The perfection of Stephen Curry’s 3-point shooting can be summed up in a single stat this post-season. From the left corner, Curry is hitting 92.3 percent of his 3’s. Through three playoff series, he’s 12-of-13 from that spot, which is about as good as it gets. He broke Reggie Miller’s record for most 3-pointers in a single playoffs when he hit his 59th in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets.
Curry’s ability to make shots from almost anywhere on the court makes him virtually unguardable. So how did he become one of the best shooters the NBA has ever seen? Well, there are a few key reasons.
When you think about it, it’s no wonder Curry has become what many consider to be the best shooter in the history of the NBA. He puts up 1,000 shots in practice every week, not counting those he takes in games. His shooting form is perfect. His release is lightning quick. And it all began when he was a youngster, shooting around in the backyard with his father Dell, a knock-down NBA shooter in his own right.
“When we were younger, my dad wouldn’t let me and my brother shoot from outside the paint,” Curry’s younger brother Seth told STACK during a recent photo shoot. “We had to work on our form, then get better at longer distances.”
Ninety minutes before the tip-off of every game, Stephen Curry puts himself through a rigorous pre-game warm-up routine that might exhaust even the best-conditioned athletes.
He begins with a two-ball dribbling drill, which you might have seen if you watched any of the Golden State Warriors’ nationally televised playoff games. Then, he has some fun. He retreats to the tunnel that leads to the Warriors’ locker room and launches 10 shots from there. They look effortless.
After that, it’s time to work. Tim Kawakami, a Warriors reporter for the Mercury News, says Curry puts up almost 200 shots before heading back into the locker room to prepare for tip-off. It’s a series of runners, floaters and catch-and-shoot 3’s all around the arc and pulling up off the dribble.
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“Once you step on the court for that 15-minute session, that kind of starts the game process,” Curry told Kawakami.
To develop his near-perfect shot over the years, Curry focused on a couple things: having a good foundation and being incredibly well balanced (the key to consistency); and holding the ball on his fingertips, with space between the ball and the palm of his shooting hand (critical for good form).
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The video above provides insight into a typical Curry workout. Two of the biggest takeaways are Curry’s use of a machine that returns the ball back to him so he can practice his catch-and-shoot technique and getting up as many shots as he can at the end of his workout, when his legs and arms are fatigued.
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Here’s another video in which Curry again works on aspects of his game that have defined his style: the catch-and-shoot and the pull-up jumper off the dribble.
The common element in all of Curry’s preparation? Repetition. He shoots and shoots until he can shoot no more. At a recent Warriors practice, he was rumored to have hit 77 3’s in a row. With the constant, almost obsessive repetition that he puts into his shot, is it any wonder that he’s knocking down treys at a record clip?