Stephen Curry had somewhat of a Cinderella season. His team had the best regular season record in the NBA and he was the regular season MVP. His teammate Klay Thompson scored 37 points in only one quarter, which is now an NBA record. This much success was not exactly expected of him and his team. Steph Curry set a new NBA record of 276 three pointers in a season.
To cap off Curry’s season, he was put to the ultimate test: an NBA finalist against the best player in the world, Lebron James. Although Curry had a few off games, he showed up when the Warriors needed him and he was victorious in the end.
In comparison to other players in the NBA, the only way to describe Curry’s athletic ability is using the following words and phrases: slow, small, not particularly strong, and can’t jump that high. Think about his position at point guard. What current point guard is slower than Curry? No one. Someone like Russell Westbrook may beat Curry by a whole court length if they raced 10 consecutive back to back suicides against each other. Do you think Stephen Curry is jumping higher than Nate Robinson or lifting more weight than him?
The only part of Steph Curry’s game that he has going for him is his defined skill sets, mental game focus, selflessness, and willingness to continually develop as a basketball player.
If we were playing a video game that could define a player's attributes, Steph Curry’s “Player Rating’s” ability would bring him well below most NBA players and would not be a good representation of his game. His stats would be the following (all out of 10):
- Size – 2
- Strength – 2
- Speed – 4
- Jumping – 5
- Shooting - 10
- Passing - 8
- Dribbling - 9
- Finishing – 7
If you average out these scores, he would get a 58 – which is low. Dragging his score down was his athletic ability. So how did a guy with such athletic ability and high skill sets win the NBA finals?
We have seen this before: a man by the name of Larry Bird. Larry was not the best athlete and lacked much athletic ability compared to other NBA players.
Both Larry and Stephen Curry had three things in common…
1. Both had extremely developed skills sets
2. Both players had an extremely high basketball IQ
3. Both players had good teammates around them
Bird scored 46 points in a game against the Blazers and 22 of those points were with his left hand. Yes, his left hand. Now, given that he is predominately a righty, this is an amazing feat of accomplishment. He was able to use his skills and willingness to improve to make that left hand work magic on the court where most players ignore it.
Bird and curry are very similar, just playing in different areas. Curry obviously was able to train himself to be an amazing ball handler and an even more amazing shooter. By working on what he wasn't that good at, he was able to improve his game drastically. Now look at him - he can split any defender you put in front of him. He achieved this by working on his handling.
There is an important lesson here for 99% of people around the world who will never be considered “athletic” in the NBA. If you want to be good at basketball and you do not have God-given athletic ability, then you better work harder and be mentally focused than all of your competition. It is possible; Stephen Curry and Larry Bird prove it.