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DaveO

Stephen Curry (1988-), Deadeye Point Guard for the Golden State Warriors (2009-) and 2014-2015 NBA MVP

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There's video of Curry coming off a screen and launching a 3-pointer from the top of the key against the Celtics, but I can't find it anymore - Tommy Heinsohn was calling the game, and he immediately said it was one of the 2-or-3 best shots he's ever seen. Now that the video has been posted (in the next post), I see I didn't remember the situation correctly - Curry ran from his defender towards the 3-point line, and spun around for a catch-and-shoot that was about as quick a release as I've ever seen.

You are looking for this video, which must have come from the local cable broadcast, as Heinsohn broadcasts celtic games on local cable:  The shot is about 5 minutes in:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWny55YCQug

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How Good is Curry--The Warriors Got Crushed without the magician

The Warriors got crushed by Dallas last evening, 114 -91.  Dallas took it to the Warriors from the very beginning and continued the onslaught all game long.  Curry did not play, out with a leg injury.  The most telling part of the game is just how poorly the next two big scorers did during the game; Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.   Best way to watch that is the video from this article

Thompson and Green shot poorly.  Was it an off night, a tightening of the defenses because Curry wasn't drawing defenders, inspired play by the Mavs?   Hard to tell at any point.  Bad shooting or good defense.  Never an easy pick.  But if the losing trend continues and the shooting woes of Thompson and Green extend beyond one game then the answer becomes obvious: its Curry.

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I watched the first half of that game and had it on in the background for the second half.  Curry and Golden State;  Golden State and Curry--really a symphony of movement, teamwork, great shooters, tremendous flow. Its basketball at its best in terms of flow of the ball and teammates working together...but its uniquely different with Curry's ability to shoot from ridiculous distances at a moments notice, wherein he goes from dribbling/moving...doing something else to putting it up...and hitting.  Hitting at a rate and a distance that is unparalleled.  He also has a flowing ability wherein he is moving with the ball, dribbling, cutting, slashing and suddenly he zips up a shot...again with amazing accuracy.  Its as if all the different elements of play, movement, teamwork, ball control and then a shot work in perfect symphony.  So utterly unique and so flowing.

The first half!!!   He wasn't missing.  Everything going in.  Just remarkable.  I was watching in amazement and wincing with pain.  Thinking back I've watched the Bullets/Wizards for over 40 years now, from Baltimore to suburban MD to downtown.  Curry simply outclassed them and everyone else...all in that sort of wimpy body that never explodes with power or remarkable speed but flows endlessly and moves through every nook and cranny to find an open space where he effortlessly and quickly unleashes an unerring shot.

I've been watching 40 plus years and I've never seen that effortless flow from absurd distances to in close; a totally unique player.  It also "hurt" as in the first half the Warriors were merely "unstoppable", certainly by the Wizards and probably unstoppable by any other team.   Give Curry an 11 on a scale of 1-10.

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I watched the first half of that game and had it on in the background for the second half.  Curry and Golden State;  Golden State and Curry--really a symphony of movement, teamwork, great shooters, tremendous flow. Its basketball at its best in terms of flow of the ball and teammates working together...but its uniquely different with Curry's ability to shoot from ridiculous distances at a moments notice, wherein he goes from dribbling/moving...doing something else to putting it up...and hitting.  Hitting at a rate and a distance that is unparalleled.  He also has a flowing ability wherein he is moving with the ball, dribbling, cutting, slashing and suddenly he zips up a shot...again with amazing accuracy.  Its as if all the different elements of play, movement, teamwork, ball control and then a shot work in perfect symphony.  So utterly unique and so flowing.

The first half!!!   He wasn't missing.  Everything going in.  Just remarkable.  I was watching in amazement and wincing with pain.  Thinking back I've watched the Bullets/Wizards for over 40 years now, from Baltimore to suburban MD to downtown.  Curry simply outclassed them and everyone else...all in that sort of wimpy body that never explodes with power or remarkable speed but flows endlessly and moves through every nook and cranny to find an open space where he effortlessly and quickly unleashes an unerring shot.

I've been watching 40 plus years and I've never seen that effortless flow from absurd distances to in close; a totally unique player.  It also "hurt" as in the first half the Warriors were merely "unstoppable", certainly by the Wizards and probably unstoppable by any other team.   Give Curry an 11 on a scale of 1-10.

"Watch Curry Light Up The Wizards with 25 First-Quarter Points" by Jovan Buha on foxsports.com

That's 25 first-quarter points on *10 shots total*, or an average of 2.5 points per shot - pretty efficient stuff.

If anyone wants to keep track of his 2015-2016 stats, just keep clicking on this link from basketball-reference.com. Thus far, Curry has missed 4 free throws in 2016; Lebron James has missed 6 free throws this week.

What's interesting is that people are talking about Curry in historic terms, and yet his career stats aren't *that* amazing (other than his 3P and FT percentages - as of this writing, his career stats are 21.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assists - very good, but not awesome) - if Curry quit today, he'd only be a marginal Hall of Fame candidate. It's going to be fascinating to see how defenses adapt to him in the upcoming years.

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I was fortunate enough to luck into some free tickets last and took along my son.  It was the first time I have watched a basketball game and only focused on one player the entire time he was on the court. It was amazing to watch how hard he worked to get in position for a watch.

Unfortunately, John Wall put up his best performance of the season on the wrong night.

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I was fortunate enough to luck into some free tickets last and took along my son. It was the first time I have watched a basketball game and only focused on one player the entire time he was on the court. It was amazing to watch how hard he worked to get in position for a watch.

Unfortunately, John Wall put up his best performance of the season on the wrong night.

FREE TICKETS?? KaBOOM!!! The resale price for tickets to that game were the most expensive for a sporting event at the Verizon Center in 6 years

What's interesting is that people are talking about Curry in historic terms, and yet his career stats aren't *that* amazing (other than his 3P and FT percentages - as of this writing, his career stats are 21.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assists - very good, but not awesome) - if Curry quit today, he'd only be a marginal Hall of Fame candidate. It's going to be fascinating to see how defenses adapt to him in the upcoming years.

1. The press and publicity of the day are going to magnify Curry's current accomplishments to all time greatness. Its the nature of the press.

2. Counter point. There is precedent for this kind of thinking and these all time reactions--> Bill Walton. Walton had a career that spanned 13 seasons including 3 in which he totally sat out, numerous seasons where he played only partial seasons due to injuries and a number of years where he played reserve minutes rather than starter minutes. Over 13 years he only played in 4-500 regular season games (less than 6 full seasons). Yet in most lists of all time greats Walton ranks pretty highly and among the best of the best:

Bill Simmons list 27th best all time:

Ongoing ESPN list of all time best-42nd

This list ranks Walton 74th best of 500

I recall Walton very well, roughly being in college at the same time and watching him in the pros at his best during a 2 year span from about 77-79. (and watching way way too much basketball). Frankly he is one of my favorites of all time. Walton also played as a magnificent super sub in 85-86.

But his productive time and super duper time was very limited...not unlike the very limited time in which Curry has sparkled. Clearly there are differences: Walton came into the league with extraordinary expectations; Curry entered the league with very limited expectations. Curry has improved year after year after year by leaps and bounds; Walton started suffering debilitating injuries in his very first season; that carried through during his entire career...and as a starter really only had about 1 and 1/2 years of super stardom-albeit probably being the best player in the league at his peak (best because he raised a team of mediocre players to best in the league for about 1 to 1/5 years.).

Anyway giving Curry all time credibility even as his stardom is limited is not unlike giving Walton the same kind of recognition. Some will do so.

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Here is a current perspective on Steph Curry and the all time greats:

"Five on Five: Debating the All-Time Greats" on espn.com

ESPN is counting down its ranking of the top 100 NBA players.  Five notables discuss their top five of all time and where Curry fits in.  An interesting discussion.  Their own experiences and perspectives are quite strong and distinctive.  Admittedly Walt Frazier, one of the all time NYC pro athlete heroes, touts his own horn, referencing the NBA game 7 championship in 1970.  He describes losing Willis Reed and his effectiveness....but that was Frazier's greatest game, played at the game's ultimate testing ground; NBA finals, Game 7.

Some interesting perspectives.  They all acknowledge Curry to some level, each with a different bias and history.  On the potential all time list, Curry's position will rest on the length of his career and his health.  He is so remarkable to watch...I hope he stays healthy.

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I sort of hinted at this here, but nobody took the bait.

Does the media hype whatever phenomenon is current? A two-word answer: Jeremy Lin.

Or, Harold Miner, "Baby Jordan."

Better still, Tamir Goodman: "The Jewish Jordan."

Given that Curry has never cracked the top-60 NBA seasons for 3-point percentage, and given that *this year* - this revolutionary year - he's only looking at about the 40th-best percentage, is Curry's three-point shooting really *that* transcendent?

Or is it the fact that he's taking so many shots?

So far, Curry has missed 327 3-pointers. I *think* the all-time record for misses is George McCloud, who missed 421 in the 1995-1996 season. With 24 games left, I think Curry has a pretty good chance of breaking that record, and McCloud only shot 37.9% that season.

Curry is the first player ever to take so many 3-pointers (this season, he's already had the 3rd-most attempts), and maybe Steve Kerr could have done all these theatrics, too. Everyone, and I mean *everyone*, is all over what a great 3-point shooter Curry is, but playing devil's advocate, I must ask, "Then why is he missing so many?"

Is Curry's season due entirely to his greatness? Or is there a fundamental change that he has made in the way the game is played? When you shoot 40% from 3-point range, that's a "true" shooting percentage of 60%, so why *not* let it fly?

Granted, the more you take, the harder they'll be, and perhaps nobody else *but* Curry could make these really difficult 3-point attempts.

I think the "revolution" in the NBA might be that someone finally figured out that if you can shoot 40% from the 3-point line, you should shoot as many as you can. And it would not surprise me one bit if others follow suit in the future.

Think about this: the only thing Curry has done differently this year is shoot a *ton* more 3-pointers than before. He didn't magically get a lot better. Maybe this season, he discovered a weapon so lethal that the rest of the league is helpless to do anything about it, and will be unable to counteract it in the years going forward.

Maybe.

Why do I get the feeling DaveO is going to reply to this? :)

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Why do I get the feeling DaveO is going to reply to this? :)

Yeah:  I have to respond.  I can't tell if you are being completely facetious or are ridiculously serious with the analogies at the top.  As to the fact that teams are shooting more 3 pointers every year; its sort of obvious. They are. It makes sense, doesn't it?

Down the line the keys would seem to be to get shooters like Curry. That will probably be difficult.  He shoots 3's off the catch and shoot, which is how most accurate shooters do this...but then he shoots 3's accurately while on the move; side to side....and moving backwards (of all things).  Also, if a team wants to replicate what both Curry and the Warriors are doing they need a lot of accurate 3 point shooters...not just one. That will be difficult.

I guess down the line somebody and bodies are going to shoot like Curry. It will take a lot of practice. We'll see. I do hope he keeps it up and doesn't suffer a debilitating injury. Its very entertaining and very effective.

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Think about this: the only thing Curry has done differently this year is shoot a *ton* more 3-pointers than before. He didn't magically get a lot better. Maybe this season, he discovered a weapon so lethal that the rest of the league is helpless to do anything about it, and will be unable to counteract it in the years going forward.

here's a good breakdown of his increased accuracy combined with increased number of shots this year, and just how extraordinary it is: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/stephen-curry-is-the-revolution/

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What does it take to be a great 3 point shooter???   Here is a 40 minute interview/podcast wherein JJ Redick, shooting guard for the LA Clippers and this year's current % leader for 3 pt shooting interviews Kyle Korver; an excellent 3 pt shooter who after over a decade of play, finally made the all star team last year.  (Redick is impressed and jealous.).

They discuss the process, the practice, their development, other great 3 pt shooters--(obviously Curry).  Its 40 minutes and I've only gotten through 20 minutes (which included 2 ads) but it was very interesting....and probably great guidance for young players that want to develop this skill.  A lot more goes into it than I ever would have imagined.

I bet they'd both like to interview Curry to learn his secrets.  Curry is the master, ranked 2nd all time (career %wise) (behind his coach...of all people) and gets up more from more spots more quickly than anyone else ever has.

There is a lot to it...and a lot of it I found surprising.

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"Steph Curry Could Become First Scoring Leader in NBA's 50-40-90 Club" by Matt Moore on cbssports.com

My question: Who in the hell are José Calderí³n and Meyers Leonard? :)

Unless I'm misreading something, I'm pretty sure that the article has a mistake in it: Meyers Leonard already accomplished the feat *last* season, and is not even *close* to doing it again this season, so I'm not sure who fact-checked this piece. (The guy is 7'1" and shot 40% from 3-point range? And hit 90% of his free throws? Are you kidding me?)

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On 5/9/2016 at 2:33 PM, DonRocks said:

...and he won it.  With a unanimous vote, the only time in NBA history somebody won that award with a unanimous award.  Certainly deserving as not only did he have a statistically phenomenal season but his team won a record 73 games and had a resounding point differential difference between it and its opponents,  He was great and his team dominated.  Two MVP awards in a row for Curry.  Relatively rare.  On top of that point guards and guards in general are in the minority for MVP awards.  

When the season started Curry was NOT the "first choice" among voices as the NBA preseason choice for MVP.  Many thought his prior year was an anomaly.  Curry proved all doubters wrong.  

He is a revolutionary force in the NBA, changing the style from inside focus to outside focus.  Here is a remarkable chart showing just how amazing his volume of 3 pointers have been this year.  But its not just 3 pointers, the guy converts layups at about 67%, led the league in points, steals, and in hockey assists (the assist to the assist).  He was great and his team was great.

Curry is not the first great 3 point shooter.  Its been an evolutionary process since the league allowed 3 pointers starting in the 79-80 year...but in the last two years and clearly this year he rocketed 3 pointers into a different dimension...and the nature of the game, at least for the time being.  

I looked into average # of 3 pt ATTEMPTS for the NBA from when the 3 pointer was first legalized in the NBA.   

79-80--2.8 3 pt attempts/team/game

89-90--7.1 3 pt attempts/team/game

99-2000--13.7 3 pt attempts/team/game

From 2007-08 to 2010-11 about 18 3 pt attempts/team/game

Steady increase since then and this past year each team averaged 24 3pt attempts/game.  The league has changed and the pace of change is accelerating.   

A little bit ago I looked at some highlights of games from the 80's.  I've included two video's.  One a partial highlight film from a recent NBA game, in fact a record setter, as the Cavs hit a record 25 3 pointers in a blowout of the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs.  25 3 pointers; 45 3 point attempts, only 42 field goal attempts inside the 3 point line.  It was 3 point shooting nirvana:

But its Curry who is the MVP, the league's leading 3 point shooter and he his shots and those of his teammates are the one's relative to the recent MVP.   Here is a clip from a game this season wherein Golden State hit 20 3 pointers against Boston:

And now a game from the mid 1980's.  Boston vs the Philadelphia 76'ers.  Philly has Moses Malone, Dr. J, and a young Charles Barkly, 3 all time great great players, among the best ever.   Boston has Bird, McHale, Walton, (more all time talents,) plus Dennis Johnson, and Parish...2 more hall of famers.   

The game has dramatically changed.   In so many ways today's game works from the outside to inside.  Curry is the personification of that;  The best 3 point shooter in the game.  He creates his own shots, he receives passes, as has been the norm (the catch and shoot 3 point experts) and he draws defenders that create 3 pointers for teammates.   

Defense has changed entirely.  Before 3 pointers proliferated teams would pack the inside.  Now they need defenders that can both cover the 3 point shooters but dash back into the paint...or dash from the paint to the 3 point line.  

Watch a couple of games from the 80's or 90's and watch today's game with abundant 3 point shooting.  Its a very different game.  

In any case, Stephen Curry is the league leader in this process...and he deserved this MVP award.  More power to him.  He is fun to watch.

 

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PS, postscript to the above.  I happened to have watched some tapes of games from the 80's and 90's.  and I've been watching bits and pieces or full games from these playoffs.  When you compare the game in general between now and those periods its startling how different it is from a spatial perspective both on offense and the necessary defense.  So much of the game has moved from the inside to the outside.  In the 80's and 90's there were a lot of dominant post players.  Even without their shots, there were wing players shooting from way inside the 3 point line and endless drives, along with a lot of banging down low among the crowds fighting for rebounds.  

Now the game is spread out and about the 3 point line.  Golden State is not the only team doing this.  They are merely the best. Coincidentally there are very few talented big men scorers. Virtually no post up talents.  Players drive and pump a pass out to a teammate on the 3 point line.  Lebron James, possibly one of the all time greatest drivers/scorers is driving into the paint...and passing to the 3 point line. Remarkable. 

Meanwhile on defense you need players that can rotate very quickly from inside the paint to the 3 point line and back.  That takes a lot of skill and smarts.  Its simply a very different game.  

And Stephen Curry is its Maestro.    

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