Kevin Durant: Stephen Curry Is 'Best Shooter to Ever Play' in NBA

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

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Ray Allen? Reggie Miller? Jerry West? Larry Bird? 

Forget about 'em, because Kevin Durant doesn't think any of those legendary sharpshooters deserve to be called the greatest shooter to ever play in the NBA. For that matter, you may as well throw out any other names from the past that you may have floating through your cranial cavity. 

Durant, on such a scorching run that we may have to start thinking about him as the greatest shooter of all time, has a different man in mind: 

Not only is the current scoring leader showing humility by picking Stephen Curry to beat him in a three-point contest, but he's also selecting the leading member of the Splash Brothers for the bigger honor. 

Curry doesn't have the track record that each of the aforementioned names boast, but he's certainly on pace to prove that when it comes to scoring, Durant knows what he's talking about. As if we should ever doubt that.

And the Oklahoma City Thunder's scoring stud isn't the only one who's making such claims. Here's Kurt Helin, writing on the same topic for NBC Sports in early November: 

Try this one on for size: Stephen Curry is the best shooter of all-time.

You’re squirming, aren’t you? It doesn’t sit right. You’re thinking it can’t possibly be true, not yet, not with every great player that has played this game. You’re running through names in your head right now. Larry Bird? Steve Nash? It can’t be Curry.

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In 2012-13, Curry broke the all-time record for three-pointers made in a single season, and he did so while knocking down 45.3 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

According to Basketball-Reference, the most attempts per game by a qualified player shooting more than 45 percent from downtown prior to Curry was Glen Rice, who took 5.6 triples per game in 1996-97.

Curry took 7.7 last year. 

Jan 18, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of a game at the New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

But what makes the Golden State Warrior's shooting even more impressive is how he takes the shots. Most sharpshooters require assistance from their teammates, demanding perfect feeds that set up their deep attempts, but Curry routinely creates his own looks, pulling up off the bounce to splash down three more points on the opposition. 

During that historic 2012-13 campaign, only 60.2 percent of his converted triples were assisted, per Basketball-Reference. For comparison's sake, let's look at Allen's 2005-06 season with the Seattle SuperSonics, when he made 41.2 percent of his 8.4 three-point looks per game.

Of his makes, 75.1 percent were assisted. 

This season, Curry has been uncharacteristically off, and he's still shooting 38.3 percent from three-point land while leading the NBA in total attempts. Oh, and he's also averaging 23.5 points and 9.2 assists per game, which makes him the only player in the NBA to grace the top 10 in both categories. 

Curry is so much more than a shooter, yet he's still putting up historically excellent numbers from beyond the arc. 

While he'll need more time to generate a resume comparable to the legendary shooters of yesteryears, he's already trekking toward G.O.A.T. status in the shooting department. Shot by shot, he's proving Durant correct. 


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