This summer, almost all talk about the Golden State Warriors has revolved around two things: How the team blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals and subsequently signed free agent forward Kevin Durant. Lost in the mix of hoops news is one Stephen Curry, the league’s two-time defending MVP. It makes sense that those would be the storylines getting most run this summer, but with Curry having additional help, it wouldn’t shock anyone if he improved on what he did last season.
USA Today‘s Sam Amick sat down with Brandon Payne, Curry’s trainer, to talk about what Curry has been up to this summer, and it seems like it’s been all business. After resting his knee for a few weeks, the injury that limited Curry in the Finals isn’t expected to be a problem moving forward, and he’s supposedly “the strongest he’s ever been” according to Payne.
One of the more interesting nuggets stemming from the interview is how Payne is working with Curry to neutralize the length of opposing defenders. How is he doing it? Paying close attention to their nose, of course.
Q: Some lessons learned from the OKC series? Their length certainly seemed to bother him.
A: “We’ve really worked on combatting length every offseason – different ways to neutralize it, different ways to try and manipulate defenders’ hands. One of the big things we look at is when a defender drops his hands, and making sure that we put big guys in a position to where they have to drop their hands to open up the shot. So we talked about doing that a lot this year, we worked on it quite a bit.”
“There’s three things that we’re looking for when he gets head up on somebody. The first thing we’re looking for is the position of the nose in relationship to the rest of their body. Is their nose off to one side or the other? Because if it is, then we know he’s going to attack one way or the other. So we’re looking at nose positioning, and we want to make one foot drop, and both hands drop. If you do that, you know where the shot is. If they don’t, then we have ways to space side to side. But we’re looking at nose positioning, foot, hands drop, shot.”
These are the kind of details that we just aren’t privy to. Curry’s ability to get off shots is much more complicated than his ball-handling ability and quick release; he’s studying the mechanics of body movement to give him the edge to neutralize his own physical limitations.
If Curry should improve both his decision making (something Payne addressed in the interview) and his ability to shoot over length, the Warriors are going to continue to give the rest of the NBA fits as they look for ways to defend Curry, Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
(Via USA Today)