Steve Nash is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, with four 50-40-90 seasons (field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, free throw percentage) on his resume. He’s also one of the biggest basketball influences for MVP Stephen Curry, who seems to be breaking shooting records by the minute. We’ve never quite seen a shooter like Curry, but stylistically Nash is the most similar. The future Hall of Famer had a great deal of praise for Curry when asked by Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher to put his greatness into perspective:
“The only pause I have is from fear of being ignorant,” he said. “Am I missing someone? Does he need to play longer or do it longer? Does he have to do it in the playoffs more years? But my first reaction is, ‘Why not?’ He’s as good as anyone I can think of on every level—pure shooting, array of shots, percentage, getting hot, plays to the end—he checks all the boxes.”
“Steph takes it to another level,” Nash said. “I was able to do it going left and right, and we can both do it at speed, but I was always trying to get to the three-point line. He can do it from deeper and, frankly, I never took a step-back. He has no trouble taking a step-back and making it. You add that to all the other shots. It could be a clincher in this game of deciding who’s the best.”
“Consistency,” Nash said. “Can someone consistently make shots, night in and night out, year after year? That’s the true mark of a player. You could break it down a lot of ways, but that’s the bottom line. How rare are off nights? There are certain guys, they shoot the ball, you always think it’s going in. Steph is able to seamlessly get his feet down, gather his weight between his feet and go up in the air and shoot it in rhythm as if he’d just been standing there, caught it and shot it.
“Truly, from the eye test, he’s the greatest there’s ever been.”
Nash also pointed out that Curry will likely have a lower field goal percentage than him forever, but didn’t think that was a problem. Nash’s mentality was always different — he wanted to get his teammates involved first, while his coaches often begged him to be more selfish. Perhaps Nash would have shot more often if he entered the league 15 years later with the same skill set, but maybe that just never would have been his nature.
Curry has spoken about Nash paving the way for him many times, and he knows their games have been compared for years. You can be sure that he’ll appreciate this particular compliment from this particular source.