Steph Curry caught fire in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 of his team-high 33 points to lead the Warriors to a 105-90 victory over the Clippers. But that’s nothing new. What’s new is Curry’s performance on the other side of the floor.
Draymond praises Curry’s defense
Curry broke his own record of becoming the quickest player to reach 100 three-pointers in the season — it only took him 19 games to do it. But that’s just another argument in what is already a cemented case for the greatest shooter of all time. That’s why Draymond Green wants us to focus on one area Curry has made the biggest improvement over the years, and that’s his defense.
No one talks about Steph’s defense. I think the one thing that’s been constant forever is his effort. Like he’s never not giving effort on that side of the ball.Draymond Green
“I think he used to reach a lot,” Green continued. “He’d be in a great position and just reach in and foul. We just kinda used to harbor him like, ‘yo, stop reaching,’ and it got to the point where he would reach and be like, ‘ahh,’ as soon as he do it. Now, he’s one of the best defenders we have on our team now. It’s beautiful to watch.”
Excessive reaching wasn’t the only problem with Curry on the defensive side of the floor. Teams used to target him in a pick and roll, trying to force Steph into mismatch situations — Ty Lue’s Cleveland Cavaliers won a championship this way. And while occasionally teams still try to do it, it’s no longer everyone’s go-to tactic when facing the Warriors.
Best defensive season in Curry’s career
Especially this year, when Steph blossomed into one of Golden State’s best defensive players. Nineteen games into the season, Curry is posting a 99.2 defensive rating while being top 20 in the league in both deflections and steals — 1.8 per game.
“When he’s giving the type of effort that he’s been giving on that side of the floor, everyone else has to follow,” Draymond said, following a win against the Clippers. “And it makes our defense that much better. Teams are still trying to put him in a pick and roll, which is fine, but we covered that. And part due to where he is defensively, how good he’s gotten. It’s not just this year though. He’s been constantly getting better and last year I thought he was just as good as he is now. But obviously, he continues to get better.”
“He’s one of the best defenders we have on our team now.”— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) November 29, 2021
Draymond on Steph’s defense 💯 pic.twitter.com/ZAC7K9KtbB
Curry’s improved frame is crucial for his development as a defender. The effort has always been there, and now he finally has the tools to thrive on that side of the floor as well. Offensively, he’s one of the best we’ve ever seen. Defensively, he’s far from liability from a few years ago.