Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No Curry, No Hurry, No Worry

Two weeks ago I discoursed at length about father-son dyads in the basketball universe. I neglected to mention Stephen Curry, the son of former NBA player and current Charlotte Bobcats assistant coach Dell Curry. The father was a 40% career 3-point shooter, and the all-time leading scorer for the Charlotte Hornets. His son seems to have inherited some of the senior Curry's shooting prowess, either through genetic gift or perhaps just youthful osmosis. Tonight he dropped 44 against Oklahoma, which boasts the likely top pick in the next NBA draft. 44 points in a 40-minute game with a college system is quite sick. I happened to be watching the game in a bar when he hit an impossible 3-pointer in the final minute, and I went bananas when the ball rained through. People in the bar thought I was a little nuts.

At 6'2", Curry will likely have problems trying to play the same "hero" game in the NBA. Shooting guards in the pros are 6'6" and up; like other smallish shooters like J.J. Redick and Salim Stoudamire, Curry will be often stymied at the offensive end, and will be routinely embarrassed on D. Curry needs to work on his handle and his passing skills if he wants a niche in the league. Happily, in the first three games of this season, he's averaging seven assists, after averaging only three assists in each of his previous two seasons.

In the area of News You Can Use, I just learned from Wikipedia that the father and son actually have the same name: the elder is named Wardell Stephen Curry, while the younger is named Wardell Stephen Curry II.


H.O.S.S. said...

The Dell/Stephen Curry father/son combo is an interesting one for a couple of reasons. First, it reminds us that even an NBA player not known for his athleticism is genetically gifted and able to pass on serious talent to his son.

Second, it begs the question: is shooting touch nature or nurture? I'm sure Dell Curry makes a great shooting coach. On the other hand, one has to wonder whether certain people have genetically better muscle memory than others? Any coach will tell his players that your shot in basketball should follow the same form every single time. But why is it that even people who practice their shots non-stop have such varying degrees of success in being consistent in their form? Shaq looks like he's shooting differently every time he shoots, while Jason Kapono, Ray Allen and the Curries of the world are models of perfect consistency.

Bhel Atlantic said...

Well, not every great NBA shooter has a kid who is an NBA-quality shooter. Look at the discussion of Michael Jordan's son in my previous post about father-sons. Stephen Curry stands out as an exception to the norm.

That said, I suspect the younger Curry benefits from both genetics and from his dad's training.

It's interesting, though, that there is no single agreed-upon form that leads to shooting success. For example, Shawn Marion and to some extent Ray Allen look like they're just heaving the ball up there with no attention to mechanics, but it always (well, often) goes in. (Note, I know that Ray Allen is usually described as possessing a classically sweet shot, but to me he looks off-balance.)

Bhel Atlantic said...

(Those links are to short Youtube clips)