It’s hard to fathom that just a few years ago, Steph Curry’s future in the NBA was all but uncertain. Yes, he showed the type of lights-out shooting that he promised since his college days, but he was a walking injury who had already missed many games due to his tendency toward getting injured at the wrong times. His hard work and dedication to moving beyond this, however, is what propelled him into NBA history.
Steph Curry’s journey
It’s hard to say that a 10-year-old who grew up playing one-on-one with Vince Carter as his father made millions playing basketball had it tough. However, playing in the shadow of an NBA player like his father proved to have its challenges.
Curry didn’t take the normal path to the NBA. By choosing Davidson over larger basketball programs, Curry was betting on himself to prove that he was more than a complementary piece next to other players.
At 6’3″ tall and 185 pounds, Curry was never going to impress people with his outrageous size. Instead, he was going to need to forge a path toward the NBA using his shooting ability. He shot 41-percent from three-point range during his three-year stint at Davidson.
His lights out shooting ability elevated him to the top of his draft class, though concerns about a limited skill set made some teams pause on taking him.
Eventually, the Golden State Warriors took him with the seventh overall pick. They didn’t know it at the time, but this would change the NBA forever.
Steph Curry played in 80 games during his rookie season, but coming off of an ankle injury his role inside the Warriors’ offense was limited, according to Bleacher Report. But Curry showed promise in his limited action.
The following year, Curry furthered that promise by improving on nearly every aspect of his game. The Warriors were still struggling to win, however, and Curry’s improvement wasn’t enough. After an ankle injury cost him most of the 2011-12 season, people began to wonder whether his lingering issues would limit his productivity in the NBA.
Curry wasn’t having any of that.
Steph Curry had to learn how to stand
In 2012, Curry had a new coach, a slew of rising stars as his teammates, and bad ankles. Everything changed when Warriors trainer Keke Lyles watched Curry using technology and discovered that his ankle issues had more to do with his stance than they did his ankles.
Curry lacked the strength to take the pressure off of his ankles and put it onto his hips. According to ESPN and Lyles, Curry could barely stand on one foot when they started working.
Lyles fixed Curry’s workout schedule and made sure that he began to put more balance on his hips rather than his ankles. The result was the smooth movements that Curry is now known for on top of his shooting ability. Curry’s control over his body once he figured out the problem made him the quick player that he is today.
“His ability to control his body in space is unlike anyone I’ve seen,” Lyles told ESPN. “He’s super quick, but the whole time he’s in total control. He’s doing such high-speed movements, accels, decels — and he’s in total control.”
It is no coincidence that Curry reached another level so quickly. He always had the drive to do better and use his gifts to get ahead of others, but he needed to learn to use that to his advantage.
Now, with three NBA Championships, two MVPs, and countless three-point records, Curry is unlike any player the NBA has ever seen. Fans can thank Lyles for realizing this and making sure to pinpoint Curry’s early injury woes.
-All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference