Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
VIDEO: Stephen Curry drops 29 points against the Pacers
> Stephen Curry is on track to shatter his own NBA record for made 3-pointers in a single season. What makes Curry such a great shooter, and have we seen him at his best yet?
David Aldridge, NBA.com: The ball goes in a lot when Steph shoots it. There is that cogent analysis you’ve come to expect from me. Why does that happen? Genes and a lot of hard work, I reckon. Like all great shooters, Curry has great hand-eye coordination and a lightning quick release. But lots of people have that. Steph’s on a different level.
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: No NBA star makes me think of Malcolm Gladwell‘s “Outliers” theory more than Curry. I’m not all-in on all of Gladwell’s books or musings, but Curry truly looks like a guy who has grooved his game with the 10,000 hours suggested by Gladwell as so vital to success. When he barely catches and shoots, when he puts up a heave from 30 feet seeing only a fraction of the rim at an awkward angle, you just know we’re seeing the results of thousands of sessions in mostly empty gyms, his skills honed for prime time. Factor in a little nature — Dell Curry‘s genetics — with all that nurture and we’ve got a guy who, as long as he’s breathing and on the bright side of 30 years old, can keep getting better.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Like getting to Carnegie Hall — practice, practice, practice. And I mean that. But it’s also Curry’s ability to create space between himself and a defender from virtually any spot on the court that makes any shot — even seeming impossible ones — fathomable. And don’t forget a healthy dose of cocksure confidence. If the Warriors and Curry ever get to the point where he has to play entire fourth quarters, his numbers could go off the charts.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: This had better be Curry at his best because I’m out of adjectives. But something tells me it’s not. The greatness of Curry is in his intelligence, in the way he sees the game and the court. He doesn’t have the speed to beat defenders to a spot, he doesn’t out-muscle opponents to create separation, yet look how often he gets free on the perimeter and how much he gets into the lane. Basketball IQ, with his work ethic, is the difference between a very good shooter and unstoppable.
Shaun Powell, NBA.com: Curry was tutored since birth by one of the best pure shooters ever, so for starters, having Dell Curry as your dad was a nice advantage. He also practices like a maniac. And finally, he’s able to use his tricky dribble to shake his man and create space. Combine mechanics, work ethic and dribble, and this is what you get. My hunch says Curry may not get drastically better, but who cares? If he stays this way for 7-8 years, he’ll put 3-point records into the Wilt-isphere.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: He’s got the genes, but you don’t get this good without a ton of work. And it’s not just the work he’s put in on his shot, but also the ball-handling work that allows him to create the space he needs to shoot, as well as the work he’s put in to become of the league’s best finishers at the basket. If you look at his shooting numbers, his 3-point percentage hasn’t increased that much over the years. But his field goal percentage in the restricted area has gone from 54 percent to 60 percent to 67 percent to 69 percent over the last four seasons. That 69 percent is on par with Blake Griffin or LeBron James this season.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Stephen Curry has a marvelous mix of shooter’s genes and a relentless work ethic that I believe has led him to the point where he has totally reshaped the conversation about the best shooter in the history of the game. There have obviously been other all-time great shooters that have dazzled us over the years. But I cannot remember seeing anyone do it the way Curry has and is right now. And I think he is in the midst of his physical prime, which means we could see more and more of this over the next few seasons. So no, I don’t think we’ve seen him at his absolute best just yet, which is a frightening proposition for the rest of the league.
Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: Everything fits together — the switching, attacking defense that creates opportunities in transition, the shotmaking of his teammates to space the floor around him and their unselfishness in moving the ball quickly, and the fearless confidence that he has earned by way of his own success. And then there is the skill to release his shots instantly from any distance. There has never been anyone like him, and he is now worthy of these historical comparisons because these skills have been converted into a championship.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: I was watching a Warriors game a week or so ago, and I saw Steph Curry dribble up the right side of the floor, turn to his left and sprint into the lane, and halfway across the paint he stopped suddenly, and then he jumped off his left foot and sank a right-handed jumper. At the time I thought it was such a brilliant improvisational shot, until a day later when I stumbled across a video of Curry and Steve Nash working out, and saw that Curry had been practicing that exact shot. My point is, I think Curry is one of the most well-prepared shooters that has ever lived. He’s been shooting jumpers with basically the same form since he was a child. He attempts shots that nobody else attempts, sure, but these are clearly shots he’s practiced in the past.