Much has been made about size in the NBA since June 25th of this year. On that date, of course, the Warriors chose to ignore convention and build their team around a pair of small, shoot-first guards.
This should come as no surprise to Warriors fans, who watched 6 ft. 6 Corey Maggette man the power forward spot for much of the year, as well as having rail-thin Anthony Randolph play center at times. However, the decision to draft Stephen Curry has been ridiculed by fans on this site and many members of the sports world.
These complaints have nothing to do with Curry, who is without question a proven shooter and intelligent player. These gripes center around the supposed defensive burden the comes with pairing two small and thin guards.
While Curry is clearly nothing better than an average on-ball defender, and will have trouble defending the more explosive players at times, he fits perfectly into Don Nelson's system, and not because he isn't a good defender.
First, Lets look back to the last time the Warriors made the playoffs. Monta Ellis and Baron Davis were both starters and key components on that team. Baron was an average on-ball defender, but he was very quick and good at stealing the ball. He got into passing lanes and kept the ball moving.
Despite obvious weight differences, B-diddy is no taller than Curry. Curry will have time to put on the weight, and will have a similar defensive impact. Not much noise has been made about Curry defensively, and posters on this site have attacked his defense. However, Curry has done nothing to deserve the negativity. He was a decent defender in college, and in fact was tied for 12th in the NCAA in steals. (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/leaders?cat=steals&type=1&groupId=null&seasonType=2&seasonYear=2009)
His offensive impact will be obvious, but his ability to get into the passing lanes and create turnovers has been overlooked. Of course, when the Warriors play the Lakers, don't expect Curry to guard Kobe. As many have pointed out, the Warriors have a wealth of guards, and barring a trade like the one for Amare, will have amazing flexibility. When playing a team like the Lakers, Steven Jackson can guard Kobe with Curry coming off the bench to relieve Monta. When Kobe goes to the bench, bring Curry in.
But against a majority of teams in the NBA, Curry should start. He will satisfy exactly what the Warriors are looking for, an unselfish passer and dead-eye shooter. Getting Maggette out of the starting lineup will be important, because too many selfish shooters on the floor at one time will create a fiasco similar to last season. With Anthony Randolph and Andris Biedrins providing quality defensive assurance as highly skilled shot blockers, Curry and Ellis will be allowed to take risks and create turnovers.
And if those risks don't work out? This is the Warriors after all. Don Nelson's entire system is designed to keep the ball moving. Part of that philosophy is to create a defense that gets the ball out of the other teams hand as fast as possible. If the other team makes a basket, no harm done. Just keep that ball moving. Like it or not, this is the system we have in Golden State, and Curry fits into that system perfectly.
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