Stephen Curry has become so good that the NBA might begin using one of the most radical strategies to stop him

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
For Three: Curry Carries 10-0 Warriors


Stephen Curry is turning the NBA upside down.

Curry is so good now that teams are going to have to get creative when he gets hot and that could mean the birth of the Hack-A-Curry.

Coming off an MVP season and a championship, Curry has somehow gotten even better, staking a strong claim for best player in the NBA while improving all of his skills.

It's not that Curry is doing anything new — he's still a lights-out shooter with impossible range, a hypnotizing ball-handler, and clever passer — but he's simply gotten better at everything.

Through ten games he's leading the NBA in scoring, averaging 33 points per game with a ridiculous 53% shooting, 47% from three-point range, with five rebounds and five assists per game. Additionally, his efficiency is through the roof: he has a ridiculous 65.9% eFG (effective field goal percentage, weighted for three-pointers), higher than any other starting point guard in the NBA and eighth among players who play at least 20 minutes per game. (Curry has also taken more field goal attempts than any of the players above him).

As anyone who's ever watched Curry knows, this is an astounding number for someone who takes some of the most ludicrous shots in the NBA. According to NBA.com's player tracking, Curry has 56 more points on pull-up shots than anyone in the NBA, and he's hit 49.5% of his pull-up attempts. This coincides with his league-high 52 possessions in transition, in which he's scored 1.67 points per possession. To put that in perspective, LeBron James and James Harden are second and third, respectively, in transition possessions, averaging .96 and 1.06 points per possession, respectively.

A quick peek at some of Curry's highlights this season show how crazy some of his shots are:


And these shots usually come in scoring bunches. Curry already has four 20-point quarters this year. Not only does he get hot, he becomes impossible to stop, and when the momentum swings like that, it's demoralizing for opponents, as ESPN's Brian Windhorst said.

This begs the question: how do teams stop Curry? There's no easy answer.

Yet when teams push up on Curry or send multiple defenders, he can either bust by them and into the paint for a higher-percentage shot, or kick the ball to an open teammate for another high-percentage look.

One idea that's been casually mentioned, but never implemented (to our knowledge) is the Hack-A-Curry, where defenses could intentionally foul Curry, put him on the free throw line, and get the ball back. Intentionally fouling is one of the most divisive strategies in the NBA. It brings the game to a halt, bails out the defense, and drives fans crazy. It's been used with several other big men who are bad free throw shooters as a way to slow down offenses, most recently with the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan in the playoffs last season.

For a player like Curry, this is borderline unprecedented, but it may be something teams experiment with when he gets going. As was the case against the Clippers this season, when Curry scored 13 points in five minutes in the fourth quarter, rallying the Warriors from a late deficit. His hot streaks can be game-changing.

Teams can try to run Curry off the three-point line, but he's proven so adept at getting any shot he wants, or breaking down the defense within the three-point arc that he often just creates another good shot. NBA TV's "The Starters" briefly mentioned this on a podcast, noting that teams may have to start fouling Curry hard to throw him off or simply just give up the two instead of three-pointer. Not only is a three obviously worth more, Curry's onslaughts from downtown fire up him, the team, and the crowd.

See photos from Curry's 53-point game earlier this season:

14 PHOTOS
Stephen Curry 53-point game
See Gallery
Stephen Curry has become so good that the NBA might begin using one of the most radical strategies to stop him
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) drives to the basket between New Orleans Pelicans forward Luke Babbitt (8), forward Alonzo Gee (15) and forward Ryan Anderson (33) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. The Warriors won 134-120. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) goes to the basket between New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, left, and forward Ryan Anderson in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. The Warriors won 134-120. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) is congratulated by forward Draymond Green (23) on a scoring run by Curry in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. The Warriors won 134-120. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) goes to the basket in front of New Orleans Pelicans forward Luke Babbitt (8) and forward Dante Cunningham (44) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. The Warriors won 134-120. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts to an officials call during the second half of a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on October 31, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots a free throw during the second half of a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on October 31, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives to the basket against Luke Babbitt #8 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half of a game at the Smoothie King Center on October 31, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives to the basket during the second half of a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on October 31, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots against the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on October 31, 2015 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives to the basket against Jrue Holiday #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on October 31, 2015 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors takes a three point shot over Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half of a game at the Smoothie King Center on October 31, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives to the basket during the second half of a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on October 31, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) is congratulated by forward Draymond Green (23) on a scoring run by Curry in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. The Warriors won 134-120. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Curry is shooting 94% from the free throw line this season, so intentionally fouling him more than likely will result in two points. This strategy isn't about the math as much as it's about the intangible effect — stopping the flow of the Warriors offense and taking Curry out of a rhythm.

There are still a few hurdles to clear before the NBA would likely to turn to this. First, teams may look to foul a worse free throw shooter on the Warriors than Curry. However, fouling away from the ball — that is, fouling someone like center Andrew Bogut — only works for so long. The Warriors would likely sub out Bogut and go with their deadly small-ball lineup if he was getting fouled, and after a certain point in the game, rules prohibit teams from fouling away from the ball. If they do, the team that was fouled just gets the ball back after the free throws, thus negating the point to the strategy.

If Curry keeps up this torrid pace, it's worth monitoring how teams begin to scheme against him. Defenses are in uncharted waters with Curry; there isn't a more dangerous player in the NBA with the ball in his hands. When Curry gets on a hot streak, single-handedly changing the momentum and demoralizing opponents, teams may try the Hack-A-Curry just to slow him down.

NOW WATCH: How LeBron James spends his money

See Also:



Read Full Story

From Our Partners