Stephen Curry Q + A
The Warriors PG on the finer points of shooting.
by Jonathan Evans / photos by Benny Fong
There are few things prettier on the basketball court than a jumpshot. But not just any jumpshot, the ones released perfectly off of fingertips, with the fluid follow through, the smooth ball rotation and the crisp splash through the bottom of the net.
Warrior guard Stephen Curry has quickly established himself as a player with one of the prettiest – and deadliest – jumpers in the League. While some may argue that he has a bit of a genetic edge in the shooting department, Curry knows that more than anything, a good shot is the product of practicing the right fundamentals.
Curry has partnered with Shotloc to spread proper shooting fundamentals. SLAMonline had the chance to talk with Stephen about some of the finer points of shooting as well as his evolution into a more complete point guard.
SLAM: First off we have to talk about your jumpshot. You’re known for having one of the deadliest shots in the League. What do you attribute it to? Is it genetics? Practice?
Stephen Curry: I always joke that I think genetics has a little something to do with it. I’ve been in the gym since I was 2. A lot of it for me though is practice. I changed my form twice growing up. I wasn’t naturally a good shooter with my new form that I developed as I got taller so I had to practice. I have a natural touch for shooting but it takes a lot of repetitions in the gym and work on the mechanics of shooting that I learned from my dad.
SLAM: What ages were you when you changed your form?
SC: Last time I changed it I was a junior in high school, before that I was in the sixth grade. I used to sling it from my hip and then I finally learned how to shoot it over the top of my head.
SLAM: Did you all talk about follow through over the dinner table? Just how much was shooting a part of your life?
SC: It’s all I knew really. We had a really competitive household. We used to play in the backyard — me, my dad and my brother. We played H-O-R-S-E, one-on-one, all that stuff.
SLAM: Does your dad still have the quick release?
SC: Oh yeah, he doesn’t shoot very much anymore but when he get out there he just picks it up like he never missed a beat. Everybody that mentions my dad always mentions that quick release.
SLAM: So how does the ShotLoc work to develop a better jumpshot?
SC: It’s a little apparatus for your fingers, almost like brass knuckles. Your hand position on the ball is probably the first step in your mechanics that you need to work on so that every time the ball is in your hand it’s in the same position so the shot flows the same way. So what the ShotLoc does is it spreads your fingers to cover more of the ball and gets your palm off the ball.
It feels kind of awkward at first because it’s correcting your hand position, but once you get reps with it, it starts to feel natural and when you take it off you feel like your hands are going into the right spot automatically.
I think for younger kids they’ll see improvements right away because they might not have been taught the right way to hold the ball.
SLAM: What are other big things to keep conscious of with your jumpshot?
SC: Your balance is the first thing. If you don’t have balance the ball’s not going to come off your hand the right way. Then having your follow through, a lot of people flick it and don’t control the ball all the way through the shot and a follow through helps do it. A lot of people are better at spot shots because they’re balance is set. When you’re in the move it’s harder to get the balance and get up. Once you perfect that it makes your shooting a lot better.
SLAM: Talk about your evolution as a point guard and switching from being a guard to a point guard. Some people say you have to be born a point guard in order to have all the intangibles necessary.
SC: There is the potential to learn the position from watching film and reading plays. You have to have the skill to see the floor and pass and all that. For me right now my next step is studying film and learning the game from the point of view as a point guard and not just as a shooter.
You have to be in control of everything. There are a lot of reads you have to make as a point guard. You have to worry about who’s guarding you and you have to read everyone else on the floor so you always have an out. I think that it’s the toughest position because you have to know what everyone else is supposed to do if you’re going to be good at what you do.
SLAM: How did your experience with USA Basketball help your evolution as a player?
SC: It put me in a situation I hadn’t been in before coming off the bench and playing limited minutes. I learned a lot from watching Chauncey. Chauncey taught me how to be a leader, both vocally and the way he played on the floor. I just watched him most of the time, he said all the right things at the right time to get over the hump.
SLAM: With the new ownership group in place and some of the new acquisitions, are you excited about where the team is going?
SC: I’m definitely excited, we’ve already eclipse our win total from last year. The energy around the Warriors is a lot better. We’ve got a good core to work around with myself, Monta, Dorell, David Lee, Ekpe Udoh and Reggie Williams and some young guys.
SLAM: What has to happen for you guys to take that next step? Is it just a matter of maturing together?
SC: I think so, we’re relatively young. It’s going to take some time to all get acclimated with Coach Smart’s system. We have the core to work around that the fans are excited about.