Even before Steph Curry broke the all-time three-point record, he has solidified his status as one of the greatest players to ever play in the NBA. Curry’s legacy includes two MVPs, one of which was unanimous, the all-time three-point mark, three championships, and other accolades that round out a Hall of Fame resume.
Curry belongs in the conversation as a top-5 player for this year. When it comes to competing against other superstars, there are only a select few that have outplayed Curry at the same game. When looking at the stats, Curry has boasted some impressive numbers, including an impressive win rate, against some of the league’s top players.
These are Curry’s numbers against the best players in the NBA.
Kawhi Leonard - 32 Games, 12-20 (37.5%)
Regular Season: 23.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 6.9 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 44.9 FG%, 37.2 3-PT% (7-12)
Playoffs: 27.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 42.1 FG%, 35.8 3-PT% (5-8)
Leonard is one of three players with a winning record against Curry. He is also the only player to own a winning record during the regular season and in the playoffs. For starters, Leonard was able to rack up some wins with Tim Duncan and the Spurs from 2012 to 2014 when the team was contending for a championship. Even after that, the Spurs were a force with Leonard leading them, which is why Curry has only beaten him seven times.
In the playoffs, Leonard has played against Curry as a member of the Spurs two times. The first time was in 2013 when the Spurs won the second round. In 2017, Leonard played one game in the Conference Finals before suffering an injury that helped lead to his exit in San Antonio. His other time came in the NBA Finals with Toronto, where he led the Raptors to a championship over the Warriors, who had made the Finals for a fifth straight season.
Kobe Bryant - 15 Games, 6-9 (40.0%)
Regular Season: 22.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 44.6 FG%, 38.4 3-PT% (6-9)
You have to remember that Curry was drafted in 2009, which was when Bryant was at his peak. The 2009-2010 season was a championship season for the Lakers, where Bryant won his second straight Finals MVP. Then, the Lakers were fairly dangerous the following two to three years. After that, the Lakers began to fall apart, but the Warriors aren't anything close to being a championship contender from 2010 to 2014.
During those years, it gave Bryant plenty of time to pad his record against Curry. The two never met in the playoffs, so their 15 games during the regular season are the only sample size we have. Even if the two did meet in the playoffs, it could have gone either way depending on the year and the team on the court.
Kevin Durant - 33 Games, 14-19 (42.4%)
Regular Season: 25.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.9 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 50.1 FG%, 43.6 3-PT% (10-16)
Playoffs: 27.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.9 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 44.3 FG%, 41.6 3-PT % (4-3)
During the regular season, Curry makes half of his shots against Durant. In 33 games, Curry is likely to make a shot right after he misses one. Durant, who is heralded as one of the best scorers of all time, and Curry, are a back-and-forth offensive matchup that is a must-see event every time it is on the television. With that said, Durant has gotten the best of Curry during the regular season by winning 16 of the 26 games.
In the playoffs, Curry owns the one-series win. Durant was on the same team as Westbrook when the Thunder lost in seven games. Looking ahead, a Warriors and Nets Finals would be just. It would finally settle the score too. When Durant won the Finals MVP in 2017 and 2018, many believed that those were Curry’s teams and not Durant’s. If this matchup happens in the Finals, who will come out on top?
Russell Westbrook - 40 Games, 20-20 (50%)
Regular Season: 24.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 46.6 FG%, 40.3 3-PT% (16-17)
Playoffs: 27.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.9 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 44.3 FG%, 41.6 3-PT % (4-3)
Say what you want about Russell Westbrook, but he always came to play. It’s a shame that Durant didn’t stay in OKC for just a few more years because the tandem might have been able to push past the Warriors in 2017 and 2018 had he stayed. In the end, Westbrook kept the Thunder competitive. Even when he left, he still has given the Warriors a run for their money, which is why he owns a winning record against Curry in the regular season.
In the playoffs, Curry owns the one-series win. When the Warriors won 73 games in 2016, it was the Thunder that had the Warriors on the ropes in the Conference Finals. The team was up 3-1 but famously lost three straight to lose out on the NBA Finals. Then, Durant left the team and Westbrook won an MVP the following year. Still, Curry did some serious damage himself.
James Harden - 53 Games, 29-24 (54.7%)
Regular Season: 24.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 50.3 FG%, 42.3 3-PT% (15-18)
Playoffs: 25.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 46.0 FG%, 37.3 3-PT% (14-6)
When Harden played for the Rockets, the Warriors and Houston had a very underrated rivalry. Many of us look to Curry’s postseason success against Harden, but “The Beard” kept it competitive in the regular season. Harden owns a winning record against Curry during that time. In the playoffs, Harden is outscoring Curry by 4.2 points.
However, Curry will be remembered as the victor over Harden for his success in the postseason. There were two occasions in the Conference Finals that Harden could have taken down Curry, but the Warriors moved past the Rockets to make the NBA Finals. Harden has never won a championship and hasn’t made the NBA Finals since playing with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in 2012.
Chris Paul - 53 Games, 30-23 (56.6%)
Regular Season: 21.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 44.3 FG%, 40.8 3-PT% (21-14)
Playoffs: 23.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 43.3 FG%, 32.7 3-PT% (9-9)
Paul owns the reputation as an exceptional defender, which is why it should not come as a surprise that some of Curry’s lowest per game totals are against teams led by CP3. Paul has been bested by Curry though in the regular season. Most of those meetings came when Paul was a member of the Clippers and Rockets.
In the playoffs, the two have fought evenly. Technically, Curry gets the tiebreaker because it was a Curry-led squad that made it past Paul and the Rockets in 2018 in Game 7. The 101-92 win over Houston gave Curry his fourth straight appearance in the Finals and it came at the expense of Paul and James Harden.
Kyrie Irving - 28 Games, 16-12 (57.1%)
Regular Season: 23.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 6.5 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 46.3 FG%, 40.4 3-PT% (8-7)
Playoffs: 24.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 42.6 FG%, 39.3 3-PT% (8-5)
Like LeBron, Irving and Curry met the majority of their early meetings when Irving played for the Cavaliers. With LeBron, Irving, and Kevin Love, the Cleveland and Golden State rivalry was a heated and competitive one. That is why Curry owns a very slim margin over Irving for now. If Irving comes back to Brooklyn, we could see that change in the future.
As for the playoffs, Curry and Irving played against each other three times. Irving left the Cavaliers after the 2017 season to join the Celtics due to growing issues in his relationship with LeBron. Irving’s clutch three-pointer in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals will go down as one of the greatest shots in sports history, so in the end, take what you would rather have.
LeBron James - 40 Games, 23-17 (57.5%)
Regular Season: 21.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 6.7 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 44.6 FG%, 41.3 3-PT% (8-9)
Playoffs: 25.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 42.2 FG%, 39.7 3-PT% (15-7)
Curry and LeBron are going to be coming up on their 50th game with each other soon. Once the Lakers and Warriors play again, it will mark the 50th meeting between the two superstars. During the regular season, LeBron has kept things close. When LeBron played for the Heat in Curry’s early beginnings, he was the supreme victor, but the score has been evenly matched since he played in Cleveland and now Los Angeles.In the playoffs,
Curry owned LeBron on three out of four occasions. The fourth occasion was seven games in the NBA Finals, which is where the two players met for the fourth straight year. Outside of the four losses during the 2016 championship season by the Cavaliers, Curry lost only three times to LeBron in the Finals.
Nikola Jokic - 18 Games, 12-6 (66.7%)
Regular Season: 26.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 49.7 FG%, 43.5 3-PT% (12-5)
Jokic didn’t start playing like an MVP candidate until about four years ago and he came into the league in 2014. By around that time, Curry’s Warriors were forming dynasty status, which gave the Warriors the early lead in the head-to-head matchups. Then, Jokic turned into an All-Star and the Warriors continued to take down Jokic’s Nuggets. Curry makes half of his shots against three of the players on this list in Durant, Harden, and Jokic.
The Nuggets and Warriors have never met in the playoffs. If the playoffs began today, the two teams could meet in the second round. By that time, Jamal Murray should be back, but the Nuggets would be missing Michael Porter Jr. In this hypothetical, Curry would probably take care of the Nuggets easily.
Giannis Antetokounmpo - 11 Games, 8-3 (72.7%)
Regular Season: 21.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 44.1 FG%, 35.8 3-PT% (8-3)
The defending NBA champions have a top-5 player on their team but simply cannot find a way to get past the Warriors. The Bucks have struggled against the Warriors since Giannis came into the league, winning only three of 11 matchups. With that said, Curry has one of his lowest points per game totals when playing the Bucks, so the team defense is on point. Known for outside shooting, Curry shoots his worst three-point shooting percentage when playing the Bucks. head-to-head
As for the playoffs, the only way the two teams would meet is if they played in the NBA Finals. The Bucks are a contender to make it out of the Eastern Conference, while the Warriors are a favorite in the West. The Bucks are looking to defend their title. If they are given that chance against the Warriors, could Milwaukee defend it against one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history?
Damian Lillard - 34 Games, 26-8 (76.4%)
Regular Season: 31.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 49.1 FG%, 45.3 3-PT% (16-8)
Playoffs: 33.4 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 47.0 FG%, 41.4 3-PT% (10-0)
While Anthony Davis is the biggest victim to Curry as a whole, Damian Lillard is the biggest victim in the playoffs. In 10 games, Lillard has never defeated Curry in a postseason matchup. Let’s start in 2016 when Curry played in just two games in the second round of the playoffs due to injury. Curry scored 40 and 29 points in both contested games. The two teams met again in 2017 where the Warriors swept the Trail Blazers in four games, where Curry outscored Lillard three of the four times.
The last time the two players met was the 2019 Conference Finals where the Warriors also swept Portland. Curry scored points totals of 36, 37, 36, and 37 during those games. Lillard scored 19 points in two separate games alone. If there was ever a doubt of which player was better, the stats are here to prove that Curry is supreme.
Anthony Davis - 29 Games, 26-3 (89.7%)
Regular Season: 28.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 7.2 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 46.7 FG%, 45.8 3-PT% (19-1)
Playoffs: 29.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 46.3 FG%, 42.7 3-PT%) (7-1)
No player on this list has suffered against Curry like Anthony Davis. For starters, Davis has lost 19 of 20 games played against Curry in the regular season. Curry also nearly averaged 30 points when he plays against teams with Davis on them. With that said, much of Curry’s damage has come when he played in New Orleans. When the Lakers won in 2020, Curry was hurt most of that year, so Curry has played against the Lakers during the regular season two times with the tandem of AD and LeBron.
Even with that notion, Curry destroyed the Pelicans. Curry did that on two separate occasions in the playoffs as well, including a four-game sweep. Even if the Lakers played the Lakers right now with AD, LeBron, and Westbrook, the way the Lakers are playing, there’s no reason to believe that Curry’s reign would stop now.