Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry missed four free throws in Game 4 of their series against the Denver Nuggets. It was a botch that shocked Curry himself. After team practice on Tuesday, the two-time MVP talked a bit about those four misses and explained their effect (if any) on his headspace.
Curry shot 10-of-14 from the free-throw line in Game 4. This is very uncharacteristic as he's a 90.8 percent shooter from the charity stripe in the regular season and 89.8 percent in the playoffs. These numbers prove that when Curry misses, either something is wrong with him, or perhaps everything is just a dream. Curry noticed the Nuggets bench taunting him after the misses.
"I kind of laughed it off. I was pointing at Denver's bench, and they were counting how many misses I had because it was so...it was like an out-of-body experience."
"I missed free throws, and I hate it," he said after the game. "It's the worst feeling in the world," Curry said, per NBC Sports.
Curry is not exaggerating. The last time he missed four free throws was in 2008, when he was a Junior at Davidson. One would think that Curry would be crushed, unmotivated, and shattered after those four misses. But there's a good reason why Curry's regarded as the most lethal shooter today. He never loses confidence because he knows he put in the work. Plus, Curry's short-term memory allows him to move on quickly from a disappointing shooting performance.
Curry put up some shots after practice. It's a routine he's been diligently following all these years. He doesn't just put up some extra shots because he missed four free throws. In his mind, he never missed those shots.
"You leave it in the locker room, come in get some reps. In my head, I'm still shooting 100 percent. And going to approach tomorrow the same way. It never lingers too much," Curry said.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has shared his thoughts various times on Curry's incredible mindset. In 2021, when Curry's true shooting reached 66.9 percent, Kerr shared his observations on his elite guard.
"I just think he hasn't just built up his body and his skill over the years, I think he's also built up his mind. He's so strong-willed that he doesn't let things bother him and he knows that the law of averages are going to play out. He has so much belief in himself that he's going to keep shooting. It's the same reason he shoots three-quarter court shots when there's still time on the clock. He doesn't care about the percentages," Kerr said, per Fox Sports.
When LeBron James showed off his photographic memory years ago, fans drooled over the four-time MVP. For them, no one will ever match James' basketball IQ. The same treatment should be given to Curry. In an era populated with advanced statistics, the two-time MVP never lets such numbers get into his head. In his mind, he's still the greatest shooter alive.