Taking the ball from one of the several most valuable offensive players in the game normally isn’t a prudent decision. But Steve Kerr and the new Golden State Warriors coaching staff, inheriting roster that was only an average offensive outfit in 2013-2014 despite its obvious talent, are planning to do just that with Stephen Curry..
This strategy doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise. Kerr has hinted since his hiring in May that he’d depart from the deposed Mark Jackson’s isolation-heavy, often-stagnant offensive system, opting for schemes putting far more emphasis on flow and continuity.
A natural byproduct of that stylistic shift is ball movement, an always crucial component of effective offenses – especially those boasting the shooting and passing talents of Golden State’s. But the concept of limiting Curry’s touches compared to last season – when he notched career-highs in points and assists per game, true shooting percentage, usage rate, and PER – is still jarring on the surface. For his part, though, the Warriors superstar understands the benefits of Kerr’s plan.
From Diamond Leung of the Oakland Tribune:
Kerr and his staff are looking to reduce Curry’s workload and have others help create easier scoring opportunities for the point guard who last season averaged career highs of 24 points and 8.5 assists.
“A lot of people talk about the load I had last year,” Curry said Monday at his ThanksUSA Golf Tournament. “Obviously I didn’t feel it on the court. You love having those opportunities to make decisions, but when you’re able to use every piece of talent we have on the roster that can make each others’ jobs a little bit easier, that goes a long way.
“So I’m sure they have the game plan to make it work, and we have to be coachable and figure out how to put the pieces together and make the right plays. Coach and (his staff) have done their homework. I’m sure they’ll learn on the job obviously, but they know based on our roster what to do to put us in the best position to win, so we’ve got to accept that.”
Of course, Kerr wouldn’t be going this route if he didn’t have the personnel on-hand to ably employ it. Key to the Warriors’ offensive success figure to be July signee Shaun Livingston and even recent pick-up Leandro Barbosa.
Golden State lacked a stable secondary ballhandler in 2013-2014 apart from Andre Iguodala, limiting the opportunity Curry had to wield influence whirling around baseline picks for catch-and-shoot opportunities and the like. That won’t be a problem this season with a player like Livingston aboard, and Barbosa is capable of initiating offense, too.
So don’t be surprised if Curry’s raw statistics take a small step back in 2014-2015. That’s a natural, almost inevitable trade-off of spreading the offensive wealth to his teammates and running more sets than simple high pick-and-roll. With that trade-off, though, won’t only come even greater efficiency and less wear-and-tear on Curry, but better team-wide offense, too. Or at least that’s the plan.
And considering the varied and considerable talents of Klay Thompson, Iguodala, David Lee, Andrew Bogut, Draymond Green, Livingston, Harrison Barnes, it’s one we’d be surprised if does not come to fruition.
What do you think?
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