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Steph Curry, the Greatest Long Distance Shooter Ever

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 19: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots a three-pointer against the Utah Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena on February 19, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

Now when I write that Steph Curry is the greatest long distance shooter ever, I do not make such a claim lightly.  I love the 3-point shot.  I grew up idolizing Larry Bird and the great shooters of the game, Mark Price, Peja Stojakovic, Craig Hodges, Steve Kerr, and Ray Allen.  There is something beautiful and pure about a swished 3-pointer.  On All-Star Weekend, the 3-Point Contest was always the highlight.  There was no subjectivity of judges or style points, it was all about which shooter made the most shots.  I understand all of the metrics and I pour over all of the stats and I stand my my statement, that Steph Curry is simply the greatest long distance shooter in the history of the NBA.  Here’s why I believe that.

Curry’s 819 3 pointers from 2015, 2014, and 2013 would rank him 114th all-time ahead of Bruce Bowen and Chris Mullin and right behind Clyde Drexler and Jeff Hornacek COUNTING JUST HIS LAST 3 SEASONS!  Let me say that another way, in the last 3 seasons, Steph Curry has made more 3-pointers than Chris Mullin did in his 16 year Hall of Fame career! Over those 3 seasons Curry is averaging an astounding 3.47 3PM/G.  He is currently 50th all-time in 3 PTM with 1191 in only 416 games, by far the highest 3PM/Game average in history at 2.86 for his career.  Ray Allen, the all-time 3PM leader, needed 1300 games to make 2973 3s, an average of 2.28 3PM/Game.  513 more games at Curry’s current pace (last 3 seasons) would put in at the top of the 3PM list in less than 1000 total games!
He is not only prolific but also accurate.  Curry is #3 all-time in 3P% behind Steve Kerr and Hubert Davis (both three point specialists and role players) at 44.05%.  You have to go to #33 on the all-time % list to find another 1st offensive option on a playoff team (Peja Stojokovic) and he is a full 4% lower (40.07%) and had a lower scoring total (17.0 PPG to Curry’s 21.5 PPG).  Reggie Miller is #47 on the percentage list at 39.47% at 18.2 PPG. Kyrie Irving, at #56 and his 21.9 PPG average, is perhaps the most comparable from a scoring/accuracy standpoint and he has shot a career 39.0% from 3, a full 5% lower than Curry while being much less prolific (2.1 average makes per game out of 5.0 attempts to Curry’s 3.6 makes per game out of 8.1 attempts).
When I apply the eye-ball test, I see the same thing the statistics say.  Curry makes off the dribble (often after crazy moves to shake the defender off just enough to see a glimpse of daylight).  He makes them off the catch-and-shoot and does it with the quickest release I have ever seen.  When he misses three in a row everyone in the arena is surprised.  We read about him making 77 straight 3’s in practice (with witnesses, not in his backyard shooting alone)!  The eyeball test confirms what the stats are telling us. There has simply never been a player in NBA history to shoot such a high percentage from 3-point range at such a high volume.  In other words, the league has never seen a 1st option scorer rely so heavily and successfully on the 3 point shot.  He is simply the greatest long distance shooter the league has ever seen.

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