The other day, my colleague Damon Bruce asked me to come up with the five statistics that best tell the story of Stephen Curry. Here’s what I came up — the numbers that help explain exactly who Curry is as a player:
–.436 from 3-point range for career: Despite a down year for Curry from beyond the arc (down for him, anyway), he’s still the fourth-most accurate 3-point shooter in NBA history. Heading into this season, only Steve Kerr shot the ball better from beyond the arc, but start to think about the difference between Curry and Kerr. Curry is a two-time MVP; Kerr was a role player. The point here is that nobody in the history of the game has shot the ball so well, so frequently, from so far out. Curry’s ability to play the game outside-in is his foundation, and it sets up every other aspect of his game. You can’t tell the story of Curry without first considering his greatness from 3-point range.
–2.14-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio: For the most part, Curry’s assist-to-turnover ratio has stayed the same over the course of his career. He’s had troubling years with his assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7-to-1 in 2010-11) and better years (2.48-to-1 in 2014-15). But his career assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.14-to-1. That’s not awful by any stretch unless you’re asking Curry to be a true point guard. For your basic, run-of-the-mill point guard Curry’s assist-to-turnover ratio really isn’t good enough. But we also know Curry isn’t run of the mill. He’s an extraordinary shooter and that more than makes up for a little bit of sloppiness and carelessness. Curry’s never really taken that next step — into the Steve Nash category, for example. Would it be nice if Curry assisted more and turned it over less? Yes, but don’t expect it to get better if it hasn’t by now.
–15 games missed since 2011-12 season: In case you don’t remember, Curry had big-time ankle and foot issues early in his career. The injuries were so serious that some believed he was destined for a Grant Hill-like career. But Curry has been a virtual iron man since then, missing just 15 games in the past five years. First and foremost, Curry’s health has been the No. 1 reason he’s been able to be great.
–402 3-pointers made in 2015-16 season: It is a number that is mind-boggling but it speaks to how Curry is at the forefront of a basketball revolution. The No. 402 is so ridiculous that it makes you do the math in your head, trying to figure out how many makes that is a game: We’ll help you out: 5.1.
–55 percent of shots in the past two years from 3-point range: The fact that Curry came into this season as a 44.3 percent 3-point shooter is one thing; the fact that more than half Curry’s shots in the past two years have come from beyond the arc is remarkable — and it’s another sign of how different the game is now than it was just a couple of decades ago. And at least as of now, Curry remains the biggest game-changer.