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Worried About Curry’s J?

Curry participated in a shooting drill with Acie Law after practice. They had to make a combined total of 10 from a spot before moving on. Law clearly made more.
Not trying to ring the alarm, but it is something I am watching closely: Stephen Curry’s shot.
He’s shooting 31.5 percent from the field, 22.2 percent from 3-point range. But the bigger sign to me is that Curry is missing in practice, too.
No one seems to be worried about it, as Curry is known to be a shooter. Nelson said he has no concerns at all.
NELLIE: “Hey, he’s a rookie. He’s got a lot to learn. Guys are different, they’re more athletic. He’ll figure it out.”
But Curry seems to be getting frustrated with his stroke’s inconsistency.


The Warriors are not above drafting shooters who struggle with shooting (Mike Dunleavy, Marco Belinelli). And Curry’s entire game is centered on his ability to shoot. It sets up his drive. It draws defenders, which opens up passing lanes. It helps his defense, as it makes his man work harder on defense (few things are more depressing on the court than playing good, hard defense and the guy still makes the shot).
Curry is no doubt still adjusting. The 3-pointer is farther than in college, the defenders close out faster, it’s harder to get open looks, etc. But you can tell he thinks he should be knocking down shots by now, as he is reacting noticeably when he misses.
He’s doing OK on the shots on the move. His runner is going down, for sure. But Curry is not sticking the open looks with the consistency you would expect. As rare as they are, he needs to. (That was Belinelli’s undoing. He could nail a fall-away 25-footer with a hand in his face with ease. Give him a wide-open 3 from the corner and it was the furthest thing from guaranteed.)
Standing next to Morrow makes the best shooters look inconsistent, so it is unfair to expect Curry to be as lights out. But all these comparison’s to Steve Nash left me thinking he was money from the perimeter. Sometimes, it certainly looks that way. But there are lots of times where it doesn’t.
If Curry is a streaky, volume shooter at the pro-level, that wouldn’t be the best thing. Nash kills defenses because if you leave him open, he’s going to make it. And you have to account for that. If Curry’s shot can’t be relied on, teams are going to figure that out and that will hamper his ability to get to the basket. Because he’s not strong enough (like a Baron or Chauncey) or fast enough (like a Tony Parker or Monta Ellis) to get to the basket while teams are gearing up for him to penetrate. Curry needs his shot to open up his drive. Without it, he’s much easier to corral.
So his shooting struggles, to me, are worthy watching.

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C.J. Watson and Anthony Morrow played one-on-one after practice. I will say, it is amazing how foot work on defense goes overlooked in the NBA. I remember the drills and teaching from high school about how your stance is supposed to be – legs wide, sit low, feet active, paying attention to angles, eyes on the ball and man, etc.
Watching those two play one-on-one, I saw little evidence of any of the basic defensive principles I remember learning. Athleticism covers up fundamentals only so much.

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Jackson did not talk to the media today. Not because he wasn’t willing. I was interviewing Biedrins when Jackson came off the court. Nobody stopped him. He got an unofficial day off from the media.
The Warriors owe us.

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Acie Law is the smallest point-forward in the history of basketball. Though he’s 6-3, 202 pounds, Nellie has Law playing SF. Why?
There is no minutes for him at point guard. He plays solid, physical defense.

LAW: “I look at it as an opportunity to get a chance to play. I think the biggest thing is he thinks I can defend bigger guards. We have some small guards on our team. I’m a little bigger than them. He feels comfortable playing me on bigger guys.”

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It started in Anaheim. Ellis sprained his ankle early, leaving Curry as the main point guard. Nellie wound up putting Law in next to Curry, and Law matched up with Kobe.
He did as well as you could expect. He was physical and able to hold his ground with Kobe, and wasn’t afraid to give a hard foul.
Since then, Nellie has had Law guard Jackson in practice, getting Law ready for minutes at SF.

LAW: “It’s a challenge. I look forward to that. Jack is one of top players in the league. It’s fun. It’s bettering my game. I’m trying to make him better, being hard, fouling him, making it tough for him. It’s a lot of fun.”

The Warriors have Jackson and Maggette and Azubuike at SF, so I don’t know why Nellie would want Law there.
Maybe he’s preparing for Jackson to be gone, or in case Maggette gets injured. Still, Morrow seems more suitable, though he may not be as good a defender as Law. Or, maybe, Nellie just wants to go with three small guards: Ellis, Curry and Law.

Either way, not sure it’s good news for C.J. Watson. I think is spot is still secure as the third PG, but not as secure.

Marcus Thompson

  • some guy

    Curry’s jumper will be fine. Nash in his 1st full season as a starter shot 36.3%, CP3 shot 43.0% & 43.7% in his 1st 2 seasons.

    What do all 3 have in common? a history of great FT shooting. All 3 were in the mid to upper 80s during their college years.

    Whereas Dunleavy Jr was a career 69% FT shooter in college and Marco was in the 70s over in Europe.

    Plus Curry mostly misses short. not left to right like Dunleavy.

  • SufferedThroughJBCarroll

    Mark Price shot 40% from the field his rookie year and then went on to consistantly shoot high 40′s low 50′s…lol at worrying about Curry’s shot..Try watching some college hoops Marcus.

  • sartre

    I think Marcus makes a legitimate case for concern. It is something to keep an eye on. What gives me cause for encouragement is that Curry appears such a fast learner. If it is a matter of adjustment to this level then he’ll make it. His PG play is already well above that he displayed in summer league. If it is a more fundamental problem of shooting mechanics then I suspect it would have more obviously emerged in college ball.

  • jscrilla

    Wow…you know the warriors suck when their 3rd string point guard shuns them for a shot at being the 2nd string point guard somewhere else. Leaving all that money on the table….sheeeeeeesh. Looks like Dulleavy’s rant on the Warriors destroying players has some credibility…

  • oaktownlar

    Assuming you have an eye and touch, which SJ has, then shooting is the easiest skill in hoops, and his shot will come around. There are lots of good shooters, but only a few good PGs. It’s court sense, vision, the ability to make your teammates better–that’s probably the hardest skill, and from what I’ve seen so far, SJ has it.

    As to Law at 3: I remember I was at a game last year, and Nellie had FIVE legit TWOs on the court at the same time (SJ, ME, AM, JC, and AB), so what’s new?

  • feltbot

    Nash was in, I believe, his 3rd year in the league when Nellie got him. It took him another two years shooting hundreds of jumpers alone with Nowitzki at midnight in the Mavs gym before he started to resemble the shooter he is now. Nash was BOOED unmercifully in Dallas in his first season there.

    And this was after 4 years of college (right?). Marcus’ concern about Curry’s shot is misplaced.

    Moving to Law: “Still, Morrow seems more suitable, though he may not be as good a defender as Law.”

    MAY not be? C’mon Marcus, you can be more honest with your readers than that!

  • Twinkie defense

    Not worried about Curry’s J. He’ll make his name on court vision, ball distribution, BBIQ.

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  • http://kcsportsmediarant.blogspot.com Dr. Murphy

    Thank you MT2!
    It seems like everything from the local reporters these days is either roasting Jackson or slamming the front office.
    I love the insight from practice, news on what the players are doing, etc.
    Its a fresh take to actually hear about real basketball stuff rather than repeated cheap shots at the organization.
    Keep it up!

  • http://Yahoo! PeteyB

    Thanks Marcus!
    I have little concern about Curry’s shooting – he’s got so much in his head right now learning to run an NBA team. Curry’s shots will come around as he gets more comfortable which will come with time and his confidence rises. If anything, I’d be more concerned about Curry’s very average NBA level of athleticism and lack of strength.

    I’m also concerned with Morrow’s below average NBA athleticism, his non-existent defense, and his lack of ability to put the ball on the floor (for a 2 or 3) and finish.

  • commish

    Dude, interesting post; but may I say Curry’s J is the least of our problems. It is fixable. The rest, I doubt it.

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  • MJ

    It’s early but Curry isn’t shooting well. He recognized it yesterday in an interview. He attributes it to having to take different shots in the Dubs offense where as as Davidson he scored a lot more beating the defense down the court and scoring on fast break transitions. Now he is catching and shooting off picks. Working harder on defense too. He had a tough time in SUmmer league too although the newspapers didnt report it. Nash himself didnt shoot well for the first 3-4 years of his career.

  • Wilson

    We all assume that Curry’s jumper will come around, but I can’t help but be a little nervous. Terrible in Summer League, and now in preseason. I never saw him play in college but with his reputation as a deadeye shooter I thought that he would be making his shots right away, with the only question being whether he was quick enough and had good enough handles to play NBA point. The point guard questions have been answered, and that’s all good. Once he begins hitting his jump shot, he’ll be a top ten point, I believe – the one the Warriors have been wanting for years.

    Morrow was money right out of the chute. Curry isn’t. Maybe it’s just a matter of better shot selection and getting comfortable. I’m pretty sure he’ll be a very good shooter. But reputation and promise don’t put points on the board.

  • Jacksonsucks

    I read that Mullin tried to trade Jackson for Teyshaun Prince last year but was nixed by Rowell.

    This Rowell guy is a dick and a big part of the problem.

    I hope that Ellison buys the team and cleans house big time. There are too many dicks in this organization (if you could call it that).

    Fire Rowell first and get the army of Ellison Lawyers to check for loopholes in the Jackson contract and fire Jackson’s ass.

  • Rob W

    Marcus:

    I always though Stephen Curry was a weak shooter in big games. I grabbed his stats from last year’s big games on Davidson’s schedule. See below. Not good. You might be on to something Marcus.

    Oklahoma 12-29 (6-15 3pt)
    NC State 15-33 (4-14 3pt)
    West Va 9-27 (4-16 3pt)
    Purdue 5-26 (2-12 3pt)
    Duke 10-22 (1-8 3pt)
    St Mary 11-27 (4-10 3pt)

    In those particular ‘big’ games, Stephen shot 62-164 (37.80%). From 3pt in these games he shot 21-75 (28.00%).

    Overall, he shot 45.4%. From 3pt, he shot 38.7%.

    Sounds to me that he stacked his stats versus weak competition.

  • earl monroe

    In some of those big games Curry was often Doubled and sometimes trippled.
    Not a real barometer, his shot will come around, if for nothing else than he has
    great form

  • petaluman

    I must admit, I find it really hard to believe that Detroit would ever trade for Stephen Jackson. There’s a little bad blood there. The trade involving Tayshaun would require a 3rd team.

    There are always a lot of aborted deal rumors floating around. Maybe this one got all the way to the final sign-off, or maybe it was only a 2 sentence exchange during a phone call (the 2nd sentence being “No”).

  • OliverStone

    #18 Jackson would’ve been a attractive expiring contract to Detroit back then.

  • petaluman

    I think Detroit would say that SJ has already spent too much time in the Detroit audience. Remember The Brawl?

  • A’s in 2010

    I know its hard to believe but Joe Dumars respects SJacks. When we play DET JoeD always talks about that certain forward killing the Pistons since his days in Indy. There’s this thing called Piston DNA, Stephen Jackson has it.

  • A’s in 2010

    Curry answered the biggest question this offseason and that was ‘Can he be a PG?’. That was a huge question mark. His shot is the least of my worries. He’s showing he can contribute besides scoring by rebounding, getting steals, and racking up assists. He’s the only guy who knows to feed hot hand(usually Morrow), for a rook thats impressive.

  • http://Yahoo! PeteyB

    Petaluman – Agreed. I don’t deny that Dumars/Mully had discussed a deal, but it sure doesn’t make any PR sense – those were Detroit fans he was beating up! Teams like Indiana and Detroit (and Definitely not GSW!) should never be interested in SJAX again!

    Also, SJAX wants to go the Knicks – he’s Harrington’s buddy and LeBron or Bosh or Wade or ? may end up there since they’re clearing cap space. Now why would GM D. Walsh want to get back SJAX whom he traded away a few years back and who is more expensive and just as troublesome now?

  • Perry

    Luckily Don Nelson doesn’t have to follow the “cut your weight by 10 %” rule…..otherwise, we’d be up shit creek without a paddle.

    Read that first sentence carefully……..

    Anyway….”Feltbot”……Nash’s rookie season was basically a wash, not getting any PT behind Kidd in Phoenix.

    Everyone forgets Nash’s introduction into the league didn’t exactly go seamlessly……he was battling for PT until establishing himself in Dallas…….

    That has a lot to do with the fact that he was basically considered an average player barely hanging on in the league…….

    The more PT you get, the more opportunity you have to grow.

    Curry’s PG acumen is very encouraging…..I’m so happy that at least 1 good thing is coming out of his game…………

    I’ve already mentioned my concern about his early shooting woes……..the last thing the Golden State Warriors need is another 37% 4th quarter shooter to add to the 4th quarter scoring droughts that we’re known for league wide.

    Curry needs touches……….plain and simple, to make an impact on the scoring load.

    Look for our leading scoring trio to be Ellis, Jackson and Maggette in 2009-2010.

    I want Stephen Curry to concentrate on becoming a PG in this league……….7, 8 apg, 2-3 spg (steals), 11 – 12 ppg, 3-4 rpg……that would be a fantastic rookie season……he can’t score 11ppg unless he gets like fucking 30 shots…….so his PPG should be around 8 this season.

    Can’t get over 33 shots at Davidson against NC State……wow…..33 shots………

    Anthony Morrow is a shooter, a specialist…..that’s all he is, a catch and shoot guy…….

    Anthony Morrow should try creating off the dribble and practice putting the ball on the floor to open up his mid-range game……imagine him getting 16-18 footers every now and again ….that should help his PPG and get him to the line once in a while…….

    Look…….all I want to see is the team succeed………but let’s not be homers and make excuses………

    Let’s just address our problems and develop a winning organization.

    One side note…..I was thinking about this trade today, mainly because it includes some personal favorite players on both sides:

    Jackson, Ellis and Biedrins to Atlanta,……for:

    J. Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford….

    That leaves Atlanta slim at the 4 ……….but gives Golden State a multitude of options at both ends of the court.

  • http://kcsportsmediarant.blogspot.com Dr. Murphy

    Yo MT2,
    Just read on Rusty Simmons’ blog that Jack said he’s going to tone it down slightly… any more info?

  • Hank

    Wow! It’s not about mechanics, touch, adapting to the speed, bigger defenders, shooting over screens, etc. Only one reason. Curry is NOT IN SHAPE. His LEGS aren’t where they have to be. No one( including himself) expected him to be playing this much. His season will have 2 halves, the first while he’s getting in shape (stronger),shooting 31%, and the second half (with proper nutrition and rest) will be better, guessing 33%. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for next year for the Curry college shooting % to show up. Have faith.