As Kevin Durant and so many others have recalled in recent years, Stephen Curry is the Golden State offensive “system” of the Steve Kerr era. However, the attacking midfielder is not necessarily a direct system, as LeBron James or Luka Doncic might be, or as James Harden might have been, with whom the attack largely depends on their ability to score or find a marked partner, following the various AIDS.
The fact remains that the Warriors’ attack is based on the dribble throw of his double MVP, the fear he inspires, the points he brings and the two men he generates.
Take advantage of the defensive strategy
These finals were probably the most flamboyant example. Up until Game 4, the Celtics chose to defend in “drop coverage” on the leader, a tactic the Cavaliers or Raptors had barely used in the previous Golden State Finals. This offered many good shots for Stephen Curry, who shot 34.3 points with 50% success, including 49% from 3 points, in the first four games!
The counterpart is that Draymond Green could no longer serve as “second creator” and that the Warriors did not benefit from any excess following two-man attacks on Stephen Curry.
As noted by Thinking Basketball, this sequence in Game 4 illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of Ime Udoka’s strategy. A strategy that has changed since Game 5, however, the Celtics have ended up asking their interns to challenge Stephen Curry’s shots.
What’s better to thwart the leader of the Bay … but also to allow Golden State to find its side game.
The humility of poison
In the last two fights, Stephen Curry has seen his shooting average drop (mainly due to his 5 game ending at 7/22 of which 0/9 at 3 points) to 25 points with 44% success, of which the 30% far. But his passing average doubled, from 3.8 to 7.5, while that of Draymond Green went from 5.8 to 7.0.
This is perhaps Stephen Curry’s most underrated strength, and a certain form of misunderstanding. Because when Steve Kerr compares him to Tim Duncan and praises his humility, many are surprised when they think of his parties and his proms. But the humility of the MVP of the last Finals is not in the attitude, it is in the acceptance of his role in the collective game plan, like the Spurs interns, who had progressively given up the keys to the attack on Tony Parker then Kawhi Leonard in Texas.
Stephen Curry’s humility stems from the fact that he takes advantage of the openings he is offered to shoot, but never hesitates to take advantage of the tap-off to serve his teammates. This is what he explained between the lines Ime Udoka, compared to other superstars who have not put so much pressure on the defenses, precisely because they tend to hold the ball longer in their hand, even on two shots.
We can mix things up, be more physical, go under the screen when it’s very far away. We’ve been pretty good at that. But the fact is, he is an extraordinary and spontaneous creator. It’s hard to press him, compared to other guys who don’t want to let go of the ball. Because he finds the boys immediately in space. And, of course, this is where Draymond gives his best, when he can create for others. “
Stephen Curry’s masterpiece?
We can say that these Finals represent (for the moment) Stephen Curry’s masterpiece because they perfectly illustrate all that is, both in terms of shooting and in its role as an offensive “system”.
However, as Todd Whitehead notes, his score was quite different from the regular season. Faced with the “drop coverage” in four of the six games, he therefore used much more the “pick-and-roll” (P&R Ball Handler) and the melee (Handoff). But with the Celtics’ defensive pressure, off-ball screen or catch-and-shoot (Spot Up) play was more difficult to achieve, as were points on the break (Transition). .
More powerful, and therefore more capable of outflanking opponents, Stephen Curry was also able to shine better in one-on-one (Isolation), his efficiency down from the regular season (1.20 points per possession vs 1.06 in the final) but staying at a very high level against a much better defense.
These 2022 finals are the perfect illustration of what makes Stephen Curry so unique: his extreme 3-point efficiency, especially in dribbling, but above all his ability to adapt to opposing defensive cover, shooting when opponents inside are remained on the ground, quickly making the pass when they came to challenge his shots. And it is precisely the fact that he does not hesitate to switch from one to the other, trusting the shot of him or his teammates, to punish the defenses, which is the basis of Steve Kerr’s Warriors game. Their system.
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