Phil Jackson’s nose is always up in the air, but rarely has it been as elevated as it was Sunday.
A day after Stephen Curry hit 12 three-pointers, including a 32-footer to beat Oklahoma City in overtime, the Knicks president took to social media to tweet/sniff about the Warriors’ superstar:
“Never seen anything like SCurry? Remind you of Chris Jackson/Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who had a short but brilliant run in NBA?’’
Why, sure, Phil, that’s the first player who comes to mind when you think of Curry. A player who averaged 14.6 points a game in a nine-year career. A guy who hit 35.4 percent of his three-point attempts. I mean, they could be twins!
Curry, the reigning NBA most valuable player, has a career scoring average of 22.1 and is averaging 30.7 points this season. He is a career 44.6 percent three-point shooter.
The only valid comparison is at the free-throw line. Abdul-Rauf, who retired after the 2000-01 season, twice led the NBA in free-throw percentage. Curry also has led the league in that category two times. He’s at the top of the list this season, as well.
So why did Jackson blunder his way to a comparison that’s no comparison at all? I think it has something to do with what he perceives as a threat to the greatness of his Bulls championship teams and, by association, his greatness as a coach.
Curry isn’t Michael Jordan. No one is saying he is, but that’s apparently what Phil is inferring from all the praise being ladled upon Curry and the Warriors, who are on pace to break the 1995-96 Bulls’ single-season record for most victories (72). And if Curry is the best, from there, it’s a slippery slope to someone besides Jackson being considered the best coach of all time. So you can see why Jackson is a little snooty about these things.
Curry is a great player, and nothing short of injury is going to change that. He’s not a fad, and he’s not a Jeremy Lin. He’s one of the two or three best players in the game, and he will not have the “short, brilliant run’’ that Jackson said Abdul-Rauf had. He’ll be a Hall of Famer if he stays healthy.
And, no, Phil, I’ve never seen anything like Stephen Curry.