Why Stephen Curry has made a case for his place amongst the greatest of all time.
By Mark Molz
Yes, Lebron James just won his fourth NBA title while simultaneously capturing his fourth Finals MVP, but I still wouldn’t call him the GOAT, of the decade that is.
This article won’t be the stale Jordan vs. Lebron debate that has continued season-to-season, but rather to discuss a relatively new GOAT debate. The GOAT of the past decade has gone back and forth and why I am a little late to the party I still would like to make my case for why Stephen Curry deserves that award. I will simply be re-enforcing Curry’s incredible decade that blows you away every time you read about it.
From 2010-2019, the NBA has mainly been dominated by two teams, the Golden State Warriors and whatever team Lebron James happened to be on. We saw Lebron make it to the finals an unprecedented eight times in the last decade. Four with the Miami Heat and four with the Cleveland Cavaliers. While making it eight times, achieving something many avid NBA fans will most likely never see again, he was only able to capture three of those trophies.
Now, I cannot deny his accomplishments aren’t anything short from incredible, and Lebron will go down as one of the best basketball players ever or the greatest ever in some people's minds. My argument here is that the other team who gave him a run for his money four out of those eight years has a player who might have been even better in the last decade.
Curry and the Warriors were able to reach the finals five times since 2015 and were able to capture three championships in those five appearances. Combined, Curry and Lebron were in nine of the decades finals, captured half of the MVP awards, and were lighting up the stat sheet every night. And thus the argument for Stephen Curry begins.
Curry in the last decade has revolutionized the game of basketball. His three point shooting has single handedly altered coaches defensive gameplans and the outcome of every game by shooting deeper and deeper night in and night out. While Lebron James has been demonstrating pure dominance since he entered the league in 2003, Curry in the last decade has defined what basketball is today.
Curry has led the league in three-pointers five times, breaking the single-season record in 2015 with 402 three-pointers (yes, you read that right) a record that most likely will never be broken, three championships (which is just as many as Lebron), and two regular season MVPs.
On top of all this he led his Warriors to the best record in NBA history in the ‘15-16 season with a 73-9 record while running away with MVP becoming the first unanimous regular season MVP ever, receiving all 131 votes. During that season Curry was virtually unstoppable, averaging 30.1 points per game. 5.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 2.1 steals. Pulling up from three where nobody has before and averaging 50/40/90 (50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three, and 90 percent from the free throw line).
Curry has paved the way for other players like his teammate Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Trae Young, James Harden, and more. Teams are no longer letting the clock wind down in hope for an easy lay-up, but rather designing plays for their sharp shooters to pull up from 30 plus feet with twenty seconds left in the shot clock. Basketball is in a new era of catch-and-shoot basketball, where players' only job is to sit in the corner and wait for the perfect opportunity to let it fly.
Lebron’s dominance will forever be cemented in the history of the NBA, but as time goes on we can thank Curry for how basketball has changed, whether you think it is good or bad. He is arguably the greatest shooter of all time and he isn’t even close to being finished. With records such as the most three pointers in playoff history, most threes in a season (five times in a row), and only a few hundred back from the most threes made all time, you could guess he will finish his career on top.
He has pushed the boundaries in terms of acceptable shooting distance, brought the Warriors from a sub .500 team to (what almost seems to be) a never ending dynasty, and has captivated NBA fans like no other. With his size, likeability, and revolutionizing play kids are now starting to say “Curry!” as they shoot their crumpled up papers into the trash can.