Is Steph Curry Better Than Larry Bird?

Jalen Rose

The debate of who is the better basketball player, Steph Curry or Larry Bird, has been ongoing for years. Both Curry and Bird have made significant contributions to the sport and have left a mark on the game that will never be forgotten.

In this article, we analyze the stats and achievements of both players to determine who comes out on top.

Is Steph Curry Better Than Larry Bird?

Is Steph Curry Better Than Larry Bird?

Career PER Comparison of Stephen Curry and Larry Bird

Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is a metric formulated by John Hollinger in 2003 to quantify the overall performance of basketball players.

It takes into account various statistics such as points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and shooting efficiency while adjusting for pace and team context.

The league-average PER is set at 15.00. Generally, PER values above 20.00 are considered excellent, and those below 10.00 are deemed poor.

Stephen Curry and Larry Bird are two of the most iconic and successful players in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Curry has been a dominant force in the modern era with his incredible shooting and playmaking skills, while Bird was a versatile and cerebral superstar of the 1980s.

Despite the differences in their playing styles and eras, both players have exceptional career PER numbers as should be expected.

Curry’s career PER of 23.8 is slightly higher than Bird’s career PER of 23.5.

While this difference may seem small, it is noteworthy considering that Bird played in an era with a lower pace, fewer possessions, and tougher defenses, which could limit his statistical output compared to Curry.

Moreover, Bird’s career was cut short by injuries, and he played fewer games than Curry (897 vs. 762).

Curry’s PER has been over 20.0 since his third season in 2012, which is a remarkable feat. He has led the league in PER twice (2015, 2016), finished second three times (2014, 2017, 2019), and never had a season with a PER below 20.0 except his rookie year (17.8).

Curry’s highest single-season PER was 31.56 in 2016 when he became the first unanimous MVP in NBA history and led the Golden State Warriors to a record 73-win season.

Curry’s PER dipped below 25.0 only once in the last six seasons (2020), when injuries limited his playing time.

Bird, on the other hand, had eight seasons with a PER above 20.0, with his highest single-season PER being 27.8 in 1988. Bird won three MVP awards (1984, 1985, 1986) and finished second in four other seasons.

He also helped the Boston Celtics win three NBA championships (1981, 1984, 1986) and was a 12-time All-Star, nine-time All-NBA First Team selection, and three-time Three-Point Shootout champion.

Bird’s career PER is impressive considering that his playing style relied more on his court vision, IQ, and toughness than overwhelming athleticism or scoring volume.

Stephen Curry and Larry Bird are not only two of the greatest players ever but also two of the most efficient ones. Their career PER numbers demonstrate their impact on the court and their ability to contribute to winning.

Curry’s ability to stretch the floor, create his own shot, and make his teammates better is unmatched, while Bird’s ability to score, rebound, pass, defend, and motivate his team was legendary.

Curry and Bird may have different resumes and stories, but their career PER numbers speak volumes about their excellence.

Career Stats Comparison

When it comes to comparing players from different eras, it’s always a challenge. However, there are a few metrics that can be used to gauge players’ performances, such as Player Efficiency Rating (PER).

In this comparison, we’ll be looking at two legendary players, Stephen Curry and Larry Bird, and their career PER numbers.

Comparing PER

Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is a metric used to evaluate players’ overall effectiveness and efficiency on the court. The average PER is 15.0, and anything above 20.0 is considered an exceptional rating.

Stephen Curry has a career PER of 23.8, while Larry Bird’s career PER is 23.5. These numbers indicate that both players were highly productive and efficient throughout their careers.

Curry’s PER has been consistently above 20.0 since his third season in 2012. In contrast, Bird’s PER dropped below 20.0 in his final three seasons, as age and injury caught up to him.

Comparing Averages

Per game averages are another way of comparing players. Let’s take a look at Curry and Bird’s per game averages.

Stephen Curry’s per game averages are as follows:

  • Points: 23.5
  • Rebounds: 4.5
  • Assists: 6.6
  • Steals: 1.7
  • Blocks: 0.2

Larry Bird’s per game averages are as follows:

  • Points: 24.3
  • Rebounds: 10.0
  • Assists: 6.3
  • Steals: 1.7
  • Blocks: 0.8

Bird has the edge in rebounding, averaging an impressive 10.0 rebounds per game over his career, while Curry averages 4.5 rebounds per game.

However, Curry has the edge in scoring and assists, with per game averages of 23.5 points and 6.6 assists, respectively, compared to Bird’s 24.3 points and 6.3 assists.

Comparing Shooting Percentages

Finally, let’s take a look at the shooting percentages of these two players.

Stephen Curry’s shooting percentages are as follows:

  • Field goal percentage: 47.6%
  • Three-point percentage: 43.5%
  • Free throw percentage: 90.5%

Larry Bird’s shooting percentages are as follows:

  • Field goal percentage: 49.6%
  • Three-point percentage: 37.6%
  • Free throw percentage: 88.6%

Bird has the edge in overall field goal percentage, but Curry is the better three-point shooter, with a career percentage of 43.5% compared to Bird’s 37.6%. Curry is also an exceptional free-throw shooter, with a career percentage of 90.5%.

Both Stephen Curry and Larry Bird have had exceptional careers, as evidenced by their career PER numbers, per game averages, and shooting percentages.

While they have their respective strengths and weaknesses, Curry’s ability to shoot from long range and his superb free-throw shooting make him a more well-rounded player than Bird.

Nonetheless, their contributions to the game of basketball cannot be dismissed, and they will forever be remembered as two of the greatest players to ever set foot on the court.

Accolades and Achievements

Stephen Curry is a modern-day basketball superstar who has dominated the NBA with his exceptional offensive skills and consistent performance on the court.

He is widely regarded as one of the best shooters in NBA history and has won numerous accolades and awards during his career. On the other hand, Larry Bird is a retired NBA player who is considered as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

He is known for his versatility, intelligence, and leadership skills on the court. In this article, we will compare the career statistics, advanced metrics, accolades and achievements of both players.

Career Statistics

Larry Bird played for 13 seasons in the NBA from 1979 to 1992 while Stephen Curry has been playing since 2009, so direct comparison of career stats is not suitable. However, we can compare their career stats per game.

Bird had an impressive career, recording 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game. On the other hand, Curry has an average of 24.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game.

It is worth mentioning that Curry has a higher three-point shooting percentage than Bird, which is one of his key strengths.

Advanced Metrics

Advanced metrics are used to assess the overall performance and efficiency of a player. One of the most widely used advanced metrics is PER, which stands for player efficiency rating.

PER takes into account all aspects of a player’s game, such as scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, and blocks, and scales it to a league average of 15.0. Curry has a career PER of 23.8, which is higher than Bird’s 23.5.

Curry’s PER has been above 20 since his third season in the league, indicating his consistent performance over the years.

Accolades and Achievements

Both Larry Bird and Stephen Curry have won numerous accolades and achievements during their respective careers. Bird was a three-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and won the NBA Finals MVP award twice.

He was also a three-time NBA MVP and won 12 All-Star Selections. Curry, on the other hand, has won three NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors and has been named the NBA Finals MVP twice.

He has also won two NBA MVP awards and has been selected to seven All-Star teams.

Larry Bird and Stephen Curry are two of the most accomplished players in NBA history. While Bird played in a different era and had different strengths, both players had incredible careers and achieved remarkable feats.

Their advanced metrics and accolades show their consistent performance and winning mentality, making them both legendary players in the sport of basketball.

Impact on the Game

Stephen Curry and Larry Bird are two of the greatest basketball players of all time, and their impact on the game is undeniable. In this essay, we will discuss their influence on the style of play, team success, and cultural impact.

Style of Play

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry revolutionized the way basketball is played with his incredible shooting ability. He is often credited with popularizing the three-point shot and has set numerous records in this category.

Curry’s quick release and accuracy from long range make him a threat from anywhere on the court, and he has forced defenses to adjust their strategy to deal with his skill set.

Larry Bird

Larry Bird was known for his all-around game and his competitiveness. He could score from anywhere on the court, rebound, pass, and play defense. Bird’s style of play was not flashy, but it was effective, and he led his team to three NBA championships in the 1980s.

His impact on the game was more about his overall skill set than any one particular aspect of his game.

Team Success

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry has been a key part of the Golden State Warriors’ recent success, which includes five NBA Finals appearances and three championships.

His ability to score points quickly and efficiently has been a major factor in the team’s success, as has his leadership on and off the court.

Larry Bird

Larry Bird’s impact on team success was perhaps even greater than his impact on the game itself. He led the Boston Celtics to three championships in the 1980s and was the heart and soul of the team.

Bird’s competitiveness and leadership set the tone for the team, and his work ethic inspired his teammates to give their best effort every game.

Cultural Impact

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry’s impact on the game goes beyond his skill set and team success. He has become a cultural icon, with his distinctive shooting style, pre-game rituals, and charitable work.

He is one of the most popular players in the NBA and has inspired a new generation of basketball players to strive for excellence on and off the court.

Larry Bird

Larry Bird was a trailblazer for basketball players from small towns and rural areas. He grew up in French Lick, Indiana, and his success in the NBA showed that players from small towns could make it to the top of the sport.

Bird was also known for his toughness and work ethic, which inspired others to emulate his example.

Stephen Curry and Larry Bird are two of the greatest basketball players of all time, and their impact on the game is undeniable. Curry’s shooting ability revolutionized the way the game is played, while Bird’s all-around game and competitiveness led his teams to success.

Both players have made a cultural impact as well, inspiring future generations of basketball players to strive for excellence.

Was Larry Bird One of the Best?

Larry Bird is considered one of the best basketball players of all time. He was part of the 1985-1986 Celtics, considered the greatest team in NBA history. He helped lead the Celtics to a championship and a 40-1 record at home that year.

Over the course of his career, he won three championships. Bird was known for his exceptional shooting ability and court vision. He was a fierce competitor and always gave his all on the court. Bird was a three-time NBA MVP and a 12-time All-Star.

He averaged 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game in his career. Bird’s work ethic and dedication to the game made him a role model for future generations. His impact on the game of basketball will always be remembered and celebrated.

Is Larry Bird Better Than Lebron?

Scoring and Assists: Lebron Holds an Edge

James has averaged more points and assists than Bird, highlighting his ability to contribute on both ends of the floor.

Rebounding and Steals: Bird Holds an Edge

Bird was known for his tenacity on the boards, averaging more rebounds per game than James. Similarly, Bird’s active hands on defense led to him averaging more steals per game.

Three-point Shooting: Bird Was More Efficient

Bird had a reputation as a lights-out 3-point shooter, boasting a career average of 37.6%. In comparison, while James has developed a reliable 3-point shot, his career average sits at 34.5%.

Free-throw Shooting: Bird Was More Reliable

Bird maintained a career average of 88.6% from the free-throw line, compared to James’ 73.4%. This highlights Bird’s ability to capitalize on scoring opportunities from the charity stripe.

Overall Efficiency: Lebron Holds an Edge

LeBron’s athleticism and versatility have enabled him to maintain a higher field goal percentage, shooting over 50% on his career compared to Bird’s 49.6%. This highlights the extent to which LeBron’s physical ability elevates his game.

Ultimately, the debate over who was the better player is subjective and hinges on personal preferences. However, James and Bird’s contrasting styles and skill sets offer insight into what makes a great player in the NBA.

To Recap

Both Steph Curry and Larry Bird are great basketball players in their own right. They have achieved incredible feats and have left a significant impact on the sport.

While it’s impossible to determine who is the better player, we can safely say that both players are crucial to the history of basketball.

Curry has revolutionized the game with his shooting and has set new standards, while Bird’s versatility and all-around game have made him a legend. Regardless of the comparison, both players are exceptional and deserve their place in the hall of fame.

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Jalen Rose

I am a sports analyst in USA and I have been writing about sports for more than a decade. My career started with writing about the NBA for my school newspaper. After that, I became the Sports Editor of my college paper, then the managing editor of my university’s official website. After graduating from college, I started working as an Assistant Sports Editor at the local newspaper in Atlanta. per. I've been there ever since and have had many opportunities to write about different aspects of sports journalism and interact with other writers and editors from all over the world. LinkedIn

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