Before we start, let’s get a few facts straight:
-Steph Curry has the second highest 3-point shooting % in the history of professional basketball, second only to Steve Kerr. (via Basketball-Reference.com)
-In 2012-2013, Steph Curry hit more 3-point baskets in a single season than any player in NBA history. (via Basketball-Reference.com)
-Curry is the #1 scorer (23ppg, 7th in the league) and #1 option on his team (at 18.1, he takes the most shots per game), which is in the top third in the league in scoring with over triple-digits every contest, on a team with the 8th best record in the league.
-He’s 24 years old.
All of those statements are 100% factually correct. I only wanted to make that clear because, while they are facts, they still don’t make any sense. I didn’t want anyone to think I was crazy with what I am about to say. But, trust me, I understand how insane those statistics sound. In fact, feel free to take a moment to absorb them before reading on.
Why am I being so dramatic? Because, as a fan or player of basketball, it would have to be dramatic to potentially discuss the greatest three-point shooter in the history of basketball. Let me say that again: Steph Curry might be the greatest three-point shooter in the history of Naismith’s game.
Of course Curry hasn’t had the longevity of say, a Ray Allen or Reggie Miller (yet), but based on the stats, it’d be hard to argue there’s ever been a better three-point shooter. Just look at those numbers again. He already has the second highest percentage in history, just behind Steve Kerr. But, Kerr was never even a top three or four option on his team. It’s a lot easier to hit threes when you’re sitting wide open behind the three-point line while the other team is focusing on Jordan or Pippen (when Kerr was with the Bulls) or Tim Duncan (when Kerr was with the Spurs).
Steph Curry is almost just as accurate as Kerr, as the first option on his team. That is insane; mind-numbingly insane. Curry is the first player teams are trying to stop when they play the Warriors, and somehow this guy hits three-point shots at a greatest clip than any player in history other than a spot-up shooter who never led a team in scoring in his life. And the ridiculous shooting percentage isn’t because Curry rarely shoots. Remember, he broke the single-season record last year for made three-pointers, and he plays on a fairly offensive-minded team. That’s simply phenomenal.
So why is no one talking about this? Curry is on pace to shatter every three-point record, and he’s hitting them at a higher percentage than anyone ever who even comes close to playing the same role on his team. We’ve never seen anything like it before. So, why does it take a sports blogger to bring this up? Why isn’t ESPN talking about something real, instead of Tebow’s next stop or what Katherine Webb is wearing in the stands?
I think I know, and it’s the same reason Curry, perhaps the third or fourth scorer in the world (depending on LeBron, Durant and Carmelo) played his college basketball in the Southern Conference.
There’s new about discussing the screwy nature of how Steph Curry didn’t end up in a major university for college ball (he played at Davidson), but making fun of all the scouts who whiffed on him because of his size have perhaps taken too much of a beating. First, check out Curry’s profile on Scout.com, the #1 recruiting site in the country. According to that scout, here are Curry’s “strengths”: Upside/Potential, 3-point range, basketball IQ. That doesn’t sound like the scout got it wrong. In fact, it sounds like that scout nailed Curry perfectly. The only issue are the hang-ups on his size.
Of course, players get looked over because of their size all the time. This is nothing new either. But, it is new when you consider that the kid’s last name was CURRY — and of course his father, Del, was one of the more famous shooters in history. And (of course), that’s what’s so weird about all of this. How could the kid with the famous name even get overlooked? Don’t kids actually get a boost or a benefit of the doubt when their parents are famous? If nothing more than just to start a buzz around that particular program?
So here’s the issue. The fact that he was a bit of a tweener completely derailed Curry’s chances at a major school. The stigma of being “undersized” was so strong that even when Curry was destroying the Southern Conference (Bobby Cremins of College of Charleston was quoted as saying he was angry with college scouts, since their miscalculations led to Curry dominating a conference he had no business being in), the same thing happened to his brother, Seth Curry. Even when Steph was dropping 25+ a game in division one basketball, his little brother (yes, with the last name Curry too), couldn’t get a look from major schools and ended up at Liberty University.
Luckily for Seth, he quickly led the nation in scoring as a freshman, and by the time Steph had taken his team to the Elite 8, Coach K and Duke finally woke up and offered Seth a transfer spot in Durham.
It’s simply stunning that even when Steph blew up at Davidson, his brother couldn’t even get a pass, since he was, you know, a “tweener.”
The question is obvious. Is this why Curry still doesn’t get the same level of respect as other guys in the league? Because he doesn’t look like a 6’5 or 6’8 traditional basketball player?
It’s simply hard to imagine that this basketball talent first erupted out of Curry only while he was at Davidson. How could not a single scout see any of this talent while he was in high school? Even from a kid with a famous last name?
Like I said, I don’t want to beat up on scouts. Scouts miss prospects. It happens. But the “tweener” or “undersized” stigma seems to still be following Curry. Somehow. Call me crazy, but if a 6’5 prototypical shooting guard was shooting 44% from three for his career, approaching Steve Kerr’s inconceivable level of 45% as the greatest in history, I have a feeling we’d be talking about it a lot more.
Now I know every undersized athlete reading this is already icing his neck from agreeing with me, but it’s bigger than that. If your team whiffed on Wes Welker, or even worse, whiffed on Russell Wilson, you have even more of a reason to get amped up over what seems like an epidemic of size-bias.
Remember, barely a year ago scouts were telling Russell Wilson to play baseball so he’d have chance at making money playing sports (writers laughed when Pete Carroll hinted that he was favoring Wilson over Matt Flynn). Obviously, it didn’t take long for Wilson to get his respect. Hopefully someday, Steph Curry will get his too. He doesn’t need it — just like he didn’t need to go to Duke or North Carolina to be successful — but he certainly deserves it.