Most of us probably wish we were as good at anything as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors are at shooting a basketball. Like, paying my bills on time. I wish I were that good.
You don’t earn a tag team nickname like “Splash Brothers” without some serious clout in that department, as was acknowledged by Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle ahead of his team’s Tuesday night showdown with Golden State.
Lest you think Carlisle’s experience on the matter has been limited to his coaching resume and watching a bunch of games on TV during his early to mid-20s, don’t forget his NBA career—which lasted from 1984 to 1990—encompassed one of the league’s most hallowed eras.
If you’re like me, you reacted to this tweet by immediately scouring the nether recesses of your brain for some kind of reasoned response. Perhaps you thought of this one, which, hilariously enough, was the first “mention” tweet on Mike Fisher’s Twitter page.
@fishsports ahem Dirk and Steve Nash.— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) April 1, 2014
It should be noted that Carlisle has some company in his lofty analysis. In a story by the San Jose Mercury-News' Monte Poole, Warriors coach Mark Jackson called Curry and Thompson "the greatest shooting backcourt in the history of the game."
For as effortless as Curry and Thompson’s shots seem at times, there was a whole lot of repetition—tedious, tiring, through snow and sleet and heat and hail—that went into their picture-perfect deliveries.
In a fascinatingly in-depth story by ESPN’s David Flemming, Curry explained what excites him about the art and the science of letting one fly.
I love everything about shooting, but mostly that perfect form, when your body is in rhythm from the time you plant your feet to the time you release the ball. When it happens, everything is very smooth and calm from your feet through your release. Everything moves through you like a wave, almost. It's a beautiful thing.
Indeed it is. Unless you’re, say, Rick Carlisle while this post is being written.
Back in December, Bleacher Report’s Adam Fromal unpacked this very subject, looking at who might rival the Splash Brothers in terms of teammate shooting proficiency. His conclusion is, well, pretty straightforward.
So, I'll ask again: Are Curry and Thompson the greatest shooting backcourt in basketball history? How can the answer be anything other than a rather definitive "yes"? And the scary part is that while Curry is 25 years old, Thompson is only 23. They have plenty of time to add to their already stellar résumés. I'd call them a slam dunk as the greatest shooting backcourt, but that phrase just seems wrong at this point. How about a swish?
So there you have it. To the extent that “ever” has to include “past 30 years,” Carlisle’s assessment has to be right—even while praying he’s wrong.