Is Stephen Curry a Top 5 Point Guard?


Oct 8, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) dribbles while pursued by Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke (3) during the first quarter at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA seems to be stacked at the point guard position; almost every team has either an established veteran or a promising young talent.  The Golden State Warriors are no different – Stephen Curry proved his talent last season.  But is he a top 5 point guard?

Everyone has a different opinion, but there are certain point guards that usually get love when the “best point guards” discussion begins.  Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Stephen Curry are eight of the best in the league.  Any person who knows basketball will have all of these players in their top 10, but the order is always up for debate.

My top four – in no particular order – includes Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, and Derrick Rose.  No player is perfect.  Paul has trouble winning in the playoffs, Parker is a flopper, Westbrook can be a chucker, and Rose hasn’t played a (regular season) game in a long time.

Still, I think they are the four best in the league.  They have different play styles, strengths, and weaknesses, but they are all able to run an offense.

After those four, I am left with Rondo, Irving, Curry, and Williams.  All are great point guards.  Curry, Irving, and Williams all excel on the offensive end, while Rondo excels more on defense.  Rondo might be the best passer of the bunch, but all are great passers.

After the way he played last season, I can’t leave Stephen Curry out of my top five.  Most people would probably put Rondo in their top five because of his passing ability and defense, but I’m not too impressed by his offensive ability.

Curry isn’t known for his defense, but he has made improvements in the last year or so.  He will never be an elite defender, but he can be effectively guard his man.  Curry’s shooting ability really overshadows some of his other abilities.  He has great court vision and is an exceptional ball handler.  He isn’t the quickest, so he frequently uses his handles to gain separation from his defender.

Curry is definitely more than just a shooter, but his shot is something that always needs to be discussed.  It’s easy to point to last season: he made a record 272 three-pointers while shooting 45 percent from long range.  It was the best three-point shooting season in NBA history.

That’s a huge accomplishment, but Curry is still usually ignored when people talk about the best scorers in the league.  However, a recent article from Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry pins Curry as the third best scorer in the league.

In his article, Goldsberry analyzes a player’s shot chart and compares it to the league averages.  This produces a “ShotScore” – the higher, the better.  The results of his analysis shows that LeBron James is the best scorer, followed by Kevin Durant and Curry.

This coming season will be big for Curry and the Warriors.  The spotlight is on him.  If he doesn’t deliver, his reputation will suffer.  If he lives up to expectations, he will be a full-fledged superstar.

Curry’s ranking among point guards is debatable, but he is on his way to being a complete player and his game is still getting better.  He’s the best shooter in the league, but he is also a one of the best point guards.