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.
Apr 25, 2015, 1:28 AM EDT
Leonard was fantastic at both ends of the court.
Apr 25, 2015, 12:18 AM EDT
The Wizards are moving on. That’s the Truth.
Apr 24, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT
Dwight Howard grabbed 26 rebounds, too.
Apr 24, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT
Portland, down 0-2 to Memphis, needs all the help it can get.
Apr 24, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT
NBA continues its technological push.
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Parker is going to finish his degree at Duke.
Apr 24, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT
The Warriors eventually won in overtime regardless.
Apr 24, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT
Looking past the first round to some of the more exciting later matchups to come.
Apr 24, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT
The long-running rift continues.
Apr 24, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT
He’s got to coach whoever they draft anyway, why not?
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Apr 24, 2015, 2:33 PM EDT
Spurs assistant coach achieved incredible success in Europe
Apr 24, 2015, 1:55 PM EDT
Which is ridiculous
Apr 24, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT
Despite the chess match going on, guys still have to just hit their looks.
Apr 24, 2015, 12:31 PM EDT
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Apr 24, 2015, 11:52 AM EDT
Johnson a borderline top-10 prospect
Apr 24, 2015, 11:15 AM EDT
And I’m not just talking about allowing Stephen Curry’s game-tying 3-pointer
Apr 24, 2015, 10:33 AM EDT
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Apr 24, 2015, 9:50 AM EDT
Bulls point guard looks good – very good
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- The Truth (and Marcin Gortat) will set Washington free, up 3-0 on Toronto after win 1
- James Harden scores 42 points to lead Rockets to Game 3 win, 3-0 series lead over Mavericks 14
- Why can’t the Pelicans foul in a timely manner? 7
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- Bulls pull away in double-overtime to take 3-0 lead over Bucks 10