Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 at 3:45 pm  |  30 responses

Top 50: Stephen Curry, no. 47

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Bryan Crawford / @_BryanCrawford

Stephen Curry isn’t one of those NBA players who you have a love/hate relationship with. People either love or hate LeBron James. They either love or hate Russell Westbrook, or Carmelo Anthony. But with Steph, it’s just different.

Nobody hates him. Most people like him. But very few love him.

Since entering the League as the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Curry has been quietly putting up good numbers on what has been a historically bad Golden State Warriors team. As one of the best pure shooters in the NBA, he has career averages of 17.5 points and 5.8 assists while shooting 47 percent from the field, 44 percent from the three-point line and 90 percent from the free-throw line—numbers that most players, especially guards, only dream of putting up.

So how does a guy with stats like that not get more “mainstream” love?

Well, for starters, he has often overshadowed by his former teammate, Monta Ellis, who famously said the two couldn’t play together, and then went out and proved it. The Ellis/Curry backcourt won just 26 games in Steph’s rookie season, and 36 games in his sophomore campaign.

Halfway into Curry’s lockout-shortened third season, the team was 17-20 before Monta was shipped off to Milwaukee, making the Ellis/Brandon Jennings pairing the “new” worst backcourt in the NBA.

And if advanced stats are your thing, all of this futility in Oakland occurred with Ellis compiling usage rates of 29.4, 28.1 and an astonishing 30.7, respectively. Those numbers make Curry’s usage rates of 21.8, 24.4 and 24.0 seem modest.

Then there was the recurring right ankle injury that caused Steph to miss 40 games last season. He began having issues the season prior and had surgery to fix it in May of 2011. But the ankle continued to be a problem and 26 games into the season, he was done. Shut down. Whispers of him being “injury prone” started floating about and folks began writing him off as a result.

Curry underwent a second surgery in April that was more exploratory than anything else. After a summer of rehab and working out, Stephen Curry is back, he has a clean bill of health, and with Monta Ellis gone, the Golden State Warriors are his team now.

How far he’ll be able to lead them is anyone’s guess, especially in a competitive Western Conference. But Steph’s deadly long-range shooting, his ever-improving point guard skills, and young teammates in Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, should make the Warriors a League Pass “must see” on many nights this season.

Where should Stephen Curry rank in the SLAMonline Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2012
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Greg Monroe Pistons C 8
49 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 14
48 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 13
47 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 12

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’12-13 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jake Appleman, Maurice Bobb, Rodger Bohn, Brendan Bowers, Franklyn Calle, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Adam Figman, Eldon Khorshidi, Eddie Maisonet III, Ryne Nelson, Ben Osborne, Allen Powell II, Sam Rubenstein, Jonathan Santiago, Abe Schwadron, Leo Sepkowitz, Dave Spahn, Ben Taylor, Tzvi Twersky, Peter Walsh, Tracy Weissenberg, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Dave Zirin.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    damn ankles.

  • LakeShow

    He’ll out perform this ranking if he plays 70+ games this season.

  • Max

    Tell me about it, a doctor told me I should quit balling last year..

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    Stephen Curry is definitely one of those players who makes you wonder what if injuries never hindered him. I’ve been trying to root for kid for awhile. Kid neeeds to stay healthy..

  • Junior Taylor

    This cat has a chance to put up Nash-like numbers (not as much assists but similar numbers across the boards) if he ever stays 100% healthy for an entire season.

  • Junior Taylor

    Is there a backcourt that can shoot better than GS? Curry, KThompson and throw Barnes in there (even though he’s a 3).

  • Datkid


  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    Does Nash and Kobe count? What about Deron and Joe Johnson?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    don’t forget Kemba Walker and Ben Gordon

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    no there isn’t.

  • LakeShow

    No… Not from a FG% stand point. Those guys are all efficient scorers.
    Williams/ Johnson
    Those duos just don’t score at the high % rate those guys in GS do.
    Which is so interesting, because FG% is so high on so many peoples lists, but this duo is obviously not as good as the other two I mentioned..

  • LakeShow

    Sorry to hear that dude.
    It’s like a cow put out to pasture…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    that does suck. doctor told i can keep playing, just that if i do anything else to my left ankle it will likely take an extremely long amount of time to recover after all i’ve put it through.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    none of them shoot the ball better than Curry and Thompson. Curry and Thompson are top 10 shooters in the whole league regardless of position.

  • Pops

    You mean Nash-like shooting numbers? 50-40-90

  • http://www.facebook.com/sajjatam Sajjatam Tp Kulsomboon

    Every time someone mentions Stephen Curry, I feel a pain in my ankle. I just hope he can stay healthy because his shooting is so much fun to watch.


    best player in the nba!

  • nick

    This is golden states year to show their comp. Lets pray for those fragile ankles!!!

  • spit hot fiyah

    major if

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    One reason they are more efficient is probably due to the fact that Curry and those guys are more natural shooters while the later duos are scorers.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    Yea my ankle was shot till I had surgery and repaired tendons got bones fragments removed and I’m great now hell even better. You should look into that fam.

  • The Fury

    If he plays the complete 82-regular season game. Hell freezes over (Old school SLAM reference)..lol.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    This is EXACTLY where I had him. Wonder how many times that will happen on this list.

  • Max

    My problem is that when I was a little kid, pieces of my ankle have broken off, never had any problems with that, never felt pain in my ankle, till last year when I was 16 I severly sprained it and now it hurts every 15 minutes while playing ball, and the whole day after it. There’s nothing I really can do about it.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    I kind of had the same thing but they were able to clear out the bone debris and they actually snipped my tendon wrapped it around my whole damn foot and *poof* I have a lighter weight in my foot and an arch lol

  • Max

    Mmh, I’ll have to go to the US if the season is done I see.. :)

  • Showtime

    Nope , there deadly on 2k13 as well

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    Steph will be a force in this league. This ranking is the lowest he will be until he retires, mark my words.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenkellyjunior Kenny Kelly

    Klay played in 66 games at 24mpg! I wouldn’t say he’s one of the top 10 shooters in the NBA just yet.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i hate to break it to you, but shooting and playing time aren’t related. Some of the best shooters on earth don’t get off the bench.
    Steve Novak (11.5MPG for his career) being a glaring example.