Stephen Curry needs to adjust to the pressures of stardom.
Stephen Curry set an exceedingly high expectation level after his dominant playoff performance last season, but should the Golden State Warriors be worried after a shaky preseason and a rather pedestrian first week of the season?
He was completely overshadowed in the first regular-season game by Klay Thompson’s red-hot shooting. In his second contest, Curry scored 38 points but turned the ball over 11 times.
His shooting is getting better and his three-point totals are on the rise, but the turnovers are a major problem so far.
The Warriors are a very deep team, but opponents know that their engine is Steph Curry. He is their primary focus, and if they can stop or slow him down, they have a better chance to win.
During the offseason, coaches studied tape on how to limit his production and what techniques to employ in order to stop Curry.
Teams will definitely use the blueprint drawn up by the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs, where they used a more physical presence on Curry. Curry will have to show that he can sustain the physical grind, especially in the latter part of the season.
Curry needs to understand that he doesn’t have to take every shot when the ball is in his hands. He also shouldn't force the ball to teammates when he can wait for a better option.
Turnovers are a significant index when tracking the development of a star point guard. Curry is improving his offensive production, but he is still consistently turning the ball over.
A point guard strives to have three assists for every turnover. Through four games this season, Curry has a ratio of 1.86-to-1, compared to his career average of 2.03-to-1.
Turnover numbers look bad but they're overrated. Curry's problem is not the amount of TOs but the ill-timed TOs, and TOs in bad locations— Marcus Thompson (@gswscribe) November 3, 2013
Curry needs to stay aggressive, but he has to slow down the decision-making process to limit the mistakes. He has significant help surrounding him, so there is always a backup option.
He needs to take the mindset of a quarterback by going through his reads and checking down to the best option. He can use Andrew Bogut or David Lee for the pick-and-roll or go outside to his perimeter assets in Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala.
Curry has put himself in a hole too often, whether it is being caught by a trap or being forced into making a bad pass. He can’t telegraph his passes or pass the ball unreliably with his opposite hand.
Mark Jackson has come out and said that the turnovers are not acceptable. Curry understands his new focus and must stop giving opponents extra chances.
He produced with his first opportunity by putting up a triple-double in just three quarters versus the Philadelphia 76ers on November 4. His line included 18 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, five steals and a block.
Oh, he only turned the ball over twice. We shall see if the trend continues.
Opposing coaches will roll out different defensive looks to slow down Curry. One of the most common techniques is using the half-court trap that tries to force an easy turnover by way of a steal or an errant pass.
Another style that teams use is physicality. Curry is mostly known for his ankle problems, and teams want to slow him down with a few extra body shots.
Curry is sometimes forced to drive with the ball. When he has no other option, Curry needs to use his body to get to the foul line or use his mid-range jumper or floater to score.
Curry is the most dangerous when he is behind the three-point line. He has the ability to take the quick three-pointer, make a pass or drive to the basket.
As you can see from the video below, Curry is a natural at taking the quick three.
Going forward, Curry needs to utilize his talent by getting the ball out of his hands more often so he can screen defenders or find open spots on the floor. Playing off the ball will let him roam the court more, similar to when Jarrett Jack took over the point duties late in games last season.
He has to realize that wins are more important than stats or breaking his own three-point record. He needs to be comfortable with the ball in his hands in all different situations, whether it is being trapped or in the final seconds of a game.
Coach Jackson needs to run plays that let Iguodala or Thompson take the lead. By creating different looks in the offense, teams won’t always have the luxury of defending Curry at the point.
The team has had success with both of the Splash Brothers running the elevator screens and providing an opportunity for a catch-and-shoot jumper or a three.
By diversifying the playbook, Curry will stand out with his consistent clutch shooting and grow into the role of premier player in today’s Association. The more times he can feed the ball to all of his playmakers, the more spacing he will have to create at a later time.
Curry is diligent, and he will mitigate his turnover problem by working on the passing problems and handling the ball in practice.
I expect to see an assist-to-turnover ratio greater than 2-to-1 by the end of the month. He just has to relax, because there is no pressure here.
He has the rest of the team to rely upon, while he can use his talents like he did right here.
Curry will continue to excel at the point-guard spot and will make adjustments along the way. He is arguably the best shooter in the NBA and a highlight reel almost every game he plays.
It is safe to say that Curry will be just fine.