Better Offensive Player: LeBron or Curry?

The question was posed to Stephen Curry as to who he thought was a better offensive player: him or LeBron James?   Stephen Curry answered by responding with confidence by saying he believed he had the upper hand over LeBron.

It did not surprise me that Stephen Curry said he was the better offensive player because any elite player should have the utmost confidence in their ability to contribute on the offensive end of the floor.

golden state warriors
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry

When I first heard this question, my answer without any hesitation was LeBron was because I thought it was seemingly obvious, however, as I continued to think about it more and more I began to sway my own opinion in favor of Curry.

This past season, Curry averaged a career-high in points/game (24 ppg) and assists/game (8.5 APG). Comparing LeBron James’s numbers head-to-head with Steph Curry’s numbers, one can clearly see that LeBron scores at a slightly higher clip at 27.1 points/game, but averaged 6.3 assists/game (which is 2.2 less than Curry).

Diving further into the statists of this past season, LeBron recorded his highest field goal percentage of his career with 56.7%, while Curry finished with 47.1%. Yet, Stephen Curry, as you would expect, shot a staggering percentage from behind the arc at a 42.4%. Although LeBron is more selective with his three-point attempts, he hoisted half as many threes per game and still ended the year with a lower percentage than Curry at 37.9%. What is truly remarkable when analyzing the statistics of the players is that LeBron James has continuously improved his overall shooting percentage every single season he has been in the league. Hence, he is extremely efficient. This past season both players finished in the top 10 in player efficiency rating (PER), however, LeBron ranked 2nd with a rating of 29.4 and Curry 10th with 24.13.

LeBron James skies over his defender for an Alley-Oop.

The statistics seem to favor James but let’s start to move toward what we see on TV on a nightly basis. Looking at just the two various styles of play I would say the comparison becomes even more difficult because of the beauty of watching a Stephen Curry three-pointer splash in from 40 feet out with just a flick of the wrist. There is no question both players make the game look effortless. LeBron shakes defenders with ease and muscles them off of him with a simple flex of the arms and finishes with a ferocious slam, while Curry plays H-O-R-S-E on the perimeter until he resigns to smooth drive into the lane only to float the ball over a shot blocker’s out-stretched arm.

Although Stephen Curry’s game is clearly the better shooter, LeBron James is just simply on an elite level all by himself by continuously improving year after year. Curry may beat out James in a few statistical categories but when you look at the various facets of offensive play, it hinges on efficiency and play-making abilities. I am not trying to say Curry does not create for his teammates because he clearly does, as seen by his 8 assists/game, but I just believe that LeBron is simply one of the best playmakers in the games right now, hands down. He is constantly trying to optimize every possession and has proven he will find a way to take advantage of the defense and make the correct play time and time again.

Curry is without a doubt a better shooter than LeBron, as he has one the purest strokes in the NBA, but when looking at overall offensive capabilities – advantage LeBron James.

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