Stephen CurryStephen Curry is one month from breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s single-season record for player efficiency rating. He leads the league in scoring with 30.5 points per game — in 33.8 minutes. He eclipsed his own single-season mark for 3-pointers three weeks ago. He is having the best shooting season of all time: 57.8 percent from 2-point range, 46.2 percent from 3-point range and 90.4 percent from the line. His Golden State Warriors (61-6) are on pace to break the record for wins.

Curry has broken basketball — or at least “NBA 2K.” He is disrupting the geometry of the game. He is the revolution. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has compared Curry to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates: “Steph Curry is changing the way the game will be played in the future. I’m sure of it, and that’s an historic thing.”

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says the 3-point line should be moved back — which is the kind of thing people say when someone breaks basketball.

Basketball has long changed its rules to slow the greatness of its best players. The defensive goaltending rule was added because of Bob Kurland and George Mikan. The lane was widened because of Mikan and then Wilt Chamberlain. Offensive goaltending was outlawed and free throw rules changed because of Chamberlain. College basketball banned dunking because of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who then perfected his sky hook, which made him even more dominant. The Detroit Pistons created “The Jordan Rules,” a defensive strategy used to contain and frustrate Michael Jordan.

The overly physical play of the Pistons and Pat Riley’s New York Knicks eventually led to the NBA eliminating hand-checking and the forearm in the back as defensive tactics. Which helped Steve Nash win back-to-back MVP awards and has Stephen Curry on the verge of doing the same — no matter how Oscar Robertson feels about it.

By any measure of greatness — raw statistics, advanced metrics, team success — Curry is having one of the best seasons of all time.

Using Player Efficiency Rating and Win Shares as a guide, there are four players who have authored multiple historically great seasons: (1) Wilt Chamberlain (2) Michael Jordan (3) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and (4) LeBron James.

Then there is Stephen Curry. Then everyone else.

These are the greatest seasons of all time:1


Team | Philadelphia Warriors

Averages | 50.4 points, 25.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 50.6 field goal percentage, 61.3 free throw percentage, 48.5 minutes, 31.7 PER, 21.3 WS2

Awards | All-NBA first team, All-Star Game selection

Skinny | Chamberlain averaged a record 50.4 points and scored 100 in a 169-147 win over the Knicks on March 2, 1962. But he didn’t win the MVP award. Neither did Oscar Robertson, who averaged a triple-double.

Other historically great seasons | Most of them. Chamberlain led the league in PER and win shares seven times (1959-60, 1961-62 to 1963-64, 1965-66 to 1967-68). He is the only player to average 30 points and 20 rebounds in the same season — and he did it in each of his first seven seasons. He won four MVP awards.

2. MICHAEL JORDAN | 1988-89

Team | Chicago Bulls

Averages | 32.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 55.3 2-point percentage, 85.0 free throw percentage, 2.9 steals, 31.1 PER, 19.8 WS

Awards | All-NBA first team, All-Defensive first team, All-Star Game selection

Skinny | Jordan moved to point guard late in the season, putting up 10 triple-doubles in 11 games. In the playoffs, he hit “The Shot” against the Cavaliers.

Other historically great seasons | Jordan led the league in PER and win shares for seven consecutive seasons (1986-87 to 1992-93). He won five MVP awards.


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Team | Milwaukee Bucks

Averages | 31.7 points, 16.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 55.3 field goal percentage, 67.7 free throw percentage, 29.0 PER, 22.3 WS

Awards | MVP award, All-NBA first team, All-Defensive first team, All-Star Game selection, NBA Finals MVP

Skinny | Three days after the NBA Finals, the former Lew Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Other historically great seasons | He led the league in PER and win shares seven times (1970-71 to 1972-73, 1975-76, 1976-77, 1978-79 and 1980-81) and won a record six MVP awards.

4. LeBRON JAMES | 2012-13

Team | Miami Heat

Averages | 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 60.2 2-point percentage, 40.6 3-point percentage, 75.3 free throw percentage, 31.6 PER, 19.3 WS

Awards | MVP award, All-NBA first team, All-Defensive first team, All-Star Game selection, NBA Finals MVP

Skinny | James scored 30 points while shooting 60 percent in a record six straight games in February — which was also the beginning of the Heat’s 27-game winning streak.

Other historically great seasons | James led the league in PER and win shares for five consecutive seasons (2008-09 to 2012-13). He won four MVP awards.

5. STEPHEN CURRY | 2015-16

Team | Golden State Warriors

Averages | 30.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 57.2 2-point percentage, 45.9 3-point percentage, 90.7 free throw percentage, 2.1 steals, 32.2 PER, 13.9 WS

Awards | All-Star Game selection

Skinny | Through last week, Curry was 13-for-27 from 30 feet and beyond.

Five more seasons, in no particular order

LARRY BIRD | 1985-86

Team | Boston Celtics

Averages | 25.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 50.6 2-point percentage, 42.3 3-point percentage, 89.6 free throw percentage, 2.0 steals, 25.6 PER, 15.8 WS

Awards | MVP award, All-NBA first team, All-Star Game selection, NBA Finals MVP, Three-Point Shootout champion

Skinny | Bird led one of the greatest teams of all time in points, rebounds, assists and steals — and led the league with 82 3-pointers.

SHAQUILLE O’NEAL | 1999-2000

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Team | Los Angeles Lakers

Averages | 29.7 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 57.5 2-point percentage, 52.4 free throw percentage, 3.0 blocks, 30.6 PER, 18.6 WS

Awards | MVP award, All-NBA first team, All-Defensive second team, All-Star Game selection, NBA Finals MVP, All-Star Game MVP

Skinny | O’Neal played hard in Phil Jackson’s first season with the Lakers, averaging a career-high 40.0 minutes and making his first All-Defensive team.


Team | Cincinnati Royals

Averages | 31.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 11.0 assists, 48.3 field goal percentage, 85.3 free throw percentage, 27.6 PER, 20.6 WS

Awards | MVP award, All-NBA first team, All-Star Game selection, All-Star Game MVP

Skinny | Robertson helped organize the near boycott — “the 22-minute strike” — before the 1964 All-Star Game. Then he scored 26 points with 14 rebounds and eight assists and was named the game’s MVP.


Team | Minnesota Timberwolves

Averages | 24.2 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 50.6 2-point percentage, 79.1 free throw percentage, 2.2 blocks, 29.4 PER, 18.3 WS

Awards | MVP award, All-NBA first team, All-Defensive first team, All-Star Game selection

Skinny | The Timberwolves would have won the NBA championship — except Sam Cassell injured his back in the Western Conference finals.


Team | Los Angeles Lakers

Averages | 23.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 12.2 assists, 53.2 2-point percentage, 84.8 free throw percentage, 27.0 PER, 15.9 WS

Awards | MVP award, All-NBA first team, All-Star Game selection, NBA Finals MVP

Skinny | Magic led the Lakers in scoring for the first time and became the first point guard since Oscar Robertson to be named MVP.

Honorable mention | George Mikan (1948-49), Neil Johnston (1954-55), Bob Pettit (1958-59), Elgin Baylor (1960-61), Jerry West (1969-70), Bob McAdoo (1974-75), Rick Barry (1974-75), Moses Malone (1982-83), Adrian Dantley (1983-84), Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-94), David Robinson (1993-94), Karl Malone (1997-98), Dirk Nowitzki (2005-06), Chris Paul (2007-08), Kevin Durant (2013-14)

  1. Each player can have only one season on this list.
  2. Bold type means the player led the league in that category.
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