Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is considered the best shooter in the NBA.
While Curry doesn’t lead the league in three-point percentage, the league has almost never seen as accurate a shooter as Curry is, particularly off the dribble.
Throughout his career and especially this season, Curry has made highlight reels with dazzling arrays of moves that set him up for open shots.
In February, Curry pulled this number on the Clippers:
This is not a good shot. Curry, at one point, is essentially triple-teamed, dribbles his way out of it, turns around and fires a contested three-pointer while hardly setting his feet.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr knew it wasn’t a good shot, either:
Yet all Kerr can do is shake his head and laugh it off.
Curry is good enough that he gets this kind of leeway. Not only is he a top-1o player in the NBA overall, he’s one of the only players who can both create an open shot with his ball-handling and make shots off the dribble at a high rate.
In an excellent piece from SI’s Rob Mahoney on coaching Curry, Curry describes some of the work that he puts in to master his craft.
Curry and the Warriors go do tons of fundamental training that gives Curry the ability to pull off these shots:
“We do a warm-up drill every day that we practice where we literally work on just pivoting, stepping through, and pick-and-roll footwork. Just break it down, step by step. Those things happen so many times in a game that you might take it for granted — just the coordination it takes to be explosive in certain situations on the floor. So we work on that in practice. Outside of that, I just kind of work on footwork in moves that I normally will make in a game, whether it’s dribble moves into shots or the footwork coming off a screen, things like that.”
Kerr also weighed in and describes the thinking behind letting Curry take some absurd shots:
“There’s some give and take. Obviously [Curry is] so skilled and talented that you give him a lot of rope. Every once in a while you have to reel him in if if you think that he’s trying to do too much or missing something strategically that we’re trying to do. You just tell him. He’s easy to talk to. I’m really, really lucky to coach a star player who’s so willing to accept criticism and respond positively to critiquing.”
Curry obviously works hard on his shooting and his ball-handling, but the smaller things — like various types of footwork — allow him to hit some of his insane shots. Curry’s footwork basically creates the opportunity to for him to set up these shots and then his other skills take over.
He also does intense flashing lights training to help his coordination and reaction time.
Curry puts in the hours of work that makes his style of play possible.
Few other plays in the NBA can pull off some of these moves:
If other plays took some of Curry’s shots, coaches and fans would groan. However, Curry has earned that right through the work he puts in, and denying him the opportunity to play freely would be stifling his own talent and creativity.
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