The quick release. The accuracy. The ability to shoot off the dribble going either way. The high IQ game.
Steve Nash had all of it — he’s a career 42.8 percent shooter from three and arguably the best shooter off the dribble the game has ever seen.
Until Stephen Curry came along. Nash is willing to give the title of best shooter in NBA history to Curry right now. After six years in the league and at age 27. Look at what Nash told Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report.
“The only pause I have is from fear of being ignorant,” he said. “Am I missing someone? Does he need to play longer or do it longer? Does he have to do it in the playoffs more years? But my first reaction is, ‘Why not?’ He’s as good as anyone I can think of on every level—pure shooting, array of shots, percentage, getting hot, plays to the end—he checks all the boxes….
“Consistency,” Nash said. “Can someone consistently make shots, night in and night out, year after year? That’s the true mark of a player. You could break it down a lot of ways, but that’s the bottom line. How rare are off nights? There are certain guys, they shoot the ball, you always think it’s going in. Steph is able to seamlessly get his feet down, gather his weight between his feet and go up in the air and shoot it in rhythm as if he’d just been standing there, caught it and shot it.
“Truly, from the eye test, he’s the greatest there’s ever been.”
And about shooting off the bounce?
“Steph takes it to another level,” Nash said. “I was able to do it going left and right, and we can both do it at speed, but I was always trying to get to the three-point line. He can do it from deeper and, frankly, I never took a step-back. He has no trouble taking a step-back and making it. You add that to all the other shots. It could be a clincher in this game of deciding who’s the best.”
It’s a little challenging to compare NBA shooters across eras because the older guys never had a three point line, then with the change in defensive rules and philosophy there is more of an emphasis on that shot now.
Still, have you seen Curry shoot?
Nash notes that Curry will likely finish with a lower career shooting percentage than himself, but that’s only because he shoots more often, while Nash resisted that urge (and the pleas of some of his coaches) to set up teammates more. But already Curry has to be up there with the best of them.
There is Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Drazen Petrovic, Dirk Nowitzki, Jerry West, Larry Bird and whomever else you want on that list, Curry belongs there. Whether you go by stats or the eye test, Curry passes.