Welcome to the 8th edition of the Point Guard Project.
PGP1 - John Lucas
PGP2 - Luke Ridnour
PGP3 - Jrue Holiday
PGP4 - Ricky Rubio
PGP5 - Royal Ivey
PGP6 - Damian Lillard
PGP7 - Derek Fisher
This time we are joined by Stephen Curry
The PGP questions:
1) Who did you watch play growing up? And whose game did you try to emulate?
2) What was your first memorable point guard match-up, when you first got into the league?
3) What is your definition for the job of a point guard?
4) How do you determine when to shoot vs. when to pass?
5) What is a typical workout for you like?
6) Do you have any words of advice for young aspiring point guards?
In case you didn't hear, Stephen had himself a game last week in New York:
career high 54 points (11-13 from three!)....to go along with 7 assists and 6 rebounds.
And here I thought 50 point games at the Garden were only reserved for the Likes of Jordan, Kobe, and LeBron.
Truth be told, in his 4th year in the league, Stephen is coming into his own - posting career bests in scoring and assists at 22 (on 45% shooting) and 6.6, respectively (to go along with 4 rebounds a game).
Son of former NBA player Dell Curry (16 years in the league - best season averaged 16.3 points and 2.7 assists a game), Stephen is listed at 6'3" and 185 ibs. and was drafted 7th overall by Golden State out of Davidson. As a sophomore in College, he led Davidson to the Elite 8, where they lost to Kansas (the eventual national champions). Stephen also helped Team USA win gold at the world championships in 2010.
Mr. Curry, welcome to the Point Guard Project:
Summary of answers:
1) Grew up watching a lot of guys - not one in particular. Just a fan of basketball. Try to take bits and pieces of top elite point guards and emulate a combination of all of them.
2) First memorable point guard match-up: None really stick out, but was always a fan of Steve Nash and worked out with Chris Paul before rookie year. It's always fun to play against guys you have a relationship with and try to have a good game.
3) Job of a point guard: being a leader, trying to make all the right plays, and being aggressive. The point guard is the starting point for both the offensive and defense ends. Good point guards make an imprint on the game early and often.
4) When to pass vs. shoot: read the defense and let the play decide for you. Got to be aggressive and get in the paint and make plays. For those that can shoot the ball you have to use that as a threat.
Usually the play develops and will tell you what to do. If you have a guy that's held up on a screen you got to knock down the shot. But if he is right on your tail and you can still get in the paint then you have to make plays.
5) Typical workout: Such a hard question (well, I try my best). Get up as many shot as you can in the summer. 300-500 makes a day - however long it takes. During the season continue to work on your game, protect your legs and stay fresh - but there is still opportunity to work on your game.
6) For aspiring point guards: continue to be a student of the game. You can always learn and get better. And practice at game speed. That's the best way to add those things you learn by watching other players when you are in the gym by yourself.
How about a little bonus???
Care to see Stephen work before a game?
Here you go:
As usual, a few things.
First, I am really into the part about watching many different people growing up and taking something from each one of them and adding it to your game. An amalgamation of skill sets that create a new unique player. Is it not like some sort of evolution?
And it's interesting that Curry mentions Steve Nash - because you can sort of see the similarities in their respective games in terms of shooting ability and craftiness with the ball. Shooting wise, this year Curry is at 45% from the field and 45% from three (47% and 45% for his career, respectively). Nash, currently in his 17th season, is shooting 51% from the field and 44% from three (49% and 43% for his career, respectively). I would argue that Nash is one of the best shooters of all time. Curry is perhaps one of the best contemporary shooters in the league.
How do you get there?
300-500 makes, presumably a day in the summer. And then keeping your game sharp during the season. Look at the workout above - the whole thing took perhaps 10 minutes - but was super efficient.
And there is a flow to it.
First off - start in close with one legged floaters and layup/hook shots. This makes a big difference and helps to get going. Then move out to the mid-range and go around the world. A lot of spot ups, but in the middle get a little rhythm by mixing in one dribble moves: between the leg pull up, behind the back pull-up, step-back, between the leg then step back. All fairly simple variations on a theme, but extremely effective. As a shooter, all you need to do is just create enough space to get your shot off - so sometimes less dribbling is more. The less energy you expend the better!
Then check out his pick and roll work in the second video. Besides a quick one dribble move to create your own shot, pick and rolls are the other way point guards do most of their damage (Steve Nash). In Curry's pre-game routine, make 5 shots coming off either side of the screen. They will mostly be mid-range pull-ups, but mix in some step backs. And on the wings, mix in some drives to the basket/floaters as well as coming off a screen without the ball. And check out how much contact he makes with the screener - you don't want to allow any room for your defender to get over the screen!
Now that you have this skill set and can essentially score from anywhere on the floor - it gives you the confidence to follow his words of advice: "be aggressive - you have to make plays. And the good point guards do it early and often."
Well if you can shoot like that then it's probably something you relish doing!
Much thanks to Stephen Curry for his time!
I Hope you enjoyed this edition of the Point Guard Project!
Stay tuned for more!