The Three-point shot in basketball is one of the most important weapons to have for every player and for every team. Especially in the modern game, it is now impossible to win without having a consistent threat from outside the arc.
But how did the game transition from the rugged and physical play from the 90s to the nightly three-point contest in today’s game? One answer, Stephen Curry.
It is arguably a fact that Stephen Curry is the ignitor of the three-point revolution in the NBA. With the help of the Golden State Warriors, in more ways than one, Stephen Curry forced the game of professional basketball to change.
Entering the league, his three-point shot has always been the bread and butter of Curry’s game. But scouts diminished that part of his game and mainly focused on his weaknesses. Curry entered the league as a lanky 6”3’ 180 lbs. point guard that has below-average athleticism.
Curry was drafted in 2009. During that era, athletic freaks like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and other players dominated the game. So, it seems like it is almost impossible for a skinny guard like Curry to even excel in the game.
But Curry proved everyone wrong
During his rookie year, Curry averaged 17.5 points, 5.9 assists, and 4.5 rebounds. These numbers that Curry put up are quite impressive. He finished second to the Rookie of the Year award, eventually losing to Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings.
Curry’s progression was slightly derailed due to his multiple injuries earlier in his career. The Warriors also hadn’t done well in years and are far from being a contender of any sort. But in 2014, Curry started to break out and really elevate his game. His stellar performance in the 2014 NBA season earned him his first all-star appearance and semifinals finish for the Warriors.
Steve Kerr Era
The shift began when head coach Steve Kerr joined the organization. Kerr overtakes Marc Jackson for the head coaching job of the Warriors. He fully unleashed the skills of all the players, including Steph Curry.
Kerr uses his wide variety of set plays and tremendous ball movement that highlights Curry’s three-point shooting ability. Once Kerr took over, the league saw Curry enters his prime and slowly dominate the league. He quickly became a back-to-back MVP (Most Valuable Player) in 2016 and 2016. He also became the league’s first unanimous MVP. Curry averaged 30.1 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.4 rebounds in 2016 while shooting 50.4 percent from the field, and 45.4 percent from 3-point range.
Curry showed everyone in the NBA that you don’t really need to just fully rely on your height and athleticism to dominate the game. He showed the blueprint on how you can be a top dog in the game using your three-point shooting ability.
He may not be blessed with a freak-like build or insane athleticism, but Curry made sure that he perfects the craft that he knows he can use to be able to be a star in the league. His complete domination inspires every player and every team in the league to develop a threat from outside the arc. Partnered with the Warriors’ ball movement and Curry’s insane shooting, he showed everyone how you can win games easily by having enough floor spacing.
This past 2021-2022 NBA season, for the first time ever in the league, we saw the average ratio of three-point attempts compared to twos rise up to 40% or more. That is league-wide numbers which mean that teams attempted more three-pointers compared to two-pointers. And we can all agree that the dominance of Steph Curry paved the way for the league to jump on the trend of three-point shooting.
Steph Curry is the best shooter of all-time. He is the only player that made three-pointers look easy as a layup. Every era in basketball has its own face. And Steph Curry definitely had a case for being the face of modern basketball.
The game of basketball is constantly changing, and the markers of each era are clear. But Curry’s impact on how the game is played and perceived is here to stay for a long time.