Stephen Curry can sure make his 3s.
Curry set an NBA record when he made his 270th 3-point shot against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, April 17. Curry shattered Ray Allen‘s seven-year old record with his incredible shooting and he carried the Golden State Warriors to the playoffs along the way.
Now, Curry is ready to showcase his 3-point shot in front of a larger audience and he’s ready to take the Warriors places in the process.
Somehow, Curry shot better from beyond the arc than he did overall. Remarkably, Curry made 45.3 percent of his 3s and he averaged 22.9 points per game (PPG) in the process. Curry was able to stay healthy and make the leap to stardom during the 2012-13 season and his 3-point shooting was a large reason for Curry’s rise. However, he’s always been a great 3-point shooter.
In 26 games during the shortened 2011-12 season, Curry shot 45.5 percent on 3s and 49 percent overall. He is a career 44.6 percent shooter and he’s never made less than than 43.7 percent of his 3-point attempts in a season. Since Nov. 18 Curry has made a 3-pointer in all but one of his 69 regular season games. In a game against the New York Knicks on Feb. 27, Curry made 11 of his 13 3-point attempts.
And Curry scored 54 points in that game.
Allen is known as the best 3-point shooter of all time, but he hasn’t been as sharp as Curry. Allen had never shot higher than 43.4 percent from beyond the arc until the 2010-11 season, when he shot 44.4 percent. In 46 games during the 2011-12 season, Allen shot 45.3 percent, a career-high. Curry shot 45.3 percent this year and he’s poised to do more.
While Allen made 269 3s in 2005-06, his career 3-point shooting percentage leaves something to be desired. Allen is a career 40.1 percent 3-point shooter, while Curry’s mark is much better. Somehow, Allen has had 10 years in which he has shot less than 40 percent on triples, while Curry has easily surpassed 40 percent every year. The stats don’t lie and the stats definitely say that Curry is more accurate from 3-point land.
Retired Indiana Pacers great Reggie Miller is another player known for his 3-point shooting, but he was never “automatic” either. Miller never made 43 percent of his 3s in a year and his career 3-point percentage was 39.5 percent. Curry’s worst 3-point shooting year is better than Miller’s best 3-point year, so it’s safe to say Curry is a better 3-point shooter. Miller may be better-known for his shooting, but the stats are definitely not on his side.
Steve Kerr, who has five championships under his belt, may be the only player with stats on his side. Kerr has a career 3-point field goal percentage of .454, which is slightly better than Curry’s mark. Kerr had five years where he shot less than 40 percent from beyond the arc, but to be fair, the sample size was very small in two of those years. He didn’t finish strong, though, as he shot 39.4 percent and 39.5 percent in his final two seasons.
Kerr never averaged 25 minutes per game (MPG) in his career and he wasn’t a star. However, he was a reliable 3-point shooter who could come in and change a game with one big shot. Curry doesn’t have that reputation, but that’s only because he is also a superb passer, leader and scorer. Curry averaged 6.9 assists per game (APG) and finished the year with a 21.34 player efficiency rating (PER), which was well above average and fifth among point guards.
Because Curry, who averaged 38.2 MPG in 2012, has more minutes to work with, he shoots a lot more than Kerr. That means it’s realistic to expect Curry’s shooting numbers to be a bit worse because hot streaks don’t matter as much. Curry can certainly go on hot streaks, but his consistency has been remarkable as well. Kerr had lots of games without a 3 and while he didn’t shoot a ton, he was still inconsistent. Kerr averaged 1.5 3s per game during the 1993-94 season and that was the season where he averaged 24.8 MPG–the most in his career.
Kerr finished his career with a spectacular shooting percentage, but that was because he didn’t shoot many 3s. Curry takes shots and consistently makes his 3s and he will continue to do so in the future. Kerr is the only player who has a better 3-point percentage and his sample size was small. Kerr never played a lot of minutes and he still didn’t shoot much in those minutes. Curry averages 7.7 3s per game and he still manages to consistently make his 3s.
And that sets him apart as the greatest 3-point shooter of all-time.