The Rise and Rise (and Rise) of Steph Curry: The Wildly Miraculous Quietly Inevitable Success of Golden Stateâ€™s Point Guard, by Grantland
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Splash Brothers!
Found through triketora tweet: https://twitter.com/triketora/status/591832842746793984
Itâ€™s important to stress here that from a historical standpoint, being a hot college shooter who jumps from a small school to the draft bears approximately the same relation to NBA superstardom as being born in the Middle Ages does to owning a castle.
Curry had set the NCAA on fire, set fire to the fire, and then poured jet fuel on it, but he was still a spot-up shooter who stood 6-foot-3 with his shoes on; his realistic best-case scenario looked a lot more like, say, J.J. Redick (a role player who adds a specific dimension to his teamâ€™s offense) than Kobe Bryant (a versatile scorer who passes the â€śso good he gets to star in brooding self-produced documentaries in which no one else speaksâ€ť test).Â His dad had been a situational shooter, and thatâ€™s all Steph was really expected to be; so many players with his approximate profile never made it at all. Itâ€™s not quite fair to say that the world expected him to fail, but MVP? The short, sharp slide to Red Star Belgrade beckoned as at least as likely a prospect.
Hereâ€™s a quick summary of Steph Curryâ€™s NBA career:
2009-10:Â 17.5 PPG, 5.9 APG, .437 3P%; finishes second to Tyreke Evans for rookie of the year.
2010-11:Â 18.6 PPG, 5.8 APG, .442 3P%, .934 FT%; wins the skills challenge during All-Star Weekend; suffers multiple ankle sprains.
2011-12:Â 14.7 PPG (a career low), 5.3 APG (ditto), .455 3P%; needs two surgeries after multiple injuries; winds up playing just 26 games.
2012-13:Â 22.9 PPG, 6.9 APG, .453 3P%, .900 FT%; breaks the NBA record for 3-pointers in a season; reaches the playoffs for the first time, losing to the Spurs in six in the second round.
2013-14:Â 24.0 PPG, 8.5 APG, .424 3P%; starts in his first All-Star Game; loses to the Clippers in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.
2014-15:Â 23.8 PPG, 7.7 APG, .443 3P%, .914 FT%; becomes the fastest player in NBA history to reach 1,000 3-pointers (in 369 games; the previous record-holder, Dennis Scott, needed 457); breaks his own record for 3-pointers in a season; overall leading vote-getter for the All-Star Game; leads Golden State to the best record in the NBA.
This trajectory, if you need it put into context, is both flat-out bonkers and â€” because weâ€™re talking about Curry, and Curry exists on the plane where the impossible and the rational coincide â€” disarmingly natural. Smooth, even. OfÂ courseÂ you follow up two seasons when youâ€™re quasi-written off as an injury case by rewriting the NBA record book; you justÂ do. Itâ€™s as if his whole career has been the kind of long-range shot his whole careerâ€™s been based on: Surely no one can hit it from there, and yet â€¦
At Davidson, Bob McKillopâ€™s offensive scheme perfectly complemented Curryâ€™s strengths. In the same way, every stage in the Warriorsâ€™ recent evolution, from the emergence of his backcourt mate Klay Thompson as a legitimate All-Star to the hiring of Steve Kerr as coach, has worked to Curryâ€™s benefit; so has the overall direction of the game, which keeps placing more emphasis on 3-pointers and free throws and spacing. Still, systemic advantages matter only if you keep hitting your shots.
Golden Stateâ€™s happy tear through the 2014-15 NBA season was abetted by the transition from Mark Jacksonâ€™s relatively slow, iso-heavy half-court offense to Kerrâ€™s free-flowing cloud. Last season, the Warriors threw theÂ fewest passes per gameÂ of any team in the league. This season, theyâ€™re running sets, thinking ahead of the next pass, and using Curry much more off the ball. His numbers arenâ€™t radically different, but he looks more at home in the scheme, which is also just a hell of a lot more fun to watch. He looks like heâ€™s playing in a system that was built for him, because, in effect, this one was.3