Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Simple Paen To Stephen Curry

One more to tie the record
Tonight in Oakland, in a game that the Warriors needed to avoid the Spurs (and certain doom) in the first round, Warriors point guard Stephen Curry was within deep striking distance of Ray Allen's all-time three-point record. The Spurs did their usual routine of substituting liberally in a game they did not need to win, which is to say they threw in the shock troops, and watched said troops acquit themselves, because the Spurs' bench and coaching is just like that. And then the fourth quarter started, and Curry did his Human Torch impersonation, and when it was all over, the Warriors had ripped off a 19-0 run and gotten a gift from the Suns in their game over Houston, and might wound up with a hobbled Denver team in the first round instead.

So a star came up big, in a home game they needed to have, against bench guys. Big deal, right? And this is where not watching Game just ruins things for you, because anyone who watched Curry in this game saw A Show. His release is from another world; it goes in a blink, to the point where guarding him with a guy who has size doesn't really work, because the size just means the defender can't move fast enough to stop the attempt. When Curry is really on his line, and the fact that he shoots 45% -- 45%! -- from the arc this year, you know that's been happening a lot, he's just unlike any other shooter in the game, and maybe even any that you've ever seen.

It's just that pure, it's just that pretty, it's just that explosive. If you don't like to watch Curry shoot, it's not that you don't like hoop. It's that you don't like beauty.

I guess Dale Ellis or Kevin Durant or Andrew Toney rang down the same echoes for me, but Ellis and Durant both had space and an ability to unravel their long arms to create space, and Toney didn't really have three point range; he lived in a time where the open mid-ranger jumper was a good play. Allen's form is flawless, but he's something of a machine; every shot is more or less the same, and his heyday in Seattle is so long ago that it's hard to remember just how perfect of a machine he was. Curry's dad could shoot it, of course, but pretty much needed to spot up and get the good pass. Curry can cross a guy, draws fouls, passes well, drives solid, and looks for his offense in the flow of the game, rather than changing it. He makes Klay Thompson better, along with his bigs, and honestly, when you shoot it like he does, the temptation is to just take over, rather than facilitate. Curry's going to wind up with around 7 assists a game, too, and he doesn't even have main point guard responsibilities when Jarrett Jack is on the floor.

For all of this, Curry's not perfect; he's injury and turnover prone, doesn't rebound all that well given the number of minutes he plays and the tempo that Golden State runs at, and could finish better at the rack. But he's still just 25, seemingly healthy despite 38 minutes a game, ready to get the national spotlight in a must-see series with Denver, and one of the five best reasons in the league to buy a ticket. Check him out while you can; he's worth your time. And would be, alone in a gym, so long as he had a hoop and a rim.

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