NBA History: 50 best NBA players of the 21st century

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Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

player. 41. . PG. Golden State Warriors. Stephen Curry. 4

50 greatest NBA players from 21st century: 4. Stephen Curry

No player this century had a greater impact on how the game as a whole was played than Stephen Curry. He was the ringleader of the 3-point revolution — a player who expanded the minds of executives, coaches, and fans alike. He ushered in a new era of basketball, and in the process, was the best player on arguably the greatest team ever assembled (arguably!). In fact, if this list were based less on career accomplishments, and more on peak greatness, Curry might be a couple spots higher.

While Curry is not as universally beloved as his reputation would suggest, we have arrived at the point where most around the league seem to understand the gravity of his contributions. He is the single greatest shooter in NBA history, bar none. He is one of the most gifted scorers ever and was likely deprived of another MVP run or two by Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Warriors in 2016.

Nobody, possibly ever, has caused more problems for defenses than Curry. His mere presence on the right side of the halfcourt line can send defenses into a frenzy. That is only amplified when he is playing next to other elite shooters, a la Thompson and Durant. Curry demands vigilant attention, and even when he receives it, the smallest sliver of light is normally a green light for him to shoot. Curry is not only a savant with the ball in hand, but he’s the greatest off-ball player in recent memory. He can bend and manipulate defenses without even looking at the ball. Rare for a point guard.

Curry has now won three championships and appeared in five Finals. He has seven All-Stars to his name, two MVP awards — including the first-ever unanimous MVP in 2016 — six All-NBA nods. Curry even led the league in steals in 2016, in case his prodigious offense wasn’t enough. Curry is one of the all-time greats.