Sharpshooter Steph Curry Makes It Look Easy And Effortless


Sharpshooters Have Uncanny Accuracy

By John Ventola

Ever since Dr. James Naismith hung a couple of peach baskets up in a Springfield, Massachusetts gymnasium in 1891 and laid down his thirteen rules of basketball, there have been sharpshooters. Folks with a special knack of putting the ball in the basket. Surely, the game has evolved (peach baskets had no hole in the bottom and someone had to retrieve the ball, a basketball replaced the first used soccer ball), as backboards, rims, nets, and numerous rule changes all made their appearances while the game flourished in the twentieth century. Today, the sport enjoys immense fan popularity, despite playing professional schedules that never seem to end.

Naismith created the sport and later started the University of Kansas program, but today’s version, which depends so much on speed, movement, and height, has gone


Rule Changes Abounded, But Shooting Always Critical

through so many rule changes that the only thing that remains consistent with the doctor’s rendering is the shooting aspect . After all, the game he envisioned was about outscoring the opponent, and if you are straddled with players that cannot put the basketball in the basket, it is going to be a long game, and a longer season. Dribbling was not even in Naismith’s original version. Passing, defense, and shooting, but no dribbling.

The old two-handed set shot used in the early years gave way to the more athletic jumpshot and solid, close to the basket, post moves. The sport has seen many star caliber players through the years and basketball is now played around the world. The National Basketball Association (NBA) features many European stars in its league, while a number of Americans not quite able to make the NBA showcase their talents in Israel, Spain, and other countries. Wherever the game is played, defense and teamwork are elements of a successful team, but make no mistake, offensive basketball is what brings fans to the arenas. And someone who can swish the nets is the main attraction. Stephen (Steph) Curry, now in his sixth professional season, is currently the game’s top shooting star. His accuracy and range are uncanny.

While Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Allen Iverson, and others all enjoyed considerable fame for their talents within the systems of their day, Michael Jordan led the way as far as putting the spotlight on shooting guards. Earvin Johnson scored in many different


Big Men Still Dominate But Guard Play Important

ways (the guy actually played center in a championship game once), but his guard play was more about pizzazz and showmanship than outside shooting. Kobe Bryant took the torch from Jordan, and most recently, Stephen (Steph) Curry, and all around scorer Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City, have put shooting accuracy by guards in the spotlight.

The success of a basketball player is not determined solely by his scoring average. There is a unique difference between being a scorer and a sharpshooter. LeBron James is an outstanding player, great at all aspects of the game, and capable of taking over any game with his scoring. However, he uses his movement, height, and athleticism to position himself for a lot of mid-range or close in shots. Curry, on the other hand, epitomizes the long-range bomber, a true sharpshooter that can put down a three in the blink of an eye. Westbrook, pretty much the same thing. Curry gave an indication of his shooting accuracy when he led the NBA in free throw shooting in his second season, hitting an unbelievable 212 out of 227 attempts, for a .934 percentage. Curry led the league in three point field goals in 2012-13, hitting 272 of 600 attempts for a .453 percentage, and then followed it up in 2013-14 by hitting 261 of 615 for an.424 average. So far, during this magical season for the Warriors, he has made 200 three-pointers. Most have come at crucial times, as his usual 20-24 points per game generally lead a well-balanced scoring team.

I attended LSU when Pete Maravich was setting national collegiate scoring records. During his career. Peter The Pointmaker averaged 44.2 ppg during his three years (freshmen could not play varsity at that time), and was a magician at getting off shots against all kinds of defenses cooked up to stop him. Sadly, the Tigers had him and little else during his career, and the three-point line had not been implemented by the time he finished in 1970.

As good a scorer as he was, I felt there were guys in the SEC at that time that were more accurate shooters than Maravich. Difference was his ball-handling skills, his maneuverability, and his unbelievable athleticism. He could get off shots that other guys could only imagine. And then, Maravich would have been unreal if he had been guarded by just one player. He was constantly double and triple teamed.

The 6-ft 3-inch Curry is featured in a current television ad taking a very long shot and turning toward the camera as soon as he releases the ball. Of course, we have seen trick shots such as this for years. We get the visual image of the ball swishing through the net in the background. And then we are left to ponder how many shots it took, or how the camera trickery was pulled off. Well, I saw Curry pull the same thing in a Golden State game last week. He pulled up, gave a head fake to get the defender in the air, shot a three pointer from the left side of the top of the key, and immediately turned to run back up court, chewing on his plastic mouthpiece. He did not see if the ball went in—-he knew it went in. Sharpshooter, indeed.

The Warrior guard came by his talent the old-fashioned way. DNA, and hard work. His


It Is In The Genes, Curry’s Dad Was 16-Year NBA Player

dad Dell was a top scorer for Virginia Tech in the early ‘80s and went on to enjoy a 16 year NBA career, retiring as the Charlotte Hornets top career scorer, and all-time leader in three point field goals. Curry’s mom Sonya played volleyball for Virginia Tech.

He played at Davidson and led the team to the NCAA tournament before being drafted with the seventh pick in the 2009 draft. His younger brother Seth played at Liberty College, before finishing his career at Duke. Seth currently plays for an Orlando Magic developmental team.

The other night Steph Curry faked Chris Paul and had the perennial all-star completely befuddled before shooting one of his patented swishers from 25-feet. The Warriors are playing excellent basketball, the franchise’s best since the Rick Barry championship year forty years ago, and it will be interesting to see how far the new sharpshooter in town can take his team in the playoffs.

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