After the Warriors stormed back to defeat the Thunder 121 overtime on Saturday night to improve to 53, and with legend Robertson’s grousing fresh everybody’s minds, our Kevin Draper and Burneko exchanged some emails Dwight Freeney Jersey about how to stop Curry and the Warriors offense, or at least slow it down. Their exchange is below. Draper: Let’s start by ruling out a strategy that a surprising amount of analysts clamor for, but that doesn’t actually work: Doubling Curry.
It sometimes worked two years ago, but not anymore. Over the past two offseasons, Curry has become a much better ball handler, especially under pressure. You’ve seen the crazy dribbling drills. He’s now able to keep his dribble alive under serious pressure while searching for outlet, instead of picking the ball up and getting Eddie Royal Jersey tied up, or having to jump and hopefully find open body.
In the Warriors’ scheme, that open body is almost always Draymond Green, receiving the ball near the top of the key. If he wants he can rise for open three-he’s shooting 40% from distance on the season-but more often than not he attacks the hoop a 4-on-3 situation, against a defense pulled out of position. If Green were a normal power forward this would be okay, but he’s not: he is exceptional playmaker. These 4-on-3s almost always lead to a layup or corner three attempt, which is even better result than Curry uncorking a three. however you try and stop Curry, it must be with only one defending him. Burneko: Yeah, no argument there. The doubling trapping routine that has become the consensus approach to defending Steph on high screens is suicide. But then the question is: Why do teams do it?
This is where the puzzle of trying to figure out a defense against Steph and the Warriors reminds me that I’m talking about human beings with finite physical and psychological stamina and limited tolerance for humiliation. From couch, the least-suicidal defense seems fairly clear: crowd Steph, ride him over the screen at all costs, keep the screener’s back a bit, stay at home on everybody, and just happily surrender like a full half-acre of space between the three-point line and the restricted area to Steph and his roll. Conceptually, the abstract, it makes sense to sell out to Steph inside the three-point line and force him to make 50 floaters; he’s much more like a normal, conceivable 21st-century point guard from 22 feet and than from farther out.