Shooters Breakdown Series 5: Stephen Curry

Who is he: Stephen Curry is one of the greatest offensive players of his era and maybe all-time. As the other half of the Splash Brothers (Klay Thompson), he owns the record for 3 pointers made to go along with 3 NBA championships, 2 MVP’s, 6 time 3 point percentage leader, and the list goes on.

Body Type: While Curry is not short for a point guard, he is a smallish player (by NBA standards) with an very athletic build. In essence he has the perfect build for a point guard. Just sturdy enough to fight through screens and contact to get his shot off and maintain his balance. While he can be bullied be bigger guards and players, his slight frame allows for him to move quickly with precise footwork and maintain his balance on the floor and in the air.

Mechanics: Stephen Curry has the perfect shooting form and release. But what separates Curry from his peers is that he can adjust his form depending on range, contact, and shot selection. Let’ start with his hands off the dribble, he usually has his shooting hand slightly to the side of the ball with a v shape between his index finger and thumb. This allows for him to rotate his hand mid delivery before he releases the shot. Curry shots a about 3/4’s off full arm extension when releasing his shot. The ball will be in line perfectly over his head, lead hip, and front foot. This allows for his shot to be very accurate. When he has gathered the ball and is square he almost touches his head with the shooting hand, this is essentially Curry lining up his shot, a lot like a darts player looking for a bulls eye. His feet and shoulders are almost always aligned perfectly while he bends his knees slightly inward as he his gathering power for the shot. He always ends up in a straight line from head to toe by the time he releases the ball. The result is a completely efficient flow of energy through the release. Lastly, Curry is almost always on the balls of his feet (high degree of difficulty). This may be the real strength and secret to his shot. It allows for him to gather the ball as Curry has a consistent dip to his waist to gather ball (he can shoot without the dip). Its allows him to jump quickly and gather ball with his arms are already squaring up for the shot. When on the catch and shoot Curry’s form is almost the same but the subtle difference is that when curry curls he uses the more traditional pivot of his feet while he gathers the ball for the shot. But what is a little different is he is on his tip toes and has a slight hop that allows for his energy to flow evenly through his body. That is the key difference as Curry has mastered the flow of energy through his body depending on the shot. He will slightly adjust his feet to accommodate the energy that is flowing through his body. But from the knees up his body is always square to the basket.

How he gets his shot off: How doesn’t he get his shot off? Off the dribble, catch and shoot, following his shot, using screens, etc. Like Bird and Nash (before him in this series) Curry is an offense of his own, but what separates him is that warps defenses with his range and tireless work effort to continue get open. He never stands still and is always in triple threat form (shoot, pass, dribble). But there is more, Curry isn’t looking for soft spots in the defense he simply just is the soft spot on the floor, his ball handling and vision are so far ahead of the opponents that he often seems like he is always creating a good look. Teams will sometimes even triple team him once his crosses half court, no problem he will beat them with his precise footwork and make a shot 3 point shot from almost half court. Defenses may try to play physical with him, but that is easier said than done is it’s very hard to make enough contact with him to through him off balance. Finally, he creates his shot through his efficient distribution of energy throughout his body through perfect body control and precise footwork. While Klay Thompson has the perfect form Curry has mastered the energy distribution through his body and consumes the energy of the players around him, he is simply a shooting God.

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