Many of Stephen Curry's peers have resorted to sheer disbelief and rhetoric of the unprecedented variety rather than comparisons to describe what the Golden State Warriors star does on the basketball court.
On Sunday, legendary coach Phil Jackson became the latest person to attempt to categorize Curry. He then followed up with another tweet on Monday to provide clarity:
Phil Jackson @PhilJackson11
Never seen anything like SCurry? Remind you of Chris Jackson/ Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who had a short but brilliant run in NBA?2/28/2016, 4:56:48 PM
Phil Jackson @PhilJackson11
How does commenting on Rauf mean I'm comparing him to Curry? Remind, yes, quick release, cross over, Yep, MVP, nope. Get a grip!2/29/2016, 2:19:32 PM
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was in the NBA for nine seasons, the final of which was a comeback attempt with the Grizzlies franchise in 2000-01. He was the third overall pick in the 1990 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets and shot 44.2 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from three-point range.
Curry is pushing the limits of what was previously thought possible for perimeter players. Although Abdul-Rauf had similar quickness in creating shots off the dribble and could heat up from beyond the arc, his stats show he wasn't as consistently lethal as Curry.
If anyone knows what greatness from a guard looks like, it's Jackson, who coached Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in their primes. The Zen Master is a fine authority on the subject of Curry comparisons, but right now, almost no one will stack up with the reigning NBA MVP.
During the 1993-94 campaign, Abdul-Rauf sank 219 of 229 free-throw attempts for a remarkable 95.6 percentage. That's about the only area he has Curry on, and even his best moments don't quite match the magnitude of the NBA's latest budding legend.
Prior to Jackson's follow-up tweet on Monday, Bleacher Report's Howard Beck asserted that Jackson may have even been kidding about the whole thing:
Howard Beck @HowardBeck
People keep falling for the banana in the tailpipe. Phil is laughing at the reactions, I guarantee it. https://t.co/AkUeiJjnvM2/28/2016, 5:21:46 PM
Whatever prompted Jackson to tweet, it doesn't overshadow the show Curry put on in his last outing.
Twitter was aflame with Curry's peers singing his praises Saturday night after a 46-point performance in the Warriors' 121-118 overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder to improve to 53-5 on the season.
As seen in the video above, after helping spark a comeback to force the extra period in the first place, Curry saved his best for last, pulling up from more than 30 feet away for a single-game-record-tying 12th three-pointer to win it.
Perhaps most notable was Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, who essentially begged Curry to show some mercy:
LeBron James @KingJames
@StephenCurry30 needs to stop it man!! He's ridiculous man! Never before seen someone like him in the history of ball!2/28/2016, 4:34:41 AM
Many would argue Curry has supplanted James as the best player on the planet. The following data from ESPN's Tom Haberstroh would support that notion:
Tom Haberstroh @tomhaberstroh
Statistically, Stephen Curry is so efficient this month (71.4 TS%) that every shot he takes is basically equivalent to a LeBron layup.2/28/2016, 4:35:14 PM
Curry is not only a lethal shooter with a limitless range, but he can also handle the ball perhaps better than anyone in the game. He's almost impossible to cover when he works off the ball and only needs a sliver of daylight to get his shot off.
Even if a defender contests a shot to discourage him from pulling the trigger, Curry can simply blow by an opponent, get into the paint and either craftily finish at the rim or find an open teammate.
To tie back to Jackson and Jordan, their best single-season record of 72-10 across 82 games with the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls is in serious jeopardy of being bested by Golden State. Curry's squad is showing no signs of slowing down and just demoralized one of its biggest adversaries in the Thunder.
Although the Warriors shouldn't be crowned as repeat champions just yet, it's hard to imagine Curry allowing them to lose four times in a seven-game series when they've lost five times all season to date.
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