Steph Curry continues to add to his legacy every season. This season, he broke the all-time three-point record, won the NBA championship, and won his first Finals MVP. Curry has solidified his legacy as an all-time great.
A considerable amount of people believe that Curry’s achievements this year earn him the recognition as a top-ten player in NBA history. Among those people, some believe that Curry has surpassed the great Magic Johnson as the greatest point guard of all time.
Steph Curry’s achievements are remarkable, but he is not quite at Magic’s level yet. Curry’s career is not finished yet, and he still has a chance to pass Johnson, but the Laker great ranks higher at this point. Here are three reasons why Magic Johnson is still better than Steph Curry.
Five Rings is Better than Four
Both players have an outstanding resumes, but the best hardware a player could earn is an NBA championship. When you compare titles, Magic has five; Curry only has four. In terms of the competition they faced and the help each player had, the two are about equal. Magic faced several stars in the Finals such as Dr. J, Larry Bird, and Isiah Thomas. He was helped by James Worthy and the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Curry went toe-to-toe with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Jayson Tatum on his way to four titles. He was helped by Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and a great supporting cast.
The difference is that as Magic won his championships, it became clear that he was the best player of his generation. While it is true that Magic had arguably the greatest center of all time as a co-star, Magic was the best player of the 80s. Steph Curry is not the best player of his generation; it is LeBron James.
In fact, Curry might have not even been the best player on his own team for two of his championships. When Kevin Durant helped lead the Warriors to two championships, he won the Finals MVP both years, leaving Curry with only one of his own Finals MVP awards. Magic won three Finals MVPs to go along with his five championships. As he developed as a player, he became the clear best player on his team.
The goal of an NBA season is to win a championship. Curry achieved that goal four times. Magic achieved it five times, which is better than four. It is as simple as that. Curry still needs one more championship before he can catch up to Magic Johnson.
Magic Was a Better Playmaker
Curry is not what a traditional point guard looks like. He is a skilled playmaker, but he plays best when he plays off the ball and takes shots. He isn’t the typical floor general you immediately think of when the point guard position comes to mind.
You can’t diminish the achievements Steph Curry has accomplished by evolving the game as a nontraditional point guard, but you also have to give credit where it is due to Magic Johnson, who fulfilled the job of a point guard better than anyone.
Standing six feet and nine inches tall, Magic was not a traditional point guard, either. However, he did everything you expect out of a point guard. He led the Laker’s offense and made plays for others. He holds the record for the most assists per game in NBA history with 11.19. No one was a better passer than Magic Johnson. And he delivered his passes in a flashy and accurate way.
Magic Johnson truly mastered the art of passing, which makes him the greatest point guard of all time. He led the “Showtime Lakers” and made others better around him. Curry can make his teammates better by spacing the floor for them, but he isn’t the floor general and leader on the court that Magic was.
Magic Was More Versatile
Magic Johnson is a better point guard than Steph Curry, but he is also a better overall player. As previously mentioned, he was a better playmaker and leader. Aside from that, the biggest skill that makes Magic better than Curry is his versatility.
Let’s be clear. This is not about offensive versatility when it comes to shot-making. Steph Curry is the undisputed greatest shooter of all time. He can make shots from any spot on the court. He clearly has the edge over Magic in terms of shooting.
Where Magic’s advantage comes from is his versatility due to his size. As a tall player, he could conceivably play and defend all positions on the court. This was proven in the 1980 NBA Finals. When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was sidelined with an injury, Magic Johnson stepped up as the starting center for the Lakers. He closed out the series for Los Angeles by dropping 42 points with 15 rebounds to win his first championship as a rookie.
Curry has improved as a defender, but he is still a defensive liability, and opposing teams target him offensively. Magic wasn’t the greatest defender, but he could still play pretty solid defense because of his size and length. He was definitely a better defender than Curry.
Steph Curry is an all-time NBA great. He is a top-ten player in NBA history. However, he still has some work to do if he wants to surpass Magic Johnson as the greatest point guard ever. Magic impacted the game in more ways than Curry. If Steph wants to be greater than Magic, then he must win at least one more title and earn more accolades.