(Reuters) - Blessed with one of the purest shooting strokes in the NBA, Stephen Curry is on track to end his career as one of the best three-point shooters ever.

A strong work ethic has helped the Golden State Warriors point guard hone his unique skills and at the age of 26 has scaled heights reached by very few with his astonishing ability to pour in three-pointers.

Curry is competing in his fifth season in the league and has a career average of 43.5 percent from beyond the arc -- the third-best since the NBA introduced the three-point line in 1979.

Only Steve Kerr (45.4), who is Golden State's head coach, and Hubert Davis (44.1) are ahead of him.

"What makes Steph so special is his ability to handle the ball before he takes a shot," Kerr told Reuters before the league-leading Warriors suffered a shock 115-105 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

"Most three-point shooters are guys like me who just stand still and shoot when they're open, but he's handling the ball, running the offense, creating offense for others and then all of a sudden pulling up off the dribble and shooting from 25 feet.

"Very few people in the world can do that. He has maybe the best hand-eye coordination of anyone."

Asked where he thought Curry stacked up among the best three-point scorers of all time, Kerr replied: "It's hard to put those lists together. It goes way beyond percentages because the degree of difficulty and volume of shots has to be factored in.

"When you think about the types of shots that he has to take, he's as good as anybody I've ever seen."

Curry, taken by the Warriors with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, has been instrumental in making Golden State (23-4) one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the league.

His shooting, triggered by a lightning-fast release, is envied by his peers and he has already achieved the best three-point percentage among players who have attempted more than 2,000 shots.

"He can shoot off the dribble or the catch and needs little time, little space," Warriors guard Shaun Livingston, a 10-year league veteran, told Reuters. "I've not seen anyone better as a three-point shooter."

Curry and shooting guard Klay Thompson form a potent backcourt tandem dubbed the 'Splash Brothers', both of them averaging more than 20 points per game this season.

By Mark Lamport-Stokes