By Johnathan Tillman / @thetillshow
I love Steph Curry as a basketball player and example of a good man, husband and father. Everybody does. In the basketball realm where LeBron is essentially John Cena, Steph is Daniel Bryan: the baby face that gets loud, popping cheers as soon as the slightly hard rock version of "Flight of the Valkyries" begins. As soon as a shot from Curry's hand drops through the net, home and visiting arenas express their awe through an eruption of cheer or a wave of disbelief. We undoubtedly love everything Steph brings to the NBA. But there is something we overlook: Steph Curry is a very disrespectful basketball player.
This isn't a bash. The things and scenarios I'm about to highlight are my favorite facets of Steph's game. He is an exalted version of my favorite hooper archetype: the free-flowing guard.
Let's start with shot selection. Curry averages 11.3 three-point attempts per game. Typically, eleven threes get hosted when said player has started the game making four or five. Curry gets a green light that makes fellow marksmen like Kyle Korver envious.
But it's not just that he shoots so many long-distance jumpers. The fact that he takes most of his threes off his dribble adds to his basketball rudeness. Defenders know he'll shoot at any time, and it is this ideal that crumbles essential basketball principles. Let's look at the evidence.
Exhibit A: This is a bad shot for anyone else except Steph. The reason is that even as we marvel at his obvious gift, it is also evident he's rigorously harnessed said gift into a weapon that is fired at any time with the breathtaking accuracy of a layup. And speaking of layups, even those are disrespectful.
Exhibit B: Steph knows his jumper is extraordinarily lethal. He's shot a three and knew it was going in without having the uncertainty of watching the attempt. That is terrifying to defenders because it debunks the philosophy that a "good contest" of his shot will be a hindrance to him. "Play good defense. He will miss, eventually." Curry eliminates the idea that a defender's hand matters in the probability of make or miss. That means the only way to ensure a miss is if the defender blocks it. So said defender is discouraged if he contrasts with no block, thinking, "I hope he misses," instead of, "Good defense." It's that element of mental damage that gets overlooked as we cheer in awe, but Curry is well aware of it.
I know Steph Curry didn't do this last night. pic.twitter.com/BgIst8oRIj
— Dynamics • £ (@theDYNAMICS) October 6, 2015
Exhibit C: Steph knows he's a killer on the court. All his dancing and celebrations with the crowd, which I love, are his expression of the realization his jumper delivers punishing blows to his opponent's psyche. He's not taunting the other team, but he isn't necessarily ignoring his dominance over them, either. He's found the point between gloating and jubilation that has him adored by everyone, with no one trying to punch him in the face. He's Wayne Gretzky with a crossover: Touch him and be excommunicated.
I love Steph Curry. We love Steph Curry. But that man is as cold-blooded as an NBA assassin as any of our historic elite scorers. He's after hearts: he warms ours in the audience as he obliterates the ones of his goes on the court.
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