Steph Curry joins rare NBA company with latest Warriors record

Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder already made Draymond Green’s MVP case to open the New Year – a statement which Draymond agrees with – before the Warriors beat his Jazz 123-116. But earlier this month, it went unrecognized when Snyder gave even more kudos to a Warriors star by acknowledging Steph Curry’s improved defense.

“Steph doesn’t get enough credit for what he does defensively,” Snyder said back on Feb. 9. “He works his ass off defensively.”

Curry has changed the way basketball is played offensively. From the playgrounds to high school, the college game and the pros, he’s the right hand behind the shift and style in what we’re watching on a nightly basis. Steph might as well have his own paperback of a Warriors record book for what he has done on offense. Don’t forget about the defense of the two-time NBA MVP, though.

On Tuesday night against the LA Clippers, Curry etched his name atop a Warriors record for the defensive side of the ball. Deflecting an errant pass from Amir Coffey, Curry has recorded 1,361 career steals and counting, passing Chris Mullin for the Warriors’ franchise record.

Curry tied Mullin in Thursday’s loss against the Dallas Mavericks.

Coach Steve Kerr admittedly didn’t know Curry was on the verge of more Warriors history, which brought a smile to his face. Here’s what he had to say when I told him of the record prior to Saturday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I didn’t know that, that’s a pretty impressive stat,” Kerr said. “He’s way better defensively than people give him credit for. He’s smart, he’s tough. When he’s on the ball he gives a lot of pressure. Off the ball, he’s done a great job this year of attacking rollers and getting back to shooters and being really smart.

“I think he’s gotten a lot better since I first got here seven and a half years ago. He’s a much better defender now. That’s just strength, focus, putting in all the work he’s put in. He’s really a good defender and that’s great – yet another milestone. “

Steph’s latest Warriors record also puts him in rare company throughout NBA history.

Curry now is the fourth player ever, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, to be a franchise’s all-time career leader in points, assists, 3-pointers, steals and games played. He joins LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), Reggie Miller (Indiana Pacers) and Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies).

From the time he was going into the draft, Curry’s defense has been questioned. But while he still is an offense-first player, Curry has become a much better all-around star and always has had a nose for hunting steals. He led the league in steals per game (2.1) in the 2015-16 season when he was named the league’s first unanimous MVP.

His 1.3 steals per game this season are his best since the 2018-19 season and he has averaged 1.7 steals for his 13-year NBA career. The advanced stats like him, too.

RELATED: Steph’s bizarre “pointing” pregame warm-up routine explained

He came into Tuesday night’s game with a 107 defensive rating per 100 possessions this season, which is his best since he finished at 105 in 2016-17. His 3.1 defensive win shares of him are his best of him since that season as well.

There’s no doubt that offense and being the best shooter basketball has ever seen always will be Curry’s calling card. This record also assuredly has a special place for Steph, and it’s just the latest way for him to etch his name di lui in the record books.

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