Steph Curry has taken the NBA by storm and revolutionized basketball. Is that a good thing? (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
[Please note: Steph Curry is awesome. The title is a little extreme and provocative. And none of this is Curry’s fault.]
Most of the NBA is scrambling to match Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Teams are playing small ball more than ever. They’re hoisting three pointers at a historic rate. On average, there are 23.8 three pointers attempted each game in the NBA this season. That number is up from 22.4 last season, which is up from 21.5 the year before that. 11 years ago less than 15 three pointers were attempted each game. Just four years ago the NBA was averaging only 18.4 three point attempts per game. That’s a 23% increase in only 4 years and a nearly 40% increase over the last decade.
Right now, Steph Curry is the best player in the NBA. We’ve never before seen someone threaten defenses from 27 feet. His efficiency is mind-boggling, especially considering the shots he takes. In addition to being the best shooter in NBA history, Curry is a remarkable distributor and a great finisher at the rim.
Steph Curry is unstoppable.
Steph Curry is amazing.
Steph Curry is an anomaly.
That last part is important. We may never see another Steph Curry. Unfortunately, everyone and anyone now think they can be Curry. I play pick-up ball at least once a week. I love pick up basketball. It’s the one sport anyone can play and pretend they’re talented without a hefty financial investment. Obviously, pick up ball isn’t typically fundamental basketball. It often involves guys recklessly attacking the rim and then making a ridiculous foul call or someone dribbling in circles before chucking a no-look pass into the wall. Not anymore. In the last year or so pickup basketball has become all about jacking as many threes as possible. Contested threes, turnaround threes, and perhaps the most popular of all, the transition three have replaced reasonable jumpers and layups. There are numerous times I don’t even make it inside the arc before someone’s already jacked a three. We’re amateurs, and while I’ve never kept track, I’d wager about 12% of the threes taken actually go in. Did I mention we play on a high school court, which is 4 feet shorter than an NBA three? You know how frustrating it is to see Joe Schmo firing with two defenders in his face over and over and over again while you’re cutting unguarded to the rim? It’s not even basketball anymore. It’s a shooting drill.
David Thorpe covers the NBA for ESPN and is renowned for developing young basketball talent. I came across this tweet and wanted to cry.
@SherwoodStrauss I have seen 7 high school games the last 4 weeks. I saw about 10 "4 pointers" made, many more attempted. That is very new.
— david b. thorpe (@coachthorpe) December 13, 2015
The further kids move away from the basket the uglier the game will become. NBA players drilling 25 footers is an exciting spectacle. College and high school players bricking three and after three is unwatchable. If younger kids are so intent on shooting threes, certain fundamentals of the game will be lost. We’ve already seen the art of the post game disappear over the last half-decade. The midrange jumper is rapidly becoming a dinosaur.
The Warriors are successful and exhilarating because of Steph Curry’s offensive brilliance. There’s only one Steph Curry, though. So please, if you’re a coach, or have any impact on young basketball players, I beg you to teach them more than hoisting three pointers. Basketball needs you. I need you. I’m too young to start golfing.