Oscar Robertson, On Why Stephen Curry Is So Good: ‘NBA Coaches Don’t Know Anything About Defenses’
In a 14-year career with the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks, Oscar Robertson was the NBA MVP (1964); a 12-time All-Star; six-time NBA assists leader; the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season; scored 26,710 career points (25.7 ppg); and won an NBA title (Bucks, 1970-71). He also won a gold medal in both the Olympics and the Pan American games.
So maybe he's a good source to go to when the subject is, how do you guard Stephen Curry? Robertson gave his take during a phone interview with Mike & Mike on ESPN this morning.
"If I've got a guy who's great shooting the ball outside, don't you want to extend your defense out a little bit?
"I just don't think coaches today in basketball understand the game of basketball. They don't know anything about defenses. They don't know what people are doing on the court. They talk about analytical basketball and stuff like that."
Looking at the image below, he probably has a point:
In its usual "Last-Two-Minute Report", the NBA said that there were three missed non-calls against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, in which Warriors players were fouled, but nothing was called. Here's the report:
1) "Winslow clamps the arm of Thompson and affects his ability to retrieve the rebound."
-- With the score tied at 104-104, Andre Iguodala missed a 3-pointer with two minutes remaining, and Hassan Whiteside secured the rebound.
2) "Dragic grabs and pulls Curry's jersey affecting his FOM (freedom of movement) away from the ball."
-- The Warriors trailed 106-104 when Dragic grabbed Steph Curry's jersey. Curry ends up missing a runner from the free throw line and the Heat got possession and called timeout.
3) "Whiteside takes a wide stance when setting the screen on Iguodala without giving him room to avoid the contact, which occurs to his leg."
-- Dwyane Wade ultimately missed a shot and the Warriors got the rebound with 1:14 remaining and the Heat leading by two.
This is nothing new, especially when it comes to Curry: he's a marked man in every game because he makes opponents look bad. In Wednesday's 118-112 win in Miami, he hit a 40-footer to end the first quarter, and finished with 42 points.
.@StephenCurry30 swished a 40-footer en route to 42 points in Miami.
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) February 25, 2016
So opponents will grab, push, sometimes even tackle to try and knock Curry out of his rhythm. But one reason he succeeds is that it never seems to bother him. I'm sure he complains to the refs, but you never see a tantrum like LeBron usually throws. Curry actually smiles when he talks to officials, and usually as he's walking by.
Robertson says a more traditional approach to defense would mean opponents wouldn't have to foul Curry to limit his scoring.
"There have been some great shooters in the past. ... But here again, when I played years ago, if you shot a shot outside and hit it, the next time I'm going to be up on top of you. I'm going to pressure you with three-quarters, half-court defense. But now they don't do that. These coaches do not understand the game of basketball, as far as I'm concerned."
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