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Gary Payton talks about how he would approach guarding Steph Curry

Gary Payton knows a thing or two when it comes to stopping the opposing team's star players.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Gary Payton

Steph Curry and Gary Payton

Gary Payton is one of the greatest defensive guards of all time. The Glove was a 9-time All-Defensive Team member, and he didn’t back down against anyone. GP ran his mouth wild and backed it up on the court - the guy knows what he’s talking about when shutting the other team’s star players down. And he offers his insights on how to stop Steph Curry.

“Get the ball out of his hands”

Steph Curry is hard to guard because he has improved areas of his game to cater to his strengths. He bulked up so he could make baskets despite contacts. Steph has developed quick releases suitable for off-the-screen catch-and-shoots, and he also has become an underrated finisher at the rim when the defense decides to close in on him. The system of the Golden State Warriors also puts the shooters in perfect locations to get their shots with a clean look. So what should a defender do?

Sometimes, it’s a matter of hoping and praying that Curry will be off night as it happened in rate times. But for Payton, he argued he would take the ball out of Curry’s hands, deny passes and put a body on him. The Hall of Famer shared his insights in an interview with JJ Redick.

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“When we used to play, we use a hedge and just trap. We trap the basketball and get the ball out of his hands. My job was to deny him getting that basketball. Make it hard for him to get the basketball. Now, I’ll deny him and let them four other players play.”

Gary Payton, Old Man and The Three

The former Seattle Supersonics guard also mentioned applying hedge and trap to the Golden State Warriors star player. Gary added that switching isn’t enough as the big man would get killed every time he faces the likes of Curry, Kyrie Irving, or Damian Lillard.

Easier said than done

Payton had contained bigger, more imposing guards than Curry in his career but guarding him or limiting his impact is easier said than done. While Payton was notorious for clamping down opponents, Steph is just a different beast. He can get hot any time and in any given space. Plus, almost anyone on the Warriors’ lineup can shoot from threes. It’s like picking your poison for other teams.

Steph has faced all sorts of defensive schemes in his career, even those that tried to take him out physically. Almost all of them didn’t work. Instead, he’s at the stage of his career where he knows when to attack and when to create.

Gary Payton’s defensive plan may work on other shooters but may not work on Steph Curry. There’s a reason why Steph is on top of the made 3-pointers list after all. 

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