Skip to content

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

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson

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:

2009-10 Denver Nuggets:

2008-09 Denver Nuggets:

  • Chauncey Billups (2.1)
  • J.R. Smith (2.2)*

2007-08 Phoenix Suns:

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),

But what about backcourts before the NBA adopted the 3-pointer, like the Lakers’ Jerry West and Gail Goodrich? Via Kyle Bonagura

“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.

Latest Posts
  1. Arron Afflalo expected to play for Blazers in Game 3 vs. Grizzlies

    Apr 24, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Portland, down 0-2 to Memphis, needs all the help it can get.

  2. NBA, 20 teams launch apps for Apple Watch

    Apr 24, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    celtics-cavs

    NBA continues its technological push.

  3. PBT Extra: Great playoff series to come in later rounds

    Apr 24, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers

    Looking past the first round to some of the more exciting later matchups to come.

  4. Lakers to send Byron Scott to NBA Draft lottery

    Apr 24, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    He’s got to coach whoever they draft anyway, why not?

  5. Report: Thunder considering Ettore Messina for coach

    Apr 24, 2015, 2:33 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two Getty Images

    Spurs assistant coach achieved incredible success in Europe

  6. Gregg Popovich’s main adjustment: Hope his guys just shoot better

    Apr 24, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two Getty Images

    Despite the chess match going on, guys still have to just hit their looks.

  7. Why can’t the Pelicans foul in a timely manner?

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:15 AM EDT

    Monty Williams Monty Williams

    And I’m not just talking about allowing Stephen Curry’s game-tying 3-pointer

  8. Probable top-10 pick Mario Hezonja declares for NBA draft

    Apr 24, 2015, 10:33 AM EDT

    Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul v FC Barcelona - Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 Getty Images

    Is his scoring, size and athleticism worth the trouble? It won’t take long for an NBA team to say yes

  9. Derrick Rose scorches Bucks for 34 points (video)

    Apr 24, 2015, 9:50 AM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Milwaukee Bucks-Game Three Getty Images

    Bulls point guard looks good – very good

Featured video

Injuries not why Scott Brooks lost his job
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. C. Parsons (4398)
  2. D. Lee (3900)
  3. K. Durant (3835)
  4. D. Rose (3680)
  5. R. Rondo (3566)
  1. A. Afflalo (3564)
  2. T. Splitter (3561)
  3. D. Harris (3520)
  4. P. George (3497)
  5. K. Bryant (3465)