Stephen Curry, the defensive stopper.
Just kidding, of course. Curry is known as the best shooter of all time by many, including most contemporary pundits. The three-time NBA champion and two-time league MVP isn’t known for his defense at all, in fact, he’s often considered a liability, with his still somewhat slender 6-foot-3 frame.
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t give effort, especially when he has defensive standouts Klay Thompson and Draymond Green by his side. During Golden State’s run of championships that started in the 2014-15 season, coach Steve Kerr’s team defense ranked consistently high with Curry on the floor.
And in the Finals themselves, Curry had his moments. Curiously, many of them came against LeBron James, arguably the best basketball player to ever lace ’em up.
It’s something I always noticed: when James had a one-on-one situation with Curry, the smaller man usually got the best of the exchange. It was weird, but undeniable.
Check out the video below courtesy of Warriors superfan Antonin, documenting the unbelievable repeated occurrences of Curry locking up James.
In the cut, this is part of the reason I can’t label James as the best player of all time, or the best player that I’ve personally seen, to be more precise. The above clip reminds me a bit of a cat playing with a mouse. James is clearly good enough to overpower Curry, but he doesn’t.
Curry’s assertive, un-scared posture seems to make James think too much. Plus, with Curry’s superstar ascending during these matchups — for the most part — perhaps James was even thinking of his legacy when he saw Curry man up on him.
But Curry certainly gets credit. He played his tail off despite long odds, much like his entire career. I love this video clip because of all the memories it brings. It was truly fascinating to watch Curry guard James unflinchingly with unbelievable success. Perhaps they’ll meet again in the playoffs this season and James will have a chance to even the ledger.
(Photo cred: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)