Stephen Curry is the best shooter in the NBA. No debate. Not even a conversation. Watching him in these last two games, against the Pacers and Knicks, the adolescent three-point shooter in me is enamored. The man is pure joy to watch shoot the basketball. He had the Knicks crowd literally murmuring to themselves in disbelief for most of the second half last night. Mike Woodson was triple-teaming him the second he crossed the half-court line. And Curry refused to be denied. It seemed only to provide extra determination to the wiry, impenetrable Curry. The son of former sharpshooter Dell Curry, Steph has been turning heads in Oakland since day one. Now in his fourth season (third full year after missing the second half of last year with an ankle injury), Curry has arrived. Last night’s effort in New York seemed to be a statement to the league, and thus, we shall call it “The Arrival.” Curry, who was snubbed his first All-Star appearance earlier this month, put the Association on notice with his insane show, swishing 11 of his 13 threes. I write “swishing” because Curry’s triples don’t roll around and in. They never knuckle their way through the net the way Tim Hardaway did it. He never coaxes the ball in the way Paul Pierce sometimes has to on tired legs. His shots sneak through the net with ease, sometimes the net barely seems to notice. He could drop threes on a rim that was 12 inches in diameter, rather than the standard 18-inch rim. In other words, his margin of error is greater than anyone I’ve ever seen shoot. The way the net moves (or doesn’t) is evidence of his pinpoint accuracy.
Kyle Korver may be leading the league in 3-point percentage at the moment (.464 to .460), but Curry takes (385 to 304) and makes (177 to 141) more often from distance. Steph Curry is a point guard who can get his own shot whenever he wants it, because of his ball-handling skills. The New York Knicks beat Golden State last night, 109-105, but Steph Curry’s performance made the score irrelevant. Had Klay Thompson or Jarrett Jack been able to step up in David Lee’s absence, Curry’s performance would have surely resulted in another big road win for the Warriors. Curry made the right pass when the Knicks’ triple-team was just too much to overcome, and even Rondo, Parker, or Paul would have had trouble escaping with a dribble. Curry’s night sent shivers down my spine. The game will be saved to the DVR. ”Keep Until I Delete” without a doubt.
The Zone: Curry’s Confidence
It was more than the fact he was 11 of 13 from long-range, or the 54 points on only 28 shots (how’s that for efficiency?). It was the complete and utter belief in himself that Curry possesses that allowed him to reach that proverbial “zone” and stay inside the "zone" that fans see the select few players reach and sustain. We’ve seen Pierce, Kobe, Dirk and Wade get there. We’ve seen Ginobili, Parker, Durant and Westbrook get there. We witnessed LeBron get there and seemingly stay there, starting with Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston last year, and continue on throughout the NBA Finals. But the majority of these guys are taller than 6’3″ and get their shots off over their defenders. While Parker has a silky jumper, his range is roughly 18-23 feet, while Curry’s is comfortable up to 26 or 28 feet, which allows him to attempt so many.
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