June 5, 2015

TOO BAD THE GAME IS UNWATCHABLE:

Outsider Artist: Understanding the Beauty of Steph Curry's Jumper (KIRK GOLDSBERRY, 6/04/15, Grantland)


There's never been a player like this. When Curry is hot, he can make a 3-pointer look as effortless as a clear-lane layup. He is changing how we think of 3-point shooting, and he's doing it as a point guard. Point guards aren't supposed to lead the NBA in made 3s, let alone break Ray Allen's shooting records. Curry doesn't care. He may play in Oakland, but in the parlance of nearby Silicon Valley, he has disrupted the perimeter market by doing things his own way. Now he's the CEO of the most exciting start-up venture in town.


Usually, 3-pointers are catch-and-shoot affairs. A playmaker wreaks havoc somewhere in the middle of the floor, defensive help collapses on him, and the playmaker finds the open man on the perimeter. The shooter collects the pass, sets his feet, and rises for a relatively clean, unfettered look at the rim. After all, it takes time and space to launch a 9-inch-wide ball through an elevated 18-inch-wide metal ring located 25 feet away. As a result, 84 percent of NBA 3s involve an assist, and 76 percent of 3s do not involve any dribbling by the shooter. But, of course, these typicalities do not apply to Wardell Stephen Curry II.

It's not that Curry isn't a good catch-and-shoot guy -- he most certainly is. He tied for ninth in the league by knocking down 136 no-dribble 3s this season, hitting at a ridiculous 47 percent clip. As you can see above, he's absolutely lethal in the corners, which is almost exclusively a catch-and-shoot zone. But while those are admirable numbers, catch-and-shoot specialists seldom make the All-Star team, let alone walk away with the MVP trophy. Something else is going on here.
 

It's telling that the NBA's top two MVP candidates -- Curry and Houston's James Harden -- happen to be the best at creating unassisted 3s. But with all due respect to the inventive skills of Harden, Curry is the patent-holder of the unassisted triple. Nobody on earth can self-generate beyond the arc like he can. This season, the Denver Nuggets ranked 11th in the NBA with 106 unassisted 3s. Curry had 118 by himself.

Posted by at June 5, 2015 7:25 PM
  

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