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Warriors' Stephen Curry Celebrates WNBA, Takes Shot at 'System Player' Critique

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2020

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) reacts after shooting a 3-point basket against the Toronto Raptors during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Thursday, March 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

ESPN's Bomani Jones suggested Thursday during his podcast that Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry doesn't automatically give a team a chance to win a championship in the way he believes other top players like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo do.

Jones also called Curry the "greatest system player of all time."

On Saturday, Curry hit back at those comments while welcoming back the WNBA as it opened its season.

Stephen Curry @StephenCurry30

Go get it ladies!!! And shout out to all the system players in the @wnba. We get it done 💪🏽👀 https://t.co/v9XS7rnPr8

"This is my metric for (NBA) superstar—do you have a chance to win a championship just because we got you?" Jones asked during the podcast (h/t Drew Shiller of NBC Sports). "We'll work the rest out, but if the first thing you tell me is that this guy plays for us, then we got a chance to do this."

When Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports said that Curry was one such superstar, Jones hedged.

"To have the chance you have to put this fairly specific set of things around him," he said. "And he can't guard nobody."

And then he dropped the "system player" remark:

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"You tell me you got Steph—I want you to tell me a little bit more. ... My only problem with Steph though—this is a big problem—getting his own shot. He can get his own shot if he shoots it from 40 (feet).

"He's got sick handle and all that stuff. There's something different. It's hard to explain what it is with Steph, but Steph is somehow like the greatest system player of all time. And I'm not saying that to shade him. But you are not going 1-4 flat and being like, 'Get us a bucket.'"

It's an interesting argument. Curry benefits immensely from Steve Kerr's offensive system and philosophy, which spaces the floor and uses motion to help create open looks. He's also spent his prime paired with a number of superb players, from Durant to fellow sharpshooter Klay Thompson and floor general Draymond Green.

On the other hand, Curry is arguably the greatest shooter in NBA history. That isn't hyperbole—Curry is shooting 43.5 percent from three for his career, holds the NBA record for most threes in a season (402 in the 2015-16 season) and accounts for five of the top 10 seasons on the list of most threes made in a single campaign.

His 2,495 career threes are third all-time. His proficiency from the perimeter has absolutely changed the game, helping to usher in the era of floor-spacing basketball that has veered away from plodding big men bashing bodies in the paint.

So did the system make Curry or did Curry make the system? The answer, as always, is somewhere in the middle. But that makes for a less fun debate.

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