Warriors' Ron Adams: Stephen Curry 'Not Unlike' Michael Jordan, Other NBA GreatsMay 3, 2020
While Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry has symbolized the NBA's recent offensive trends better than almost any other player, Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams believes the two-time MVP would've thrived in any era.
In an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole, Adams compared Curry to Michael Jordan in terms of his competitive fire:
"But he is (on the court) guided by his will to succeed, his will to win. And, more than that, his will to do it his way. That's not unlike Jordan and the other great players. Steph is playing in a different era, with different defensive rules, but the way he is wired, he would have adjusted to any time period. His drive is very similar to all the great players that have played the game."
There's no question Curry benefits from playing at a time when teams place such a priority on spacing the floor.
Of course, the Warriors are part of the reason teams are emphasizing three-point shooting so much. There used to be a time, not that long ago, when some argued that an offense centered around the perimeter was too volatile to succeed in the playoffs.
The NBA's steady emphasis on rooting out hand-checking and increasing freedom of movement has allowed scorers to thrive, as well. Those are luxuries stars from previous generations didn't get to enjoy.
Perhaps one could argue Curry otherwise wouldn't be the kind of offensive dynamo who averages a league-high 30.1 points, as he did in 2015-16. To Adams' point, however, he probably would've tailored his game to suit whatever best optimized his skill set.
Through his first two years in the NBA—before his three-point attempt rate climbed above 40 percent for the first time—Curry was averaging 25.3 points, 8.2 assists and 5.9 rebounds per 100 possessions, according to Basketball Reference.
Given his ball-handling skill and passing ability, perhaps Curry would've been more like Steve Nash if he had entered the NBA 10 years earlier. Nash was almost Curry's equal as a shooter but averaged fewer than half as many three-point attempts per game (3.2 for Nash, 8.2 for Curry).
Once upon a time, Curry didn't receive a single scholarship offer from any major Division I program.
Since then, he has worked to become arguably the greatest shooter in NBA history, one who's almost single-handedly changing how players coming up through the ranks are approaching the point guard position.
It's safe to assume he would've been just fine on the hardwood in any decade.