With much of the talk among Warriors beat reporters focused on how many minutes superstar Stephen Curry should play this season, Curry’s longtime physical trainer had an interesting tidbit of knowledge to add to the conversation.
Curry plays just the 33rd most minutes in the NBA, which has reporters wondering if Curry should play a bit more, especially in key moments, of which there were many in Golden State’s wild, recently-completed 2-2 road trip in Texas.
But according to Brandon Payne, Curry’s trainer since 2011, Curry is working harder this year while he’s on the floor. He simply has more to do without guard Klay Thompson and his accustomed-to, quality role players off the bench, such as Shaun Livingston and others.
Payne told San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler that the increasing number of step-back 3-pointers from Curry this season isn’t necessarily good for Curry’s long-term physical health.
“The reason you’re seeing that a little more now is he’s having to do more than he usually has off the dribble,” said Payne, who strategizes with Curry on playing style, game mechanics and psychology. “That’s not something you want to lean on all the time to get shots; those are difficult shots and it’s kind of taxing to go through that to create that kind of space.”
Ideally, the Warriors’ motion offense creates easier shots for Curry — catch-and-shoot, or one or two dribbles, “But now he’s seeing a lot of gimmicky and funky coverages that kind of make you get into your tools a little bit more, so he’s pulling them out and using them.”Scott Ostler/San Francisco Chronicle
That’s interesting. Too interesting, really. I’ve had a similar thought watching Curry step back ferociously, using his ankles that have had their share of injury trouble in Curry’s career. Well, more than their share, especially the surgically-repaired right ankle that almost cost Curry his career.
Here’s an example of some of Curry’s physically-taxing brilliance from outside the arch. Is it possible that too many of these shots will wear on the superstar?
This is yet another reason for Kerry to keep Curry’s minutes where they are. Though a few more minutes here or there — or perhaps changing the rotation so Curry doesn’t sit out the first half the the fourth quarter any longer — could be called for by Kerr at some point this season.
But this is a fantastic article from Ostler. I recommend reading the entire thing for loads of more insight from Payne. For now, expect Curry’s minutes pattern to remain unchanged in Golden State’s matchup with the Magic at Chase Center on Thursday night.
(Photo credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)