Given that he led the league in scoring last year, it’d be silly to suggest there’s any kind of book on stopping Stephen Curry.
But, as demonstrated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in each of their last two Finals battles, it’s possible to slow him down by being physical with the wiry 6-foot-3 guard.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Wednesday that Curry should expect similar strategies going forward – especially during the postseason.
“Teams were absolutely physical with him,” Kerr said, when asked if opposing defenses targeted Curry. “That’s what I would do if I were coaching against him. I think that’s smart.”
It was harder for defenses to key in on Curry during the regular season, since games are generally more relaxed, but there’s an unspoken agreement that rules change during the playoffs.
“I think playoff basketball is a little different than regular season in terms of how physical it is away from the ball. And so we can probably do some things to help him a little bit more in that regard,” Kerr said.
Unlike most prolific scorers, Curry doesn’t always have the ball in his hands. The Warriors love to have him cut off the ball like a shooting guard, before sprinting around screens to pop open for jumpers. That didn’t work so well in the playoffs, when defenses are generally allowed to grapple cutters who are away from the play. Kerr and Curry could look to combat that by having him handle more often.
But ultimately, tactics come secondary to execution. Kerr says it’s on Curry to adapt.
“But he knows how teams are going to defend him. It’s all part of it. He’s a two-time MVP, the whole league is game-planning for him. He has to be able to counteract that and we have to help him with that.”