Two seasons removed from winning the NBA MVP award, Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors after failing to deliver a title in Oklahoma City. His arrival made the Warriors one of the most terrifying teams in the league, considering he joined right after the team had set a new record for wins in the NBA. The Warriors made the NBA Finals in all three seasons that Durant stayed, winning two championships, but is it fair to say that he is better than another all-time great?
Steph Curry had already won a championship before Durant showed up. Durant might have led them to two titles but it was Curry who was the fan-favorite since he was the team’s original draft pick. Comparing the two was a frequent discussion on sports networks, but we are here to end the debate. Curry will end up ranking higher than Durant by the time both are out of the league.
5. Making His Teammates Better
Before Durant showed up, Curry was playing with the likes of Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, and Ian Clark. The role players on the team made up one of the best benches in the league at the time. Even Klay Thompson became a better player. Put Thompson on any other team in the league and he will not play the same that he does when he plays with Curry. The two were made for each other and a lot of that has to do with Curry. Andrew Wiggins is having one of the best seasons on both sides of the ball. That is no coincidence.
Durant has always had players that don’t need him to make them better. Russell Westbrook and James Harden were in OKC. Curry, Thompson, and Green were in Golden State. Now, he has Kyrie Irving, Harden, Blake Griffin, and LaMarcus Aldridge in Brooklyn. Durant is a great player but he can’t rely on inexperienced players, nor can he help set those players up to help the team overall.
4. The Best Shooter In NBA History
Let’s compare the three major statistical shooting categories. Durant has the better career field goal percentage at 49.3% compared to Curry’s 47.6% but Curry has Durant beat on the other two categories. Curry’s three-point field goal percentage (43.3%) is better than Durant’s 38.2% and his free throw percentage (90.7%) is also better than Durant’s (88.2%).
Make no mistake that Durant’s field-goal and free throw percentage are both exceptional. It’s just that Curry’s numbers happen to be better.
3. Two MVP Awards Are More Than One
The 2015 season was a magical year when Curry won the MVP award and the championship, but his follow-up season was even more special. The 2016 season featured Curry leading the league in scoring, steals, and he entered the 50-40-90 club. Not to mention, he was a unanimous selection when he won the MVP.
Durant made the 50-40-90 club in 2013, which was the year before he won the MVP in 2014. One could also point to the four scoring titles Durant owns in comparison to Curry’s one. However, in the end, when counting the hardware, Curry has Durant beat, which means more considering the two have battled each other for the majority of their careers.
2. Three Championships Are More Than Two
This is one of those times we can be technical but it connects with the first point. Curry is a three-time NBA champion compared to Durant’s two rings. Even though Durant won two NBA Finals MVPs in comparison to Curry’s zero (Andre Iguodala won Finals MVP in 2015), Curry has a higher ring count.
Curry also has the better NBA Finals record too. In the NBA Finals, Curry is 3-2 over five appearances, while Durant is 2-2 in four appearances. Now if Brooklyn can win an NBA championship this season, then we can talk.
1. Stephen Curry Never Joined A Superteam
When Durant left the Thunder, the Warriors had won 73 games the previous season and set a new NBA record for wins in a season. The combination of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala proved to be a powerful force in the league. The Warriors were loveable because, before 2015, the team was just another first-round exit in the playoffs.
After Steve Kerr revolutionized the team, the Warriors won their first championship in 2015. Durant was close to winning a title with his own drafted setup. Remember, Curry, Thompson, and Green were all drafted products of Golden State, while Durant and Russell Westbrook were drafted products in OKC. Durant made the NBA Finals in 2012 before losing to the Heat and actually held a 3-1 lead over the Warriors in the Conference Finals in 2016 before losing three straight games. Curry didn’t need to join a stacked team to win a championship like Durant.