Warriors

Warriors' Steph Curry ranked No. 31 player in NBA five years from now

Warriors' Steph Curry ranked No. 31 player in NBA five years from now

Steph Curry has been one of the best players in the NBA for more than half a decade now. 

He's the only player in league history to be named unanimous MVP, has been an All-Star six years in a row,and has posted the three highest scoring averages of his career outside of that unanimous MVP season in each of the last three years, with the numbers increasing each year.

Curry. LeBron James. Kevin Durant. Kawhi Leonard. James Harden. Anthony Davis. Giannis Antetokounmpo. If you were to ask a random person off the street to rank the top five players in the game today, chances are they would all come from that list of names.

But what about the best players in the game five years from now? Will Curry maintain his lofty place among the top NBA superstars?

This week, the NBA team at NBC Sports has been counting down its list of who it projects to be the 50 best players in the NBA five years from now in the summer of 2024. Age, potential, injury history and other factors all were taken into account, and the projections have Curry lower than you might expect.

NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh certainly feels that way, being of the opinion that Curry's No. 31 ranking is too low for the greatest shooter in the history of the sport.

"Did I miss something?" Haberstroh questioned. "I feel like the best shooter ever deserves a higher spot on this list. If you don’t think his superhuman ability to score from far away places won’t age well, consider the careers of Reggie Miller and Ray Allen, the only two players who have made more 3-pointers than Curry has in this league. Miller was starting playoff games at age 39. Allen was starting Finals games at age 38. Oh, and Steve Nash was an All-Star two weeks after his 38th birthday."

For reference, Curry will be 36 in the summer of 2024.

"Curry’s ranking suggests he’s at the tail end of his career," Haberstroh continued, "but he just increased his scoring average for the second consecutive season, averaging 27.3 points per game with pristine efficiency. After raising his scoring average to 28.2 points per game this postseason, there’s no signs of decline."

So why No. 31? What factor is holding Curry back from being ranked higher?

Haberstroh concedes that it's certainly possible Curry's injury history could rear its ugly head at some point, but even if that were to occur, he still thinks Curry is being underrated.

"OK, the ankles," Haberstroh wrote. "Yes, the ankles. There’s reason to worry that Curry’s wheels will deflate faster than the average NBA player, but even if Curry moves off the ball and becomes more of a spot-up shooter, I still think he’d stretch defenses to near half court. We’ve never seen a player like Curry who can launch from just about anywhere with the ball in his hands. 

"But even if he can’t terrorize defenses with his lightning-quick handles and crab-like lateral movement, he’ll still impact the game at a high level simply by standing there beyond the arc. Just ask Miller, Allen and Nash about how that gravitational pull ages."

[RELATED: Curry cements himself as leader for social justice in NBA]

Curry underrated? Some things never change ...

Steph Curry wants to drop 22 3s when Warriors open season vs. Clippers

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AP

Steph Curry wants to drop 22 3s when Warriors open season vs. Clippers

The Warriors are prepping to open the 2019-20 NBA season in some new digs at Chase Center in San Francisco. They will do it in some nice new uniforms, too.

Leading it all will be Steph Curry, who is more than ready to get started. He even gave a bold prediction that he'll make it rain from beyond the arc on opening night as the Warriors play host to the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 24:

The six-time All-Star suggested nothing but buckets during a GoDaddy launch event in San Francisco. His wife, Ayesha, responded perfectly with a simple "Wow, OK."

But we appreciate the confidence. 

Curry's teammate, Klay Thompson, still holds the NBA single-game record with his 14 3-pointer performance last October, but Steph is right behind him with 13.

[RELATED: Steph responds to KD saying Warriors didn't accept him]

First things first: If anyone’s going to drain 22 threes in a game, it's Steph. And if that's the case, and he doesn't reach that checkpoint, perhaps he'll reach just enough threes to surpass Klay and leave him quiet for a while. At least until he comes back from injury.

Either way, expect a show on opening night.

Warriors star Steph Curry says winning third NBA MVP 'would be special'

Warriors star Steph Curry says winning third NBA MVP 'would be special'

The last player to win at least three NBA MVP awards was LeBron James when he took home the trophy for a fourth time in the 2012-13 season. 

Steph Curry is ready to add to his trophy case. The Warriors' start point guard came up short in his attempt to three-peat as a champion last season, but he has a third MVP on his mind this year.

"At the end of the day, winning an MVP would be special," Curry said Tuesday to ESPN's Rachel Nichols on "The Jump." "And it's something that -- I've experienced before and would love to experience again.

"I'd love to push the envelope and push the limits a little bit."

Curry averaged 23.8 points and 7.7 assists per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the 3-point line in his first of two MVP seasons. He's averaged more points per game in every season since, and his 27.3 points per game last season were the second-highest of his career. 

With Kevin Durant gone and Klay Thompson out for several months with a torn ACL, Curry is expected to see plenty of shots and could put up huge numbers. Curry was seen putting up shots late Monday night at the Warriors practice facility in San Francisco and seems locked in on silencing the Dubs' doubters. 

[RELATED: Steph fires back after KD's criticism of Warriors offense]

"I always say, I'm playing like I'm the best player on the floor no matter what the situation is," Curry said to Nichols. "That's my mentality. It might not mean I'm taking every shot, but that's the aggressiveness that I need to play with and the confidence I need to have." 

This will be a whole different Warriors team than in past years, but it could also be the return of MVP Steph.