Back in the summer of 2009, when Steph Curry was drafted by the Golden State Warriors, nobody knew what to expect. A pure shooter, who had the ability to take over a game at a moment’s notice, Curry certainly attracted a great deal of attention from NBA scouts. His performance in NCAA March Madness catapulted him all the way to the seventh overall pick in the draft.
Curry was far from an ordinary prospect. He didn’t have the size or bulk of a naturally gifted freak, typical of a traditional top-ten NBA Draft pick. But the Warriors looked beyond the potential limitations, choosing to focus on what Curry can do for them from an offensive standpoint. To say they were right would be a massive understatement.
Fast forward ten years into the future, and Curry has already accomplished more than most NBA players could ever imagine. A three-time NBA champion, he has taken the Warriors organization to a new level, mimicking the NFL’s New England Patriots in terms of dominance and consistency. On a personal level, Curry has claimed the NBA MVP Award twice, and he is already a six-time All-Star.
But the most interesting facet of his achievements is the way in which he has achieved it all. Curry is notorious for his three-point shooting abilities. It’s remarkable and fun watching him play. The ease with which he shoots the ball from long distance is something that has truly changed the game.
When Curry came into the league, most NBA teams had yet to make the three-point shot a part of their gameplan to actually win games. Shooting threes was more of a complement to the more traditional method of attacking the paint. Steph changed all of that, when he showed that he can make those shot attempts at a much higher rate than ever before. From a mathematical standpoint, as the shooting percentage rises from beyond the arc, it becomes a more valuable shot. It could even become more preferable to a higher-percentage two-point bucket.
Compare two players who each took ten shots from the field. The first shot 50 percent from the field on attempts worth two points each, while the other shot 40 percent on his ten shots from three-point range. Player A would have accumulated 10 points (5 made shots x 2 points each) on his five made shots, while Player B would have a total of 12 points (4 made shots x 3 points each). In such a case, the preferred shot attempt would be clearly be from player B, who despite having a lower shooting percentage, still garnered more points for his team.
The effects of Curry’s game have ripple far beyond the confines of the Bay Area. In fact, never in the history of the NBA has the deep three-point shot been utilized as much as the modern NBA. Players are consistently taking shots from way beyond the arc with impressive shooting percentages. Emulating Curry is not easy, but other players around the league began to realize the dramatic benefits it would add to their respective games.
Opponents preparing to play Golden State know they cannot afford to give him much space to operate. All he needs is just a little bit of daylight, and he can get his pure shot off in a hurry. By forcing opposing defenders to step out far beyond the three point line, it creates major open space in the paint, allowing his teammates to operate freely in scoring position.
Curry’s contributions to the game of basketball are undeniable, and we are all privileged to be witnessing greatness in the making.