Once upon a time, Ray Allen owned the NBA's single-season three-point record. But that was long ago, before Golden State Warriors point guard and reigning MVP Stephen Curry had morphed into a human flamethrower and shattered Jesus Shuttlesworth's mark three times over.
Now, Allen is doling out credit where it's due after Curry finished the regular season with 402 swishes from beyond the arc.
Speaking to Abe Schwadron of Slam Magazine, Allen put Curry's greatness in perspective when asked where he believes Curry ranks among the best shooters in league history:
Based on what he’s done, I think he has to be—he’s on his way to being the best ever. It’s always arguable, based on who’s telling the story. One thing I always tell people is, it’s hard to compare generations. Everybody has something or somebody that makes him feel special about the game, or the way they saw and the way they appreciate the game. I’ve sat back and watched a lot, and listened to a lot of people talk. He’s creating a lane all of his own. People comparing him to me, to Reggie [Miller]. But I think Steph is in a category of his own.
Allen previously broke Dennis Scott's longstanding single-season record with 269 made triples during the 2005-06 season with the Seattle SuperSonics, and that mark stood until 2012-13—when Curry eclipsed him by drilling 272 treys.
Since then, the top of the all-time leaderboard has become home to Curry—who owns three of the top four spots:
|NBA's Single-Season 3-Point Field-Goal Leaders|
|1. Stephen Curry (2015-16)||402||Golden State Warriors|
|2. Stephen Curry (2014-15)||286||Golden State Warriors|
|3. Klay Thompson (2015-16)||276||Golden State Warriors|
|4. Stephen Curry (2012-13)||272||Golden State Warriors|
|5. Ray Allen (2005-06)||269||Seattle SuperSonics|
When gushing over Curry's greatness, Allen pointed to the evolution of his game with the ball as the biggest reason for his ability to blow more traditional three-point shooters out of the water, per Schwadron:
Myself, Reggie Miller, Kyle Korver, Klay Thompson—we play a different game. We’re shooters. We come off screens, pindowns—Steph can do that, but he’s creating a different lane. Point guards haven’t been able to do what he’s been able to do, because he’s mixing that 2 guard-ish in there with having the great handles of a point guard.
Curry was in a class of his own when it came to shooting off the dribble this year.
According to NBA.com's player-tracking data, Curry led the league with 10.6 points per game via pull-up shots—0.8 more than Chris Paul and 2.1 more than Kevin Durant. What's mind-blowing is that Curry hit 42.8 percent of his pull-up threes, which is a better figure than Paul posted (42.7 percent) on all pull-up field-goal attempts.
Thanks to the innovative way he's molded his game, Curry has climbed the NBA's all-time three-point leaderboard faster than any other player in history. The 28-year-old already ranks 19th with 1,593 threes made in his career, which is 1,380 shy of Allen's all-time-best mark of 2,973.
And based on the rate at which he's scoring from distance, Curry should have no problem flying past Chauncey Billups (1,830 threes) and into the top 10 by the time next season is over.
In other words, Allen should cherish the time he has left at the top, because it's likely to come to an end soon enough.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless noted otherwise.