Steph Curry - Superb Separation (Don't Switch)

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  • Published on:  9/4/2016
  • Steph Curry was the most lethal offensive weapon in the entire league during the regular season. There’s a reason he’s the first unanimous Most Valuable Player. In addition, he’s a back-to-back MVP (first guard since Steve Nash), the scoring champion, and the only member of the 50-40-90 club to lead the league in scoring during the same year. He’s an advanced stats freak (Player efficiency rating (PER) of 31.5), an NBA champion, and a general waking nightmare for NBA defenses. This is a guy who is so dangerous that he even made two defenders run into each other (5:17). This video is about how he kills cross-matches, over aggressive defenders, and switching on the pick and roll.

    The MVP already puts so much pressure on defenses, that you don’t need to make life difficult by cross-matching wrong, especially in transition. Cross-matching is the term for when you have to defend someone different from whoever is guarding you. The Warriors generate so many of their buckets in transition, or even the secondary break, so make sure you get as many people back behind the ball as you can. Once that’s done, get the best (most athletic and/or agile) defender to grab Steph. Don’t leave your big alone on Steph island, waiting for his ankle insurance to kick in.

    After that, in the half court, there’s a lot of clever action the Warriors run to get in their spots, but Steph in a pick and roll is at the heart of most of it. The first option of defending Steph Curry receiving a ball screen is to blitz him high, and force him to give it up. The Cavs did this in the 2015 Finals, but making the Warriors play 4 on 3 with an elite decision maker like Draymond, already on the short roll, is not a recipe for success. That is not featured at all in this video, because that isn’t what this is about.

    The second option should NEVER be explored: there will never ever be a time to go under a screen for Steph Curry. I don’t care if he can’t hit a shot, and is about to put in cryostatis, you should never go under that screen.

    The next option is to show, but don’t switch. That’s when the big comes out to bump the ball handler, or at least disrupt the driving angle, as the guard fights over the screen to get back into position. That’s a pretty sound strategy, except Steph’s playmaking ability is world class, and his release is lighting quick, so he might be able to get his shot off before the big can even get out there.

    Finally, if you do contain Steph, STAY DISCIPLINED. He is relentless with his movement, and as soon as he gives the ball, he might get it back right away. If you relax for even a second, a give-and-go or a backdoor cut will make you look foolish. The Warriors are a combined 140-24 in the last two regular seasons for a reason.

    All clips are from this current (2015-2016) season. There will be a DON'T SWITCH playoff version when the Finals finish.

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