In comments made Thursday at a Philadelphia 76ers event held at the famed Palestra arena, Iverson had this to say (via Sixers.com reporter Brian Seltzer) about Curry:
“He’s incredible. He’s different. He’s different. He’s something we’ve never seen. We’ve never seen this. It’s crazy to me, like just me being the biggest Michael Jordan fan, to see somebody come around like this. I have my idea of being incredible, you know what I mean? But this dude right here, like it’s different.“It’s a whole different monster, as far as his handle and the way he shoots? Come on. You know you ain’t never seen nothing like this.”
Hmmm, Steph “A Whole Different Monster” Curry — that kind of has a ring to it. And Iverson is right, in that Curry’s combination of long-range marksmanship and ball-handling ability is unprecedented, and it makes the reigning MVP a nearly unstoppable force.
For his part, Iverson could beat anyone off the dribble — who could forget the time he dusted Jordan with a crossover? — but he was known as a volume shooter, and not at all an efficient one. Curry has a notably better career field-goal percentage than Iverson (.477 to .425) and a vastly better one from three-point range (.444 to .313).
Iverson’s career player efficiency rating (as measured by Basketball Reference) was a more-than-respectable 20.9, and he peaked at 25.9 in 2005-06. Meanwhile, Curry is at 23.0 for his career, and if he keeps up his mark this season of 32.2, he will notch the highest PER ever recorded (Wilt Chamberlain currently holds that record with a 31.82 in 1962-63).
Of course, Iverson was never surrounded by the kind of supporting cast that Curry enjoys in Golden State, but teammates can’t really help anyone make 30-footers, which the Warriors guard does with outrageous regularity. At Thursday’s event, another 76ers great, Julius Erving, spoke to Curry’s place in the modern NBA.
“I think that’s a great team, and I think that’s a reflection of the evolution of the game,” Erving said (via NBA.com). “It’s so interesting when they talk about creating a simulator to duplicate what Steph Curry has done on the court, and the simulator can’t measure up, because it just doesn’t look real. But that’s what he’s been doing on the court, things that really don’t look real to the normal eye. You have to give him kudos for that.”
Good to know that, for all the Oscar Robertsons and Walt Fraziers shaking their fists at how today’s NBA lets Curry excel in ways he would supposedly never be allowed to in their time, there’s a Dr. J around to simply give a great player his due. It’s not like every NBA player these days is doing what Curry is doing; in fact, it’s just him.
Or, as Iverson put it, the Golden State star is “a whole different monster.” Leave it to “The Answer” to cross up those who would question Curry’s unique skill set.