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Stephen Curry: How he redefined Basketball and became the most influential player in the history of the NBA

ANALYST
Feature
Timeless

Stephen Curry has changed the way people look at basketball
Stephen Curry has changed the way people look at basketball

The three-point line was only introduced in 1979 after a series of discussions by the NBA. It is astonishing to comprehend that one of the league's all-time great centers, Shaquille O'Neal only attempted 1 three-pointer in his entire career after attempting 22 shots.

Shooting

The teams today take more shots from beyond the arc and also make them because it did wonders for Stephen Curry. Ray Allen is the leader of the total 3-pointers made in the NBA with 2973 makes in 1300 games.

That translates to 2.28 makes-per-game. Stephen Curry is already 5th on the list and has made 2168 treys in just 631 games i.e 3.43 makes-per-game. It is only a matter of time before he reaches the apex point of the list.

Stephen Curry shoots over the defender
Stephen Curry shoots over the defender

In the history of the game, there have been only two instances when a player shot more than 300 three-pointers in a single-season and the two-time MVP is the one who did it on both the instances.

After making 286 baskets from downtown in the 2014-15 season and breaking his own record of 272 3-pointers made, established just a season before, the 'baby-faced assassin' made a ridiculous 402 three-pointers in the 2015-16 season to amaze the whole NBA.

Also Read: 5 Memorable Games of Stephen Curry against the Cleveland Cavaliers

It is because of Curry that the players started adding the 3 point shot to their arsenal and that led to teams emphasizing more on 3-pointers in the practice and launching more often from downtown.

Small-ball lineups

The game of basketball has always been thought of as a sport where only people with height-advantage dominate. Since the league's inception in 1946, the game has seen a lot of big men who used their body and height to annihilate the opposition teams.

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Thanks to the unanimous MVP, that has now changed and the game has become more skill-oriented rather than strength-oriented. Because of the emergence of Curry, the game has moved away from the perimeter and guards have become more valuable today, than ever before.

Today, the game is not just dependent on the center anymore and in fact, the role of the center has been marginalized and the position is not what it once was.

The best example is the Golden State Warriors who went small-ball during the Finals of 2015 by bringing in Andre Iguodala in place of the regular season starting center, Andrew Bogut to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers. Iguodala was named the Finals MVP and it is just another example of how the small-ball lineups have become more prominent in the NBA.

Warriors
Warriors' death-lineup

While other teams may have bigger and stronger players who stand like a wall, the small-ball lineups use relatively shorter and more athletic players to beat the oppositions using their speed. You can put any big-man on Curry and he will beat him using his speed or jump-shot.

The small-ball lineups' rise can be attributed to point guards like Curry who changed the game for the better and paved the way for more athletic guards and players with more talent and skill.

Dribbling (Skill)

Curry has insane handles and dances on the defenders every single night and gets buckets with ease. Even on a night when his shooting deserts him, it is his handles and skill that comes to the rescue and lets him get to the basket and pick up points.

The game heavily relies on skill today and the coaches emphasise more on dribbling practice today, than ever before. His dominance in the NBA has led to more players practicing on their skills and not just on strength.

Curry dribbles past Kevin Love
Curry dribbles past Kevin Love

In today's NBA, even the big-men are spending a lot of time working on their handles and their outside shot and there is no doubt that it is because of players like Stephen Curry who took the game away from the post to skill and perimeter.


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