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Top 50 NBA players from last 50 years: Stephen Curry ranks No. 10

Editor’s Note: As a part of a brand new sequence for his podcast, “What’s Wright with Nick Wright,” FOX Sports commentator Nick Wright is rating the 50 best NBA players of the last 50 years. The countdown continues at the moment with participant No. 10, Stephen Curry.

Stephen Curry’s profession highlights:

  • 2022 Finals MVP
  • Two-time league MVP
  • Eight-time All-Star
  • Four-time first-team All-NBA, three-time second staff, one-time third staff
  • Two-time scoring champion
  • 2016 50-40-90 membership
  • 2016 steals chief
  • 2010 All-Rookie staff
  • First on all-time 3-point listing

In the 2022 playoffs, Steph Curry bought into the behavior of celebrating dagger shots with a sleeping motion. The self-proclaimed petty king referred to as it the “evening, evening” celebration to indicate a job properly finished. 

Consider the entire NBA Finals a goodnight to any legit nitpicking of Curry’s legacy.

For all of Steph’s brilliance over the previous decade-plus, two gadgets had been noticeably absent from his résumé: Finals MVP and a transcendent recreation within the title spherical. Both feats, in reality, had improbably eluded him all through the dynasty he’s spearheaded.

It was becoming, then, that after nailing a nook 3 to ice Game 6 versus the Celtics, after which once more a couple of days later on the Warriors’ championship parade, Curry turned to his novel taunt. His work was full.

“He’s the best shooter ever. He’s one of many best teammates ever,” Wright mentioned. “And now, lastly, his résumé has no clean marks. He’s checked off each field you’ll wish to verify as a participant.”

Steph Curry is No. 10 on Nick Wright’s Top 50 Players of the Last 50 Years

Curry revolutionized the sport of basketball together with his unbelievable 3-point capturing.

And then some. He overcame ankle accidents early in his profession, additional pitting the Davidson product on the rarest of paths for an inner-core Hall of Famer. While Curry’s capturing prowess was evident from day one, and by no means wavered, his 3-point method was forward of its time. He didn’t try greater than 5 a recreation till his fourth season. 

It was a marketing campaign that ushered in a basketball revolution. Steph made 272 3-pointers, breaking Ray Allen’s all-time document for a season regardless of 53 fewer makes an attempt. And after connecting at a better clip (45.3%) than he made 2-point photographs (44.9%), Curry by no means regarded again. He has averaged 10 3-point makes an attempt per recreation over the previous 10 years — and he hasn’t been alone.

His 600 makes an attempt in 2012-13 had been the Tenth-highest complete in league historical past. That mark has since been topped 44 occasions. 

Curry cannot be minimized as only a shooter, after all. The 6-foot-3 level guard is a world-class dribbler whose contributions as a passer and rebounder can generally go unnoticed. With that mentioned, extra capturing from Curry additionally immediately corresponded with extra successful from the Warriors.

His record-breaking fourth season spurred Golden State to its first postseason berth in six years (and solely its second in 20). He went for 30 factors and 13 assists in his second profession playoff recreation and 44 and 11 in his seventh. The younger Warriors bowed out early in consecutive postseasons, resulting in Steve Kerr taking up for Mark Jackson.

As Steph continued capturing and making 3s at alarming charges, he would truly start taking part in off the ball extra. Amid his unprecedented gravity pull, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green blossomed, and Golden State, already boasting a top-ranking protection, advanced into the league’s finest offense.

In the 2015 playoffs, Curry averaged 34 and seven in a first-round sweep of the Pelicans. He rallied from a quiet few video games in opposition to the Grizzlies with 32 and 10 within the clincher. He then averaged 31 and 6 within the convention finals versus the Rockets.

Steph was nice however not transcendent in opposition to the Cavaliers within the Finals, posting a line of 26-5-6 with two steals. With the sequence tied at 2-2, he exploded for 37 factors (and grabbed seven rebounds) whereas pulling down seven 3s. He went for 25-6-8 in Game 6 however was snubbed for Finals MVP. Andre Igoudala, who additionally scored 25 within the closeout contest, was credited for sparking the Warriors’ rally from a 2-1 deficit after being inserted into the beginning lineup midway by means of the sequence and taking part in lockdown protection whereas averaging 16-6-4. 

“I imagine LeBron was MVP of these Finals,” Wright mentioned. “But it’s legal that within the official document books, Steph Curry bought zero Finals MVP votes. If you weren’t going to vote for LeBron, not voting for Steph there’s loopy, particularly with how he completed it.”

Curry responded with essentially the most prolific capturing season of all time. He led the league in scoring (30 factors on simply 20 photographs per recreation) and hit a record-breaking 402 3-pointers whereas making 50.4 from the ground, 45.4 from 3 and 90.8 from the road. None of the opposite 12 entries within the 50-40-90 membership contain even half as many 3-pointers. Golden State received a document 73 video games within the common season and Curry received a second straight MVP. 

“In 2016, he has pretty much as good of a daily season as any participant has ever had,” Wright mentioned.

The playoffs had been a distinct story. Curry suffered a knee damage within the opener and was restricted by means of the primary two rounds. With the Warriors trailing the Thunder 3-1 within the convention finals, Steph (and fellow “Splash Brother” Thompson) caught hearth and ensured a rematch with the Cavs. Curry then fell chilly once more, together with a 6-for-19 displaying in Game 7, and dedicated 30 turnovers because the Warriors turned the primary staff to blow a 3-1 lead within the Finals.

“Steph had the worst playoff recreation of his life in Game 7,” Wright mentioned. “That’s bought to be a part of the story.”

The subsequent chapter included Kevin Durant, whose unselfish model aligned completely with Curry’s. Both players had been at their apex, spawning arguably the best staff of all time. The Warriors blitzed by means of the 2017 playoffs with a document 16-1 mark and Curry had his finest postseason but (28-6-7). It simply wasn’t higher than that of Durant, who’d win the primary of two straight Finals MVPs. 

Golden State repeated as champs and regarded prime for a three-peat till KD went down halfway by means of the 2019 postseason. Curry went off the within the speedy aftermath of the damage, main the Warriors to a fifth consecutive Finals look, however was uneven in a six-game sequence loss to the Raptors.

And virtually in a single day, the dynasty appeared useless. Durant and Thompson each suffered accidents within the Finals that will sideline them for a 12 months. Moreover, KD defected to Brooklyn in the summertime, Curry broke his hand 4 video games into the next season, and Golden State completed with the worst document in basketball. Though Steph returned to an MVP stage in 2020, the Warriors (nonetheless with out Thompson, who tore his Achilles whereas working his approach again from the ACL) missed the playoffs once more. 

It all made this previous season’s title run that rather more inconceivable. Curry opened the season on hearth earlier than enduring essentially the most extended capturing droop of his profession. He additionally missed the ultimate month of the common season with a foot damage, simply as Thompson was getting his legs beneath him. Steph made it again for the start of the postseason and was stellar by means of the primary three rounds. 

He then delivered the largest second of his profession. With the Warriors trailing the Celtics 2-1, Curry erupted for 43 factors and 10 rebounds on the highway to tie the sequence. In Game 6, he dropped 34-7-7 to place Boston away. This time, there was no query of whomƒ the Finals MVP was. Steph averaged 31-6-5 for the sequence and led all scorers in 5 of six video games. 

The exhibition lastly quieted inaccurate narratives of Curry not being clutch or an elite playoff performer. 

“I believe people that act like Steph has not been nice within the playoffs are mendacity,” Wright mentioned. 

The numbers, if not all of the successful, again it up. Curry averages 24-5-7 within the common season and 27-5-6 within the postseason, with slight drop-offs in his playoff capturing splits. Granted the latter charges are 45.2%/40.1%/89.2%. 

Calling Curry the best shooter ever virtually feels redundant at this level. It would be the first line on his eventual Hall of Fame plaque and in his obituary. That nobody can contest the declare is a good harder feat within the sports activities world. But stopping there can be terribly underselling the four-time champ’s impression on successful. 

His recreation has perpetually the modified the sport of basketball, positive. But it is also reshaped the NBA’s historic hierarchy.

“The architect and the heartbeat of the most effective dynasty since Jordan’s Bulls,” Wright mentioned. “This ring cements the Warriors, in my view, higher than the Spurs … higher than the Lakers with Shaq and Kobe.”

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