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Explain One Play: Stephen Curry Drops Marvin Williams

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Stephen Curry made a memorable crossover, followed by an off-the-dribble 3 from the Hornets-Warriors game on Feb 1, 2017.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Golden State Warriors
you spin me right round baby right round
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Curry is starting to resemble MVP 2.0, his form from the 2015-16 season before his knee injury. Before January, we noted how his game still missed key parts of MVP 2.0, such as the off-the-dribble threes, the long logo threes, and those instant Vine highlights. Since January, the off-the-dribble shots seem to be coming back, and he’s started giving himself the green light from logo distance. Tonight was his most efficient game of the year, bombing 11-15 from three point range, mostly off-the-dribble or from logo distance.

And of course, the most memorable three. Let’s just show it, and see if you can recognize the play the W’s ran.

If you said it was a Loop play, you were correct. It starts with Kemba Walker calling for Marvin Williams to switch from guarding Draymond Green to Curry. This seemed unnecessary. Then you can see the W’s organizing three screens for Curry to run off along the baseline. Note Kevin Durant and Patrick McCaw giving Curry the thumb-back “use my screen” symbol.

For comparison, here’s a classic triple Loop from the start of last year:

Anyway, back to tonight’s Loop. The three screens are not great, and Williams does a good job getting around all of them, by going top speed and almost falling down. So he never quite regained his balance following Curry, and he just comes out about two steps too far. A quick crossover dribble to change direction and Williams was on the ground breakdancing. Now Curry serves the God of the Highlight, and once he dropped Williams, he knew he was required to shoot the three at all costs. In this case, it was the right basketball play and he hit the open shot.

Final thoughts

Life is more fun with MVP 2.0 Curry. We’ll see how long he can maintain the form.

One subtle good thing that happened early in the season was that Curry lost the consecutive games with threes streak and Durant lost the consecutive twenty-point game streak. Those kinds of individual streaks can be bad for the team dynamic.

By my calculations, tonights game raised Curry’s 3FG% a whole point: from 188-458 (41.0%) to 199-473 (42.0%).

If you want to read other Explain One Plays about the Loop play, search the Explain One Play Mega-Index for “loop”.