Although ranking the top 30 NBA players in today’s game is an incredibly difficult task, The Last Word on Pro Basketball staff has taken it on. Coming in at number 5 in the countdown is Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.
Top 30 NBA Players
Number 5 – Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry was born in Akron, Ohio while his father Dell Curry was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina with his brother Seth Curry. Curry also spent some of his childhood in Toronto, Ontario.
Stephen Curry was drafted seventh in the 2009 NBA draft by the Warriors. He had a good rookie season averaging 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.9 steals in the 2009-10 NBA season. He finished as a runner-up in the Rookie of the Year Race to Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings. Curry was the Western Conference Rookie of the Month in January, February, and April of 2010.
As a rookie, Curry had an amazing eight 30-plus point games in his rookie season, which was the most for a rookie since LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Curry was the main piece of the Warriors dynasty run that included Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. With Thompsons’ shooting ability, Curry and Thompson would become the Splash Brothers.
Curry would lead the Warriors to the NBA playoffs in 2013 and 2014. In 2013, they upset the Denver Nuggets in the first round. However, they would lose to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals. In 2014, the Warriors would make the playoffs again but would lose a close seven-game series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
This was the last playoff series loss the Warriors have experienced in the Western Conference. In the five subsequent years, the Warriors would make the NBA Finals. This includes four against James and the Cavaliers and one against the Toronto Raptors and Kawhi Leonard.
To make it in the top five, Stephen Curry like many players have several strengths that make him special. The biggest strength Curry has is his shooting ability. Stephen A. Smith talks about Curry’s shooting ability on NBA on ESPN last year in only 650 games.
“Steph Curry is the greatest shooter in the history of basketball. Just recently he surpassed Jason Terry to be number three on an all-time list in career three-pointers,” Smith said.
Curry is extremely efficient at the free-throw line. For all but three years in his NBA career, he has averaged more than 90 percent at the free-throw line. Even in the years when he did not average above 90 percent at the free-throw line, he still managed an average above 80 percent in those years.
He is also historically accurate in the NBA playoffs. Curry missed a free-throw against the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2019 NBA Playoffs which was Curry’s first missed free-throw since Game Six of the 2015 NBA Finals in either the fourth quarter or in overtime.
Curry’s field goal percentage is typically at 46 to 49 percent. Furthermore, except for the season where he played five games, his three-point percentage is typically above 40 percent. He can also pass and rebound the ball. He averaged 6.6 assists and 5.2 rebounds, the latter of which is impressive for a point guard. Curry has also shown a cunning ability to steal the ball. In the 2015-16 NBA season, for example, he led the league with 2.1 steals per game.
Curry is a special and one-of-a-kind player. There may never be a player like Curry again.
When it comes to the top players in the game, there are very few weaknesses. Some of these weaknesses may not be considered one for even an NBA All-Star player. However, Stephen Curry is an NBA superstar, so he will be critiqued accordingly.
He is an above-average player at defense. He is not elite at that position. Curry though does not need to be. His teammates Green and Thompson are elite defenders according to Hoops N Brews. He also lacks athleticism according to Ralph Orense of ClutchPoints. This is probably Curry’s biggest flaw in his NBA game. However, he more than makes up for it with his shooting ability.
Lastly, although Curry has been in the NBA Finals five times and won three NBA Championships, he has never won the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award. Andre Iguodala won the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in 2015 while Durant won the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in 2017 and 2018. With everything Curry has accomplished with the Warriors, one would expect him to win at least one NBA MVP Finals trophy.
Stephen Curry Career Accolades
Stephen Curry has a trophy case full of career accolades in the NBA. His accolades in the NBA started in his rookie season, where he was part of the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2010. He also won the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2011. Curry would build on those accomplishments making six straight NBA All-Star Game appearances from 2014-19. He also won an NBA Three-Point Contest in 2015.
Curry has made the All-NBA First Team three times and the All-NBA Second Team two times. He was also part of the All-NBA Third Team in 2018. Curry won two consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player awards in 2015 and 2016. This included a historical 2015-16 NBA season, where he was the NBA scoring champion and steals leader. He also made the 50-40-90 club in 2016.
This meant that Curry had at least a 50 percent field goal percentage, 40 percent three-point field goal percentage, and a 90 percent free throw percentage by the end of the regular season. He is one of only eight players in the NBA to accomplish that feat.
As a result, with all of these accolades in the 2015-16 NBA season, he accomplished something even more special. According to NBA.com, Curry became the first unanimous Most Valuable Player Award in NBA history. He was also only the 11th NBA player to win two consecutive Most Valuable Player Awards.
— NBA (@NBA) May 11, 2016
Most importantly, Curry made the NBA Finals five times. He led the Warriors to three NBA Championships in 2015, 2017, and 2018.
Lastly, he is currently the all-time Warriors leader in three-point field goals made. According to basketball reference, Curry currently has a 99.87 percent chance of making the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. This is the second-highest odds from the 2009 NBA draft, behind Harden of the Rockets.
Last Word on Pro Basketball Ballots
We believe in full transparency in the top 30 NBA player rankings, so we are going to disclose the ballots of our player rankings and where each contributor had each player ranked.
Tyler Marling – Site Manager – 5th
Chase Gage – Managing Editor – 5th
David Knight – Marketing Manager – 5th
Zach Kircher – Associate Editor – 4th
Matthew Waldman – Associate Editor – 6th
David Ward – Associate Editor – 5th
Avinash Chauhan – Contributor – 4th
Adam Zigner – Contributor – 6th
Albert Dadson – Contributor – 6th
Dylan Guest – Contributor – 6th
Raheem Bashir – Contributor – 2nd
Nathan Levine – Contributor – 5th
Bill Huan – Contributor – 6th
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