As the unequivocal greatest shooter in the history of the league, Golden State Warriors’ superstar Stephen Curry will always be known for his exploits on the offensive end of an NBA floor.
But while Curry continues to dazzle fans with his ridiculous shooting and elite ball-handling, it’s been the defensive side of the ball where the 35-year-old has taken major strides over the last few seasons.
Stephen Curry has spoke about the defensive improvements in his game as he prepares for a 15th year with the Golden State Warriors.
On a recent episode of Gil’s Arena presented by Underdog Content Network, the two-time MVP discussed his transition from exploitable defender teams would pick on, to a steady presence who can be disruptive on that end of the floor.
"“A lot of it was understanding the value of just competing. I always had a try factor, I cared about it. You just get better with reps and understanding the little nuances of how to overcome the physical difference of what it is in the NBA”, Curry said."
While no one will ever classify Curry as a lockdown defender, he is more than capable of playing a role in a championship-level defense. Along with the nuances he speaks about, the four-time NBA champion has undertaken quite the physical transformation from his early days in the league.
Curry is noticeably bigger and stronger than the opening seven or eight years of his career, not only allowing him to fight a lot more on defense, but also battle through contact around the rim when it comes to the offensive side.
After defense played a huge role in the Warriors’ 2022 title, Curry and his teammates will be looking to respond from a down year in 2022-23. They ranked second for defensive rating in 2021-22, but that slipped to 14th last season as their win-loss record followed suit. Curry’s individual defense mirrored that of his team’s — his average steals fell from 1.3 to 0.9, his defensive win shares from 3.4 to 2.0, and his defensive box plus-minus from 0.4 to 0.1.
Although Curry will always be more concerned with being the hub of everything Golden State does offensively, he’ll be acutely aware of the team’s need to find their best defense should they wish to deliver on championship aspirations next season.