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Golden State Warriors

This simple possession put Stephen Curry's greatness on full display

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Stephen Curry (NBA Getty Images)

Not all shooters are created equal. Some, like Brook Lopez, are at their best from a standstill. Others, like J.J. Redick, are at their best when they are on the move.

Then there's Stephen Curry, who is basically in a class of his own.

While most shooters specialize in certain areas - even someone like James Harden is known specifically for his step backs - Curry is the rare player who can spot-up, run off of screens and create 3-pointers for himself off the dribble with almost equal efficiency. It makes him defenses have to account for every second he's on the court because he's just as much of a threat to score with the ball in his hands as he is without, which makes the game significantly easier for both him and his teammates.

That much has been clear for years, but there was a particular possession in Golden State's recent win over the Denver Nuggets that put Curry's greatness on full display.

It came following a missed shot from Nuggets forward Torrey Craig. Rather than run towards the ball to make himself available for an outlet pass, Curry immediately took off down the other end of the court.

It might not look noteworthy, but that split second decision is a microcosm of what makes Curry one of the more unique superstars we've ever seen. Not only is he capable of turning himself into a smaller version of Klay Thompson at a moment's notice, he's willing to sacrifice his touches to open up opportunities for others, namely a multi-time All-Star and one-time MVP in the prime of his career in Kevin Durant.

In this situation, it was Durant who benefited from his unselfishness - he brought the ball up the court and immediately attacked the much smaller Will Barton in the post while Curry parked himself in the opposite corner.

Because Durant is one of the best scorers in the league with his back to the basket - he's made over half of his shot attempts in those situations this season - the Nuggets chose to double him when he got close to the paint.

It was an easy decision for Mason Plumlee to make, as his defensive assignment, Draymond Green, is having the worst 3-point shooting season of his career. It's not a tactic the Warriors haven't dealt with before, but it's one teams are using more frequently because of how poorly he is shooting this season.

Durant responded by making the simple pass out to Green at the top of the perimeter.

Green, however, didn't even look to shoot. He instead turned his attention to the opposite wing, where Curry was in the middle of running off a pair of screens from Andre Iguodala and Alfonzo McKinnie.

Again, if Curry wasn't one of the league's best scorers on the move, Craig wouldn't have chased him around the screens in the manner in which he did. He also wouldn't have felt the need to jump at Curry's pump fake several feet behind the 3-point line if he wasn't the best deep 3-point shooter we've ever seen.

Curry saw it coming from a mile away and took full advantage by calmly dribbling into a 3-pointer.

Here's a video of the possession from start to finish:

Curry is making those shots at an unbelievable rate this season - even by his standards. According to NBA.com, he's knocked down 44.5 percent of his pull-up 3-point attempts, up from 41.4 percent last season and 37.3 percent the season prior.

Of the 41 players who are taking at least 2.0 pull-up 3-pointers per game, the only other one making them at a 40.0 percent clip is Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton.

As for the catch-and-shoot 3s, Curry leads the entire league in that category with 6.9 attempts per game. He's a part of an exclusive club when it comes to making those opportunities as well, as he's one of only nine players - Middleton not being one of them - taking at least 2.0 of those per game and converting them at a 45.0 percent clip.

The combination makes him unlike anyone else currently in the NBA, and it often shows on the simplest of plays.

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