It’s kinda crazy to think about, but the Golden State Warriors are a defense-first team. They can hang with anyone when it comes to scoring points, of course, mostly thanks to superstar guard Stephen Curry, the all-time 3-point king.
But for years, Curry has been the Warriors’ weakest point on a strong defense. According to Warriors defensive stalwart Draymond Green, Curry has been on a mission to erase that notion and become a better defender. Curry’s method? He has gotten stronger by hitting the weight room harder than ever.
In fact, Curry hits the weight room before he hits the court nowadays.
Here’s what Green told ESPN’s Doris Burke about the matter, courtesy of Burke’s colleague Malika Andrews.
“From the time he walks in this facility, the first place he goes — to the locker room, get dressed, and into the weight room. I think as much as it’s shown on the offensive end — where he’s finishing and he’s knocking guys off their feet, bigger guys off their feet — I think it’s shown even more in his defense. And I think that is the most beautiful thing, to watch a guy put the work in, and the improvements he’s made on defense. I’ve said it before, he is one of our best defenders.”–Draymond GreenMalika Andrews/Twitter
Green said that Curry moves much better laterally, a key skill on defense, and he credited Curry’s newfound leg strength. As for arm days, Green revealed that Curry does his dumbbell bench press with 100-pound weights. That’s certainly no easy task.
Curry’s noticeable uptick in weight-room activity started sometime last year, according to Green. It’s no surprise that with Curry’s competitiveness, he doesn’t want to be anything close to a weak link on defense, or anywhere else for that matter.
“Steph’s a winner. He wants to win. And he understands the importance of having a great defense if you’re going to win. On the flip side of that, for all these years, you’ve had teams pick on him [on defense]. Again, Steph’s a competitor. You’re not just going to keep singling him out and he’s just going to take that.”–Draymond GreenMalika Andrews
Here’s the full clip, taken from Andrews’ Twitter account. She points out that Warriors coach Mike Brown has charted Curry’s rise in defensive prowess. You can definitely notice Curry’s increased strength in the selected highlights.
Curry has indeed been noticeably better on defense this season and stronger overall. Most notably, he’s not reaching as much and committing silly fouls that impact his availability on offense.
Because Curry’s real strength is, obviously, as an elite scorer. But he’s not satisfied with that. He’s even earned some early buzz regarding the NBA’s All-Defense team. This is a great example of how the Warriors are not content with their three NBA titles. Rather, Curry, Green, and guard Klay Thompson want more, even if they are in the tail-end of their primes.
To get there, they’ll need to lean on that defense-first mentality. Clearly, Curry is all in.