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Where Does Stephen Curry Rank Among the Top Point Guards in the NBA?

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Where Does Stephen Curry Rank Among the Top Point Guards in the NBA?
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Before the 2012-13 season started, there were only a few point guards who could've been argued as the best in the NBA. 

As the season progressed, Chris Paul was the major name that came up in most people's heads when discussing who the best point guard was. The Los Angeles Clippers were in the midst of their best regular-season campaign in franchise history, and Paul was the engine running their success.

Stephen Curry, on the other hand, was merely an afterthought during the beginning of the season. He was healthy, which was a plus, but nobody had ever labeled him as an elite point guard.

However, one regular season and an unexpected playoff run later, and Curry has now solidified himself not just as an elite point guard, but also one of the best players in the entire league.

Here is a table comparing the individual statistics of Curry and some other point guards that are considered at the top of their position (all stats from Basketball Reference).

  PTS AST FG% 3P% TO PER WS/48

Stephen Curry

22.9 6.9 45.1 45.3 3.1 21.3 0.180
Chris Paul 16.9 9.7 48.1 32.8 2.3 26.4 0.287
Rajon Rondo 13.7 11.1 48.4 24.0 3.9 18.1 0.108
Deron Williams 18.9 7.7 44.0 37.8 2.8 20.3 0.184
Russell Westbrook 23.2 7.4 43.8 32.3 3.3 23.9 0.195

 

Scoring

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

In terms of scoring, Curry is one of the best, if not the best among all point guards. Before this season, he was recognized as just a shooting point guard with limited abilities in other scoring areas.

This season, he has improved his offense and can score in a myriad of different ways—from fancy ball-handling pull-ups to crafty floaters.

His 22.9 points per game average is second for his position, trailing only the explosive Russell Westbrook. However, Curry is a better pure shooter than any other point guard in the NBA

His 45.3 percent from beyond the arc is already amazing in its own right, but when you consider the fact that he set the record for most single three-pointers made in a season (via ESPN) while shooting at a high volume, it's even more incredible.

 

Passing

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Curry's primary role on his team is to score, so naturally his assists and assist percentage would be lower than that of Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo.

He's not as much of the typical point guard who sets up the offense for his team as he is a shoot-first, pass-second player.

As a result, his assists average will never be as high as some of the pass-first point guards in the league.

This doesn't mean that he's any less effective though. He has shown his ability to create plays for his teammates when he wants to, and his improved passing this year has made him into an even bigger threat on offense.

 

Efficiency

Curry's PER is third among the five point guards listed on the table. He has registered a career-high PER of 21.3 this season and demonstrated his improvement in all areas of his game.

Additionally, his true shooting percentage of 58.9 percent this year is phenomenal when you consider the volume of shots he takes every game.

As Curry continues to develop, his shooting efficiency will improve and he will only get better from here on out.

 

Conclusion

Offensively, Curry is as good as any other point guard in the NBA.

After a fantastic regular season and postseason run, Curry's name has been in discussion among the elite point guards in the league. There weren't many times in history where one player changes the perspective of an entire position.

But as great of an offensive player that Curry is, his individual defense is still short of spectacular.

During the regular season, opposing point guards registered a PER of 16.5 when Curry was defending them (per 82games.com).

Furthermore, Mark Jackson had to hide Curry on defense a lot during the series against the San Antonio Spurs in the conference semifinals, trusting Klay Thompson to guard Tony Parker instead.

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