Steph Curry may be one of the most skilled and creative offensive players in the game today, but one Golden State Warriors teammate says it’s not always easy learning to play with such a unique talent.
Damion Lee, a backup guard for the Warriors and Curry’s brother-in-law, spoke out this week about the difficulties that come with learning to play alongside Curry and his unique style. As Ali Thanwalla of NBC Sports Bay Area noted, even some of Curry’s greatest teammates have struggled with this learning curve.
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Adjusting to Curry
Curry is in the midst of one of the most effective and efficient seasons of his career, leading an otherwise shorthanded Warriors team to the cusp of the playoffs while hitting numbers close to those in his unanimous MVP season. But Lee said that Curry’s dominance can sometimes be difficult for his teammates to handle, forcing them to adjust to him.
“Steph’s one of the most unique players that has ever, ever played in this game,” Lee told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Not only his ability to shoot and score, but everyone sees how he can impact the game from off the ball. So it definitely is a learning curve and it takes guys time to really get adjusted to how he plays, but it’s just a matter of knowing your spots, knowing what you can pick, where you can score, where you can be effective and then it’s kind of an easier transition once you kind of figure that out.”
Curry’s play this season has earned him comparisons to some of the NBA’s greatest players. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said this week that his torrid season — which included a stretch of 11 consecutive games with 30 points or more — reminds him of a certain former Chicago Bulls teammate.
“He’s reminding me of MJ in that you just get so used to the brilliance and the excellence, it sort of blends in with everything else,” Kerr told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “It just becomes routine. It’s insane to say that because what you’re watching is otherworldly, and yet you sort of begin to expect it. That’s probably the purest sign of greatness.”
Overcoming the Learning Curve
As Thanwalla noted for NBC Sports Bay Area, plenty of Curry’s teammates have gone through some bumps while trying to get accustomed to his unique style of play. Kevin Durant took some time to adjust in 2016, she noted, and Kelly Oubre Jr. went through a similar learning curve this season.
The need to adjust has led to some greater difficulties at times. Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated noted, Kerr has been largely resistant to use the pick-and-roll, opting instead to maintain the team’s more active motion offense and its higher degree of difficulty. That presented some difficulties this season for rookie center James Wiseman, who Nakdarni said “looked especially lost” at times when Curry was playing off the ball. The team introduced more pick-and-roll plays for Curry to get Wiseman into action as the year went on, though have reverted back after the rookie suffered a season-ending injury.