Entering the 2012-13 NBA regular season, there were rational concerns about Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry. From his lack of stereotypical point guard skills to his long history with ankle injuries, Curry's star bubble was close to being burst.
After his performance in the 2012-13 season, however, it's time to admit that Curry is an NBA superstar.
This is a term that is thrown around rather loosely because fans prematurely label a team's best player as a superstar. Oftentimes it proves to be untrue, as they're simply the best player on their team.
Not one of the best in the world.
In today's NBA, most players are either athletic enough to take it inside or skilled enough to shoot. Rarely can they efficiently score inside and outside as well as pass at an elite level.
Curry has proved to be an exception.
The New Standard of Shooting
Thus far in 2012-13, Stephen Curry leads the NBA with 249 three-point field goals made. He's also third in the league at 44.9 percent from beyond the arc and second among qualified players at 89.8 percent from the charity stripe.
To put it simply, Curry is the modern standard of shooting the basketball.
Much like Ray Allen rose to fame in the early 2000s for his elite-level shooting, Curry has become a dominant force with his jumper. Whether coming off of elevator screens to convert from distance or taking it off of the dribble, Curry has it all.
That's why he's seventh in the NBA at 22.5 points per game.
Curry can stake the claim that only a few players in the NBA can score at his rate of efficiency. From his three-point prowess to his improving game from within the three-point line, Curry has become one of the most lethal scorers in the world.
That alone is grounds for star status.
As the 2012-13 regular season comes to a close, Curry is presently 13th in the NBA in terms of clutch scoring. That number only begins to scratch the surface of just how brilliant Curry's play has been.
A prime piece of evidence was his 54-point outing at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks on Feb. 27.
It was the fifth-highest scoring outburst by any opponent in Madison Square Garden history. The only players in front of him are Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry and Michael Jordan.
During that game, Curry set an NBA record by becoming the first player to ever top 50 points and 10 three-point field goals in one game. He shot 11-of-13 from beyond the arc and single handedly led a near-upset.
In the game prior, Curry scored 38 points on the road against the Indiana Pacers—the NBA's top-ranked scoring defense.
Since that 38-point outing, Curry has had at least 20 points in 17 of his past 22 games. He's scored at least 30 in seven games and eclipsed the 25-point plateau in 12.
Leading a Playoff Team
When it comes to the Golden State Warriors, several individuals have improved their performance this year. David Lee is an All-Star, Stephen Curry is an All-Star snub, Jarrett Jack is a frontrunner for Sixth Man of the Year and Mark Jackson is in the running for Coach of the Year.
With that being said, the Warriors are averaging 102.2 points per 48 minutes when Curry is on the floor. When Curry is on the bench, that number takes a vicious nosedive to 93.4 points per 48.
A major reason why is the difference of 40.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc with Curry on the floor and 34.9 percent without.
Although the Warriors are a better defensive team with Curry on the bench, they are a net positive with Curry playing.
As the player with the highest usage rate on the team, it's safe to say that Curry has been a leader for the Warriors on the court. That's rather significant considering Golden State is 45-33 and headed to the postseason.
Once the playoffs begin, look for Curry to cement his debated status as an NBA superstar.