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Stephen Curry vs. Allen Iverson Career Highs Comparison

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Stephen Curry vs. Allen Iverson Career Highs Comparison

Stephen Curry and Allen Iverson are two of the most unique basketball players to ever step foot in the NBA. With both players falling under the height of 6’4 (Curry at 6’3 and Iverson at 6’0), they both had to adapt and elevate their respective games to the next level. They both did that and then some, becoming 2 of the most influential players to ever play the sport.

Again, standing at just 6’0, Iverson had to create different ways to score at the rate he did than fans were used to seeing. He electrified audiences nightly with his elite ball handling, confusing defenders and leaving them in the dust on his way to the basket. He was dangerous with the ball in his hands as anyone in the league but equally dangerous without. Patenting the move called “The Iverson Cut”, Iverson would rid his defender through two screens and receive the pass with options to shoot, facilitate or make his move to the hoop. Using these tools, he became one of the best scorers of the 2000s.

Speaking of off-ball movement, Stephen Curry is probably the greatest to ever do it without the ball in his hands. He also happens to be the greatest shooter in the history of the game and it is with those two skills combined that he has changed the game itself, forever. Unlimited shooting range, impeccable movement, and an unrelenting desire to win have defined Curry’s career thus far coming off of perhaps his most impressive Finals performance yet in 2022.

Today, we take a look at both of these players' best single-game statistical achievements and compare their career-highs. By no means does this determine who the better player is, but is an enjoyable matchup. Let’s get into it.


Points

Stephen Curry - 62 Points (Trail Blazers vs. Warriors, January 3, 2021)

Allen Iverson - 60 Points (Sixers vs. Magic, February 12, 2005)

Stephen Curry had his greatest regular-season scoring performance of his career just a little over a year ago. On an eerie night in the Chase Center due to Covid regulations, Stephen had one of his greatest nights in front of only 100 people or so. Stephen came out on fire, exploding for 22 points in the first half and 31 in the first half total.

He again went for 31 in the 2nd half, making him the 1st player to score 30 points or more in each half of a game since Kobe’s 81-point performance. This game saw Stephen set a career-high in free-throw attempts with 18 as well. He shot 18-31 overall from the field in the contest and 8-16 from beyond the arc. Amid criticism from fans and media about his slow start to the season in 2021, Stephen joked with the media afterward, “Cue the Jordan meme, right? I take all that personally”.

Iverson’s 60-point performance also came in front of his home crowd, this time the arena was full, on a night in 2005 against the Orlando Magic. Allen Iverson has always been criticized for the number of shots he takes compared to how often he made them. On this night, Iverson did it all. He went 18-34 from the field overall and did so much more than that with the ball.

This was the season that Head Coach Jim O’Brien moved Iverson from the two-guard to the point. Quickly it was revealed as a good decision. On this night, Iverson also led his team in assists with 6, 5 steals, and 24 made attempts from the free-throw line. Iverson also turned the ball over 3 times this game which is great considering how much he had to handle the ball. As a result of the position switch, Iverson went on to lead the league in both scoring and steals in the 2005 season.

Advantage: Stephen Curry


Rebounds

Stephen Curry - 14 Rebounds (Warriors vs. Kings, December 28, 2015)

Allen Iverson - 11 Rebounds (Sixers vs. Warriors, March 30, 2001)

Stephen Curry’s rebounding has improved virtually every season of his career and on this night against the Kings in 2015, it peaked. Once Curry changed the game with his shooting, guards and their rebounding numbers went up with it. With teams bigs more focused on getting back on defense and slowing down transition offenses, guards have been left to fight for rebounds more than ever before. Hence the reason for 14 rebounds from Curry in 2015, all on the defensive side of the ball. He finished the game with a triple-double as well recording 23 points and 10 assists as well.

Iverson’s 11 rebounds came in a blowout 23-point victory over the Warriors. Iverson has recorded a 10-rebound game 7 other times in his career, but this was the one that he grabbed that extra board. During his MVP season, Iverson began to do so much more on the court than just score and this was one of those times. He finished the game with 35 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists, falling just shy of a triple-double.

Advantage: Stephen Curry


Assists

Stephen Curry - 16 (Warriors vs. Suns, December 27, 2013), (Warriors vs. Jazz, April 6, 2014)

Allen Iverson - 16 (Sixers vs. Cavaliers, April 8, 2005), (Sixers vs. Heat, April 14, 2005)

Stephen Curry and Allen Iverson both get underrated when it comes to their playmaking skills, especially when it comes to passing the ball. Both are widely regarded as shoot-first, score-first players when the fact is they can dish the rock. The first time Curry accomplished his 16 assists in a game mark, he had an abysmal night shooting the ball. Leave it to Stephen to put his stamp on the game in other ways. He shot 5-17 from the field and connected on just 1 FG from beyond the arc. He still managed to record a triple-double in a 29-point victory over The Suns. The second time he did it in 2014, He was much more successful offensively, going for 31 points in another blowout victory.

Iverson recorded his 16 assist games within 6 days of each other. The career performances both came in clutch and close victories over the Cavaliers and Heat. First, on April 8th of 2005, Iverson had a rough shooting night, shooting for just 30.0% from the field and scoring 23 points. The Sixers were still able to squeak out a 5-point victory over the Cavs. Six days later against the Heat, Iverson was back at it again. This time he found himself locked in a back-and-forth battle with Dwyane Wade. Wade would finish with 48 points but Iverson and the Sixers would have the last laugh as Iverson poured in 38 points and recorded 6 rebounds to go along with his 16 dimes. The Sixers won by 7.

Advantage - Even


Steals

Stephen Curry - 7 (Warriors vs. Timberwolves, April 7, 2010), (Warriors vs. Clippers, December 7, 2016)

Allen Iverson - 9 (Sixers vs. Magic, March 19, 2000), (Sixers vs. Lakers, December 20, 2002)

There is no denying that despite popular belief, both of these guards are disruptive defenders on the perimeter. Iverson led the league in steals 3 straight seasons from 2001 to 2003 and averaged 2.2 SPG for his career. Stephen also won himself a steals title in 2016 and averages 1.7 SPG for his career. Curry thrives in a system off the ball defensively with the disruption caused by on-ball pressure by guys like Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Stephen’s abilities to disrupt passing lanes and get to the spots he knows the ball is going go heavily unnoticed.

Iverson’s first 9-steal game came in the year 2000, again against the Magic whom he also would score his career-high 60 points. Iverson had a horrid shooting night, only able to tally 18 points, but his defense was vital in an 89-85 squeaker. His last 9-steal game came in 2002 against the Lakers, whom he had just been defeated by in the 2001 NBA Finals. Iverson shot just 33.3 % from the field in the game but scored 32 points to go with his 9 steals and the Sixers got somewhat revenge on LA in a 107-104 victory.

Advantage: Allen Iverson


Blocks

Stephen Curry - 2 (Recorded 29 times, Last Recorded Warriors vs Kings, December 20, 2021)

Allen Iverson - 3 (Warriors vs. Bulls, April 17, 1998)

It should come as no shock that the career-highs for both of these men in blocks are so low. As mentioned a few times, both are smaller guards who have zero presence on the interior defensively. Curry has recorded 2 blocks 29 different times in his career. Most of his blocks have come on close-out tipped shots from the outside and every once in a while, a block as a help defender on a floater or lay-up.

As for Iverson, he recorded 3 blocks way back in 1998, just his second season in the league. He would never match that total again. Much like Curry, Iverson’s blocks came on close-out defense on perimeter shots. There have been a few instances of blocks from behind on jumpers or help defense as well. In this particular game against the Bulls, the Sixers lost to MJ and Chicago by a score of 87-80.

Advantage: Allen Iverson


3-Pointers Made

Stephen Curry - 13 (Warriors vs. Pelicans, November 7, 2016)

Allen Iverson - 6 (Sixers vs. Rockets, December 7, 1996), (Sixers vs. Bulls, April 7, 1997), (Sixers vs. Wizards, April 14, 1997)

As the greatest shooter of all time, you would almost think Curry has hit more than 13 three-pointers in a game. 13 is just one off the NBA record that his teammate Klay Thompson holds. That is just how good Stephen is, though. No matter how great the numbers are, they still don’t seem to be enough to tell the story. 2016 was an MVP season for Curry and it was on full display against New Orleans. Curry went crazy, shooting 13-17 from 3 and finishing with 46 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.

As for Iverson, he was never considered much of a 3-point shooter, but that didn’t stop him from trying. Iverson hit 6 3-pointers in a game three different times in his career, yet all of them came within his 1st 2 seasons in the league. In all 3 games, Iverson went off for 35 or more points but his team lost all 3 games in blowout fashion. I don’t think there is any correlation between the losses and Iverson’s shot attempts from beyond the arc but it is interesting nonetheless.

Advantage: Stephen Curry


Field Goals Made

Stephen Curry - 20 (Warriors vs. Magic, February 20, 2016)

Allen Iverson - 21 (Sixers vs. Rockets, January 15, 2002)

Yet another iconic moment from Stephen during his 2016 NBA season came in February of that year. Curry went into Orlando and staked his claim as one of the best to ever do it. Stephen shot an absurdly efficient 20-27 from the field in the victory, going 10-15 from beyond the arc. The Warriors would cruise to a 130-116 victory with none of Stephen’s teammates finishing with over 14 points in the contest.

Iverson’s career-high in field goals made was one of the most impressive games of his career. Iverson attempted a career-high 42 shots against the Rockets but nailed them at a 50% clip. He attempted just 3 shots from three-point range and went 14-14 from the free-throw line as well. Iverson would finish with 58 points and 6 assists in the 112-106 victory over Houston.

Advantage: Allen Iverson


Free Throws Made

Stephen Curry - 18 (Warriors vs. Trail Blazers, January 3, 2021)

Allen Iverson - 24 (Sixers vs. Magic, February 12, 2005)

Both Allen Iverson and Stephen Curry made the most amount of free throws in their career during their career-high scoring game. Curry’s 62-point explosion against the Magic in 2021 had it all from Stephen as he got to the line 19 times and hit 18 of his attempts. Curry’s creativity and movement are what get him to the line so often where he shoots 90.8% for his career. His movement is so steady and erratic that the defender doesn’t have a chance to understand when Stephen is gonna catch and shoot or fake and drive. This causes a reaching moment that quickly turns into a teaching moment.

Iverson’s 60-point outburst in 2005 against the Magic came with Iverson getting to the line 27 times and hitting 24 of his attempts. Iverson was so skilled at getting to the line just as he was scoring altogether. Defenders could not stick with him 1v1, forcing reaching fouls or trailing fouls in the middle of a finish or jumper. Iverson’s shot creation forced many trips to the foul line as well, as he forced opponents to make the tough decision to press him or lay back as he tried to make a move. For his career, Iverson shot 78% from the free-throw line, making this night and his 60 points an exceptionally special occasion.

Advantage: Allen Iverson


Turnovers

Stephen Curry - 11 (Warriors vs. Clippers, October 31, 2013)

Allen Iverson - 12 ( Sixers vs. Warriors, March 8, 2005)

At the rate at which Stephen Curry and Allen Iverson have the offense run through their hands, double-digit turnover games are bound to happen at some point. Everyone has a bad night. Unsurprisingly, both players’ bad nights led to losses for each of their teams. Stephen’s career-high in turnovers came back in 2013 in a matchup with the Lob City Clippers. Curry had another spectacular performance with 38 points on over 60% shooting and 9-14 from downtown. The Warriors were down late though and Curry was trying to do everything he could to escape with the win. In forcing the issue one too many times, Curry committed costly turnovers late as the Clippers pulled away, 126-115. Curry has had just 1 double-digit turnover game since.

Allen Iverson’s career-high in turnovers came in a loss as well but this time it was a little less close than Curry’s. When adding context, no one can put the blame solely on Iverson’s shoulders, though. Iverson did everything he could to keep his team in the game, scoring 33 points and dishing out 5 assists. His teammates could not get it going at all with Iverson’s highest-scoring teammate being Kyle Korver with 13 points. The Sixers were only down 9 heading into the fourth but between poor shooting and Allen Iverson trying to do everything himself, The Warriors ended up winning 104-85.

Advantage: Stephen Curry


Allen Iverson Is An All-Time Great, But Stephen Curry Is On Another Level

If we were to simply go off of their career-highs, this debate would be much closer than it is from the outside looking in. When comparing two of the greatest talents to ever step foot in the NBA, can be a highly debated and hot topic. Of course, Allen Iverson should be recognized and revered for his accomplishments and abilities throughout the years. An MVP, scoring titles, steals titles, all-star appearances, and one of the most remarkable playoff runs in recent memory all define Allen Iverson’s career. Just like Curry, he inspired a generation of kids to pick up a basketball for the first time. There is no doubt Iverson’s Hall Of Fame stature is warranted, but Curry is just on another level.

This is not an insult to Iverson, his fans, or the sport itself. It is more of a testament to just how special and generational Stephen is. Curry not only inspired kids to play, but he also changed the way the entire game is played. Once frowned upon and called not conducive to winning, Stephen revolutionized the use of the 3-point shot. Now, every organization desperately waits every year for the emergence of the next Stephen Curry to carry their team to the promised land. Not conducive to winning? All Curry has to show for it is 4 championships, 2 MVPs (one unanimous), and finally the elusive Finals MVP in 2022. Both players are special and represent the game tremendously, but there is only one Stephen Curry.

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