Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry came into the NBA as a highly touted guard with the natural ability to shoot the basketball. Still, there were questions about Curry, son of former NBA veteran Dell Curry.
He put up big numbers in college at Division I Mid-Major Davidson and led the Wildcats on a magical run in the NCAA tournament, but would those skills translate to the daily grind of the NBA? Was Curry ultimately more suited to be an NBA shooting guard or a point guard?
Since being drafted by the Warriors in 2009, he has rapidly answered most, if not all the questions concerning his potential as an elite NBA player and shooter.
Other than a lockout-shortened and injury plagued 2011-12, Curry’s numbers have consistently progressed in his four seasons in the NBA. The 2012-13 campaign was his best so far. Taking on the role of Warriors point guard, he averaged career highs in points (22.9) and assists (6.9). He also set a new NBA season record for 3-pointers made with 272, shooting 45 percent from downtown.
What makes Curry an elite shooter and scorer in the NBA?
1. Strong Fundamentals
The most important thing about being a good shooter is proper fundamentals. It goes beyond putting the ball in the basket. Proper mechanics helps a player simplify their shot and get it off quickly. It also conserves energy and allows the player to shoot as well in the final minutes as he does in the first quarter.
Curry’s mechanics are as good as anyone’s. His feet are always squared up and aligned toward the hoop, even when coming off the dribble. His shooting motion is fluid and just as important it’s consistent. Having the same release point, the proper elbow position, his fingers, not his palm, guiding the ball each time allows him to develop a shooter’s touch and almost unlimited range.
2. High Basketball IQ
Even during his days at Davidson, Curry was known for having a high basketball IQ. It helped him to make the transition from shooting guard to point guard during his college career. Many pre-draft scouting reports questioned if he could continue his growth at point guard in the NBA, but he has proven that he can still maintain his scoring average while successfully running the offense. He knows how to shake defenders by coming off ball screens and changing speeds. He also has the ability to play with poise while playing against different defensive looks and rotating defenders.
3. Athletic Ability
Some scouts considered Curry slender and undersized coming out of college and questioned his stamina and ability to be anything more than a spot-up shooter. Not only can he get his shot off over defenders, has the quickness to drive into the lane if they face him up too closely. His athletic ability combined with his knowledge of the game makes him dangerous from anywhere on the floor. It has made Curry one of the NBA’s most entertaining players.
Personally, I have seen Stephen Curry emerge as an elite player. Guarding him in practice convinced me that he could shoot the basketball better than anyone in the country. Being considered as one of the quickest and best defenders, Curry’s release was un-guardable. His work-ethic consisted of not compromising on his shooting form but shooting the basketball the same way each time. He had to shoot a thousand shots per day in college. This kind of work-ethic is what makes players unique.
About the author: Lamar Hull is a former NCAA college basketball player who also played on the European professional circuit. He now writes for Direct2tv. He also has a huge interest in teaching basketball to others. You can also find out more information about Lamar at inspirationalbasketball.com.