What if I told you a National Basketball Association (NBA) player who stands 6’3 and weighs 180 pounds was the hardest player to guard. Where in a league the average player stands 6’6-6’8 and weighs 221 pounds, would you believe me? Well you should.
The player I am talking about is none other than Golden State Warriors point Guard Stephen Curry. Coming off a 2014-15 MVP season where he averaged 23.8 points, 7.7 assists, and 4.3 rebounds a game. While shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 44.3 percent from three point range. All while leading his team to a NBA Finals Championship.
To prove that Curry’s 2014-2015 MVP campaign wasn’t a fluke, this season Curry has improved in points per game average from 23.8 to 30.5. However, Curry’s points per game average could be higher if he didn’t sit out 18 fourth quarters. Not due to injury, but because his team was winning by so much.
What is even more impressive is Curry 46 shooting percentage from three point range which has him ranked second in the league. The funny thing is, Curry has shoot 714 three pointers compared to Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard JJ Reddick who is leading the league in three percentage shooting at 48 percent. But Reddick has only attempted 359 compared to Curry’s 714 which makes Curry’s 46 percent from three point range more impressive.
Why wouldn’t Curry’s opponents just force him to drive into the lane? Because when you take a look at his shooting from inside the arc (inside three point range) Curry is shooting 57 percent and is ranked in the top ten (7th). The rest of the players on this list are either centers or power forwards, who live near the basket and nearly all their shots come from close range.
Despite Currys amazing numbers, there are still some critics who do not give him the credit he deserves. Former NBA player and hall of famer Oscar Robertson says:
“[Curry] has shot well because of what’s going on in basketball today. In basketball today, it’s almost like if you can dunk or make a three-point shot, you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread…there have been some great shooters in the past…but here again, when I played…if you shot outside and hit it, the next time I’m going to be up on top of you. I’m going to pressure you with three-quarters, half-court defense. But now they don’t do that. These coaches do not understand the game of basketball, as far as I’m concerned.”
Now I do not know if Oscar is watching the same game everyone is because in fact opposing players pick up Curry at three quarters court and Curry will still shoot it. The NBA three point ranges from 21-23 feet but Curry is shooting threes from 28 feet and beyond and on those shoots Curry is 34-50 which gives him a shooting percentage of 68 percent.
You also have to take into account that if you press Curry, he also has the ability to get around with ball handling skills. That will allow Curry to get to the lane where his shooting 57 percent. When a player is this deadly with ball in his hands, how can you stop him. You can’t, you just have to hope you can contain him.