At 6'3" and a 180 lbs soaking wet in a fur coat, some doubt Stephen Curry's ability to be even a mid-level lead guard in the NBA. They do not think that he has the upper body strength to be able to explode into defensive seams and use his strength to carry a defender to the basket.
They also question his ability to maintain his dribble when he gets bodied up by bigger defenders.
Without elite-level athleticism and slightly above average lateral quickness, the size further becomes a detriment on the defensive end too. With the new crop of point guards who are multi-dimensional and can push it in transition or hit the post, some wonder if the sharp-shooting Curry will ever be effective in the NBA.
Even as a two-time player of the year in his conference, scouts no doubt note that this was a mid-major school and that he only truly ever played against mid-major talent. Although they do acknowledge that he can shoot, they doubt whether or not he will ever be a true point guard in a relatively weak draft class with only one surefire star.
Ladies and gentlemen, with the No. 15 pick in the 1996 NBA draft, the Phoenix suns select Steve Nash, Guard, and University of Santa Clara.
Get my point yet?
Stephen Curry is a similar talent to the two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, albeit it with certain distinctions. Steve Nash did not do what Stephen Curry did in the '07-'08 NCAA tournament.
With the teams absolutely geared up to stop him, Curry still went on to score 40 points against Gonzaga, 30 against Georgetown, 33 against Wisconsin and 25 against the eventual champion Kansas Jayhawks—the kid does not back down.
One of Steve Nash's greatest assets is his inability to be selfish. The man would pass his kidney to you on a break if it could help you, and Stephen Curry has that same trait.
On Nov. 25, 2008, with Loyola College hell bent on stopping him and employing a triangle and two, Stephen Curry scored zero points for the first time in his illustrious career.
He willingly accepted the double and triple teams and kept the ball moving while leading his team to a 30-point win. That’s the mark of a true team player and not just one who professes it in post-game conversations.
Although Steve Nash has never dunked on anyone in his career, he still manages to shoot a high percentage from the field by using angles, both on the way he positions his would-be defenders and on the release of his vast array of shots in his arsenal.
Stephen Curry also has those shots, from the running one-hand bank shot to the left-handed tear drop on the right side of the rim; he has mastered the knack of scoring over bigger and stronger defenders, a la Steve Nash.
Furthermore, with the loss of two-time NCAA assists leader Jason Richards from the Davidson roster in the '08-'09 season, Curry was called on by coach Bob McKillop to become the lead guard in addition to scoring at the clip that would make Davidson successful.
He handled the transition like a pro. Although he struggled against teams like West Virginia who switched all screens on him with a big, he kept Davidson successful.
The amount of resolve and steely determination to absolutely make the world pay for their dismissal of him is unquantifiable and will serve to make him a legitimate pro and a future all-star.
If that work ethic can translate to other facets of his game, Curry can become even more dangerous. For example, even though he can handle pressure and typically get where he wants on the floor, I still believe there is room for improvement in this area.
I also feel that he needs to improve his lateral quickness a bit more, so that with his jump shot he can develop a killer step-back/pull-up like Sam Cassell, who used to set people up for that shot by taking hard dribbles laterally.
Also he needs to improve his overall strength—his upper body so that he can further carry defenders to the rim, and his lower body so that he can keep a strong base when defending bigger guards in the post.
His decision making will improve as he becomes more familiar with the position (do not forget that last year was his first at the 1 and all he did was make the AP First Team All-America Team—not bad for your first year on the job).
Although unlike Nash he will not likely have the luxury of learning from established pros like Kevin Johnson, Sam Cassell and Jason Kidd, Curry will nonetheless emerge as a certified all-star. He is already a legitimate threat from 30 feet and in.
So here’s to the new Steve Nash, Stephen Curry—godspeed and make all believers.
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