At the start of the 2021-2022 season, as the NBA began celebrating its 75th anniversary, USA TODAY Sports ranked the top 75 players of all time.
Golden State Star Steph Curry was #15.
After this season, in which Curry scored his fourth championship and first Finals MVP, how far has he moved up the list?
Beat Jerry West (#14), Kevin Durant (#13), Hakeem Olajuwon (#12), Oscar Robertson (#11) or Shaquille O’Neal (#10)? Being ahead of Durant will spark a heated debate and possibly Durant’s reaction on social media.
Will Curry make it into the top 10 after his performance in the final? The Finals MVP is worth something, as some consider it a “hole” in his resume.
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In six games against Boston, Curry averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals, 48.2% field goals and 43.7% three-pointers—slightly better than 27.4/5.2. /5.9/1.3/45.9%. /39.7% this postseason, he has averaged 22 playoff games.
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The 6ft 2in Curry is now 21-13 in Finals games with 27 points, six assists, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 43.2% from the field, 39.5% from 3-pointers and 91. 7% from free throws. He ranks 12th on the all-time Finals scorers list and 10th in Finals points per game.
In the regular season, Curry has moved from 76th on the all-time scorers list to 51st and if he has a similar season in 2022-23 he will flirt with a top 40 move alongside Larry Bird, Gary Peyton and Clyde Drexler. .
He also passed Ray Allen as the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers that season. Give him a few more seasons and someday you’ll need a better shot than Curry.
The 34-year-old Curry added to his record lead of 3 playoffs (561) and 3 finals (152), two more records that will stand for some time to come. His 31 triples against Boston is the most in a six-game Finals series, beating his previous record of 25 triples in 2015 against Cleveland.
Arguments about who is the greatest player of all time and whether player A is better than player B are complex for many reasons – among them different eras, styles and rules.
Of the 15 current or former USA TODAY employees who rated NBA players 1-75, only sportswriter Nancy Armor had Curry in the top 10 before the start of the season. She said that she “placed a lot of importance on the role of the player in the development of the game” and “what an impact they had in making the game what it is today.”
But Curry’s shot and the range of his shot changed the game. The same cannot be said for many players.
After the Warriors won the title in Game 6, Curry’s longtime teammate Andre Iguodala called Curry the best point guard of all time. Controversial, but not contrived.
“What he does at his size,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, “is very different from what traditional great players in this league do.”
He made it into the top 10: four championships, one Finals MVP and two regular season MVPs, several long-to-be-broken three-point records, and one of the best shooters of all time.
If he’s not in the top 10 now, he’ll be there by the time his career ends.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Steph Curry, the all-time top 10 NBA great? It’s time to think about it