBA All-Star game this season. Curry was a late bloomer due to his ankle issues (and team ownership issues). But he hit the ground running once he found his footing, winning his first of three NBA Titles in 2015, his sixth NBA season.

What I’m saying is: there’s plenty more to come from Curry. How far up the list will he rise? Considering that Curry couldn’t even grow a beard until 2015 (per the Warriors TV broadcast on NBC Sports), I think he’s a late bloomer physically as well and can play until he’s nearly 40 years old.

By the end of his career, I believe he’ll be hard to keep off anyone’s top-10 list. But time will tell. And I’ll happily wait, watching Curry lace ’em up at every possible opportunity.

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