How Does Steph Curry’s Fourth Ring Affect the All-Time Rankings?
Golden State Warriors point guard reached another milestone in 2022, winning his fourth NBA Finals and earning his first Finals MVP award.
Regardless of whether they are making Quaker State 400 predictions or piling up outside the gates of the football stadium, all sports fans can agree that Curry’s ascendency has put him into nearly everyone’s conversation for a top-10 player of all time. More importantly, the greatest point guard of all time.
So, where exactly does Curry stand? Here is a breakdown.
Curry is unanimously regarded as the greatest shooter of all time. His impact on the modern NBA is second-to-none and rivals that of any player coming before him. Whether that be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was banned from dunking in college, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, who grew the popularity of the game, or Michael Jordan, who made the NBA an international attraction.
He is also the engine of a modern dynasty, one that has won four NBA Finals championships in eight years and competed in six finals, only missing in years where he and Klay Thompson were injured. This dynasty also happened to exist in the middle of the career of LeBron James, a consensus top-two player ever, and they were the only team to give him renewed trouble in multiple locations.
On top of that, Curry was a ground breaker as the first player ever to win a unanimous MVP award, his second of two consecutive nominations. The closest players previously were LeBron and Shaquille O’Neal, each of whom was one vote shy of being unanimous MVPs.
On top of all that, Curry was incredibly unselfish, allowing his teammates to shine and welcoming Kevin Durant to the Bay when it became evident that he would need him to compete against James’ Cleveland Cavaliers.
This move was similar to that of Dwyane Wade, who had been Finals MVP in Miami before welcoming LeBron to South Beach, knowing it would lead to renewed success.
Curry’s case takes a hit because of the 2016 NBA Finals. At the time, he was a two-time MVP and reigning champion and had just been the driving force of a team that set the regular-season record by going 73-9. The record dethroning the Chicago Bulls as the best regular-season team ever.
Curry’s 2016 playoffs appeared to be one of the crowning jewels in his legendary career. He successfully navigated his team out of a 3-1 hole to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals and set up a date with LeBron and the Cavs in the Finals.
However, after going up 3-1 on them, he played three games ranging from poor to terrible. This includes a Game Seven that he labelled “the worst game of his career” en route to throwing the series, with the closeout Game Seven coming home. This was and is still the only time a team lost an NBA Finals after leading 3-1.
Curry also does not rank very high on the all-time lists, aside from three-point and free-throw shooting, whether that be points, rebounds, assists, or steals; in fact, he is nowhere near some of the other players in the top-10 all-time conversation.
The Davidson product was also an average defender at best, as despite leading the league in steals one year, he was constantly sought out in isolation and used as a defensive mismatch, mostly because of his diminutive size.
Curry did get the proverbial monkey off his back by winning the Finals MVP, which many naysayers pointed to as an obvious issue with his resume, allowing him to comfortably move into most people’s top 15.
Curry still has years to go in his career, and at this point, the only way that he will make any more progress will be by winning championships and turning in memorable playoff performances. The Warriors are the favourites to win the title next year, so he has a good chance of bolstering his case.