Sports

How Cleveland Cavaliers Are Exploiting Stephen Curry’s Defense in the NBA Finals

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry smiles during NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. The Warriors host the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry smiles during NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. The Warriors host the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

 

(Bleacher Report) – The Golden State Warriors have thrived all season due to their ability to switch on defense with a handful of like-size wing players. Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and Klay Thompson can each guard multiple positions, and the Warriors as a unit do not suffer when they trade assignments.

The wild card in this switch-heavy scheme has always been reigning MVP Stephen Curry. His lack of strength and size has always been his biggest disadvantage on defense, and in these NBA Finals, the Warriors are actively keeping him away from mismatches.

At 27 years old, he’s arguably the greatest shooter ever, mixing a hyper-quick release with unmatched ball-handling skills. To say he’s maximized his athletic gifts on the offensive end would be an understatement.

On defense, Curry has undoubtedly improved. Teams no longer exploit him without mercy. He’s competent enough to guard opposing point guards without requiring massive help rotations, and a growing defensive IQ has taught him to rely on his quickness to outwit physically overwhelming offensive matchups.

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