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Stephen Curry says he’s a better offensive player than LeBron James?

(Photo by Rhona Wise – Associated Press Photo)

Recently on the Dan Patrick Show, a radio and television sports talk show, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry visited to talk about numerous things basketball. From the Kevin Love-to-Golden State rumors, his time with Team USA, and his own all NBA-football team to his thoughts on LeBron James and his decision to return home, Curry discussed a lot of interesting topics. None however, more interesting than his answer when asked who he thought was the better offensive player between himself and LeBron.
Of course, being the offensive force that he is, Curry should have all the confidence in the world in his offensive game. He’s proved numerous times that he can score in bunches and change the outcome of games. But is he a better overall offensive player than the 4-time MVP LeBron James?

These are the 2013-14 season scoring statistics for both LeBron James and Stephen Curry:
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According to the table above, James was far more efficient from the field, but Curry, being a shooter, was superior from the 3 point line and free throw line. LeBron did almost all his damage from inside the 3-point line knocking down 651 2-pointers out of 1047, which is an excellent 62.2%. Curry shot 391/768 for 51% shooting from inside the 3-point arc. That’s not to say the James was not a good 3-point shooter, for he was very good when required of him, but Curry has a slim advantage over James when it comes to shooting the long ball.
No matter whose numbers you want to say are the more dominant, there is no debating that LeBron James has a knack for getting to the basket with ease, as well as taking his game to the mid-range where he has drastically improved over the past couple of years or that Stephen Curry is a dynamic shooter. Curry relies a lot more on speed, his dribbling skills, and good screens from teammates to get him by defenders whereas LeBron James is pretty much going to use his strength and athleticism to get by or through defenders and score in the paint or from mid-range. The opportunities for Curry presented themselves a lot more often this season as teammates struggled at times, putting him in situations where he’d have to score the ball. Having distributors in Andre Iguodala and David Lee in your lineup doesn’t hurt either.

{adinserter 2} The offensive side of the ball involves all aspects, including assists, offensive rebounds, and points off of turnovers, all of which LeBron James dominated. Curry won the assist battle this past season, which he should as a point guard, averaging 8.4 assists per game alongside his 23.7 points per game. LeBron put up 6.3 assists per game but outscored Curry with 27.1 points per game. He also brought in 81 offensive rebounds, more than 1 per game, compared to Curry’s 46. Even though their positions are a factor in this statistic, it gives them an additional chance to score or set their teammates up. LeBron, as always, was a freight train when it came to the fast breaks and points off of an opponent’s turnover. Led by James and Dwyane Wade, the Heat scored most of their points off of turnovers in the fast break. James led his team scoring 6.1 points off a turnover, which surpassed Stephen Curry’s 3.9 points off of a turnover.
Stephen Curry isn’t the elite defender LeBron James is, so he didn’t have to play as much defense or guard the opponent’s best players as LeBron did countless times. He had Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson to do that for him, so he could play off the ball a lot of times and instead play the passing lanes for deflections and steals. He and James both averaged 1.6 steals per game. Being the better defender, James put it more work defensively than Curry almost always guarding the opponent’s best player. LeBron James often exerted more energy on defense to get more stops which showed on the team’s statistics as the Miami Heat allowed 97.4 points per game compared to the Golden State Warriors’ 99.5 points per game. Although they finished with the same point differential of +4.8 points, Miami’s defense was better throughout the season.
When we think about offense, we often think about scoring. Most people would rather have 4-time MVP LeBron James on their team for his overall offensive capabilities as well as his defensive prowess. The numbers show that Stephen Curry can shoot the lights out at a fairly efficient rate, but it would seem that James’ has the upper hand in terms of an overall offensive game.

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