Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr gets a lot of credit for taking a team with most of the pieces in place and immediately turning it into a dynasty, but he clearly understands the main reason for his success.
On Thursday, Kerr gushed about his two-time MVP point guard Stephen Curry and the impact that he has on defenses desperately trying to guard him. He even went as far as to say Curry could be the most impactful player in NBA history.
"He is the most impactful offensive player in terms of what he does to the defense -- maybe ever," Kerr said. "There are guys, obviously, Michael Jordan impacted things. But the way Steph plays, [he] puts the fear of God into defenses like nobody I've ever seen.
"Nobody's been able to shoot off the dribble from 35 feet in a normal setting. But he does that, which changes an entire game. So everything we do revolves around Steph. You can talk about where he stands in terms of the best players in the league. He's obviously one of the best. By that standard, he's the best.
"If you want to just say who effects the game the most offensively, Steph's the best player in the NBA. But there's different ways of measuring that stuff. From a two-way standpoint, if you like the two-way guys, maybe it's Kawhi Leonard or KD [Kevin Durant] or LeBron because they're bigger and stronger and they can protect the rim, or whatever.
"… All you have to do is just look on the impact [Curry] makes every time he's on the floor for us to know that everything we do, everything we run offensively, the other guys' ability to make plays, Shaun [Livingston], Andre [Iguodala], Draymond [Green], it all starts with Steph's gravity."
Kerr has never hidden his affection for Curry and the way he plays, but this might be the biggest praise that we've seen so far. A lot of people will probably scoff at the idea of Curry being more impactful than Jordan, but remember Kerr played with M.J. for three of his prime seasons, and the 3-pointer has become the primary weapon in NBA offenses over the last decade.
Kerr also said that he believes this will be Curry's best season yet, a scary prospect for opposing teams.
"I think Steph is at his absolute peak right now," Kerr said. "Physically, emotionally, this is probably as good as he's ever going to be this year. I think he's better now than he was last year and the year before. And that's saying something."
Curry averaged 27.7 points, 6.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 43 percent on 10.6 3-point attempts in nearly 34 minutes per game over the last two seasons. In his last three preseason games Curry averaged 24 points and made 13 of his 21 3-point attempts (62 percent) in just under 25 minutes per game, so it appears that Kerr may be on the right track.