Are Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson ‘the greatest shooting backcourt in the history of the game,’ as Mark Jackson says?
Apr 25, 2013, 4:44 PM EDT
Warriors point guard Stephen Curry just completed the best 3-point shooting season of all time (3.6 3-pointers made per game, 45.3 3-point percentage), and Golden State shooting guard Klay Thompson had a pretty good year outside the arc, too (2.6, 40.1).
Mark Jackson even called them “the greatest shooting backcourt in the history of the game.” Via Kyle Bonagura of CSN Bay Area:
“I’ve watched the history of the game and as player, as a fan, as an announcer, as a young kid and I’ve not ever seen two guys in the same backcourt shoot as well as these two guys,” Jackson said.
Let’s look a little deeper.
Curry and Thompson comprise one 11 backcourts all with two players averaging at least 2.0 3-pointers per game.
2012-13 Golden State Warriors:
- Stephen Curry (3.6, 45.3)
- Klay Thompson (2.6, 40.1)
2012-13 Brooklyn Nets:
2012-13 Portland Trail Blazers:
- Damian Lillard (2.3, 36.8)
- Wesley Mathews (2.4, 39.8)
2009-10 Denver Nuggets:
2008-09 Denver Nuggets:
- Chauncey Billups (2.1)
- J.R. Smith (2.2)*
2007-08 Phoenix Suns:
- Steve Nash (2.2, 47.0)
- Raja Bell (2.3, 40.1)
2006-07 Phoenix Suns:
- Steve Nash (2.1, 45.5)
- Raja Bell (2.6, 41.3)
1999-00 Seattle SuperSonics:
- Gary Payton (2.2, 34.0)
- Brent Barry (2.1, 41.1)
1996-97 Detroit Pistons
- Lindsey Hunter (2.0, 35.5)
- Joe Dumars (2.1, 43.2)
1996-97 Miami Heat:
- Tim Hardaway (2.5, 34.4)
- Voshon Leonard (2.5, 41.4)
1994-95 Philadelphia 76ers
- Dana Barros (2.4, 46.4)
- Willie Burton (2.0, 38.5)**
*Smith didn’t start either season – coming off the bench for Afflalo in 2009-10 and Dahntay Jones in 2008-09 – but he played more minutes per game than the starting shooting guard in both cases.
**Burton started just 31 games, but that was most of any 76ers shooting guard that season.
Not only did Curry and Thompson make more 3-pointers this season than any teammate duo in NBA history, they shot a combined 42.9 from beyond the arc (fourth among the above teams, behind the 07-08 Suns, 94-95 76ers and 06-07 Suns),
“Well, I humbling submit to you that I’ve seen Jerry West and Gail Goodrich and it’s no disrespect to them,” Jackson said. “I was a guy that’s not guessing. Those were two good shooters. I’m dealing with two great shooters. I’m talking about great.”
I never saw West and Goodrich, but considering how much better 3-point shooting has become since the arc was instituted, I find it difficult to believe they were the best. For a long time, players struggle to make jumpers when the incentive was three points. If you notice, no backcourts made the above list until 15 years after the NBA adopted the 3-pointer. Perhaps, in a different environment, West and Goodrich could have become the best shooting backcourt of all time, but there just wasn’t enough of a premium on outside shots when they played.
So back to Curry and Thompson. They lead by volume, but Nash and Bell lead by efficiency. Plus, Nash and Bell did it for multiple seasons.
Curry and Thompson are more likely than not to become “the greatest shooting backcourt in the history of the game,” but Nash and Bell still hold the title for now.
Sep 24, 2014, 12:30 AM EDT
Nash was limited to just 15 games last season.
Sep 23, 2014, 11:29 PM EDT
Cuban let Chandler leave in free agency in the summer following the Mavs’ lone NBA title.
Sep 23, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT
No deal yet, but training camp is less than a week away, so both sides are motivated to expedite the process.
Sep 23, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT
Memphis is the latest team to try to salvage the former second overall pick in the 2008 draft.
Sep 23, 2014, 7:32 PM EDT
Not bad, but very Hawks-like.
Sep 23, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT
Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose among the more intriguing names on the list.
Sep 23, 2014, 5:29 PM EDT
What is Ricky Rubio worth on the open market.
Sep 23, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT
It’s a play off what Seattle and Denver have done before.
Sep 23, 2014, 3:29 PM EDT
Danny Ainge has done a good job with keeping his options open.
Sep 23, 2014, 2:38 PM EDT
Adam Silver also says league isn’t looking into owners’ pasts
Sep 23, 2014, 2:02 PM EDT
Pierce signed for mid-level exception with Wizards
Sep 23, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT
James reportedly received guaranteed contract
Sep 23, 2014, 12:50 PM EDT
Not a lot of people will see the building from above, and it’s early in the process, but…. that’s not pretty.
Sep 23, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT
The many times Toronto and Kyle Lowry could have blown it with each other
Sep 23, 2014, 11:38 AM EDT
He’s already the best midrange shooter in the game.
Sep 23, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Heat guard getting style from fictional Miami serial killer
Sep 23, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
Pacers ready for season without Paul George, Lance Stephenson
Sep 23, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Lamb, after playing for Bucks and Magic, likely to fall out of NBA following training camp
Sep 23, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
Reed, previously a member of Kings and Grizzlies, in line to compete for roster spot
- Report: Suns, Eric Bledsoe have ‘made progress’ on a new contract in last couple of days 1
- Report: Michael Beasley reaches agreement with Memphis Grizzlies 5
- Report: NBA not actively investigating source of Luol Deng African comment 5
- ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Indiana Pacers 3
- Celtics owner: Rajon Rondo ‘super stubborn,’ harder than average to coach 19
- Bruce Bowen says blame for James Harden’s defense falls on McHale, Rockets 18
- NBA to review domestic violence policies in wake of NFL’s ugliness. It shouldn’t have taken that. 13
- Cavaliers lift ban on fan who ran onto court with LeBron James shirt 16