The Orlando Magic are in the NBA Finals. How did this happen?
Some will point to the development of Dwight Howard and the domination of the Cavaliers. It's hard to disagree, especially when in the last decade, it has become painfully obvious that in order to get a championship ring you need a dominant big man.
However, I disagree. The Magic are in the Finals because of three-point shooting.
Anyone who watched them play in the playoffs saw them make an inordinate amount of open three-pointers. Their offense is tailored around the three ball and they actually have a shot to dispatch the Lakers later this week because of it.
Stephen Curry was one of the top players in college basketball this season.
After last season's magical tournament run to the Elite Eight. Davidson was a missed three from beating Kansas and going to the Final Four—Davidson folks.
Curry came into the season in the spotlight. Did he live up to the hype or did he disappoint?
This season, Curry changed positions to become a point guard. He led the nation in scoring at 28.6 ppg, averaged 5.6 assists per game and shot 45 percent, while shooting 87 percent from the stripe and 39 percent from behind the arc.
Granted there were no other players with a shot at even sniffing the NBA on his team, so he got the majority of the shots and the offense was run through him.
But, here's the scary thing—he produced.
Last season, I was amazed at Curry's shooting in the NCAA tournament. It seemed like he beat Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin single-handedly.
I will be the first to admit, I was skeptical. I thought Curry was just another J.J. Reddick or Adam Morrison, coming off of screens to hit open three-pointers and not having the ability to create for himself.
I have never been more wrong. This season I witnessed Stephen Curry run an offense, create shots for himself and basically score at will on any team and defense they could throw at him.
He opened this season with a 44-point effort at Blake Griffin and Oklahoma, but lost.
He then played terrible for 35 minutes against West Virgina before taking over in the final five minutes and scoring 15 of the team's last 17 points for the game. Davidson won 68-65.
Then he was shut down and had the worst game of his career against Purdue.
Teams and the media thought teams had found a way to stop Curry. They were wrong, too.
Two weeks later Curry dropped 29 at Duke, but his team lost. The total was the most Duke gave up to an opposing player all season.
Curry is not just putting up those numbers in soft conference games, the teams listed all made the NCAA tournament and were ranked at some point in the same season. This is a 6'3" 180 pound point guard destroying college defenses by shooting the ball.
Curry is a gamer, he knows the game, has basketball pedigree (his dad Dell, was a player in the league for 10 plus years) and is someone that will get better. He's only 21!
Everything I read says Curry will either get drafted by the Warriors at No. 7 or the Knicks at No. 8.
How can their be six or seven players better than Curry in this draft and how can that many teams pass on the best shooter in the draft?
Imagine pairing him with young pieces such as Russel Westbrook and Kevin Durant with the OKC Thunder, that's just plain scary.
Hell, he'd actually make the Timberwolves better too, Curry, Love and Jefferson would be a nice trio to build around.
The Kings have a huge need too, Kevin Martin and Curry would make a deadly shooting back court.
This year's NBA Draft is seen by many as weak, but Curry, Griffin and Rubio will be the standouts of this Draft. Along with the increased role the three-pointer is playing in offenses along with the premium put on point guards in the league, Curry will make many GM's regret passing on him.
As long as the NBA rewards long shots with an extra point, shooters such as Curry will be extremely valuable. The way defense is taught, is to help once a defender is beat, this leaves a player open with ball movement any team can usually find the open shooter.
Therefore, having a player who can not only drive into the lane, but knock down open jump shots off the dribble or the pass will always be crucial to any team trying to win an NBA title.
Some examples of these players are Reggie Miller and Ray Allen.
Although, Reggie never won a ring, he was one of the best shooters the league has ever seen and one the NBA (Knicks) will never forget.
Eight points in thirty seconds, anyone?
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