The Big O Theory

After Steph Curry amazing game against the Thunder, the social media world attacked NBA legend Oscar Robertson for his comments about the NBA and Steph Curry. Robertson comments have been misconstrued and misinterpreted since he shared his opinion on Mike & Mike in the Morning earlier in the week, which is expected when you go against popular opinion. 

So to help better understand the great Big O's comments and shake up the Steph Curry bandwagon a little bit more, let's breakdown a couple quotes from his banter. 

First thing I would like to clear up is, Robertson did not bash Steph Curry. He never once said Curry is a bad player or not good. He simply said he is benefiting from bad defense, which is true.

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?

Extending your defense is easier said than done but it's not a bad idea. Steph has proved that he has unlimited range, so extending it is not the end all be all to stopping him. What it could do is force him to take those 30-foot three pointers with a hand in his face, just to make it a little bit more challenging for him. The numbers show that Steph is 60% from shots 28+ feet but a lot of those shots are uncontested. 

What I would like to see defenses doing is forcing him to drive to the basket. Steph also is a great ball handler so once again this is not a piece on how to stop Steph Curry, but more so looking at other ways to defend and possibly contain him. Watching teams defend him, it's rarely a point where I see the defense making it hard for him to score. Majority defenders, give up a lot of space and go under the pick and roll, which allows him to shoot uncontested shots. 

Steve Kerr has done a good job with creating an offense that allows Steph to operate with and without the ball but I haven't seen many defenders make him work for his baskets. 

“…. 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”

Now in the Thunder game, prior to his memorable game winner from 30+ feet, Steph had already hit 11 three pointers and was hot like a firecracker. On the final possession, he received the ball on the opposite end of the court and graciously dribbled the ball to his sweet spot while Andre Robertson backpedaled up the court, not putting any pressure on Steph. 

This is what Big O was talking about. 

With 11 three pointers in the game, it's no reason for Curry to be able dribble up the court with no pressure and have enough space to have the option to pull-up from 30 feet out. Some say you don't expect players to pull up from 30 feet but Steph has been doing it all season. The numbers show he is more efficient than anybody when shooting over 30 feet. This isn't the first or the last time we seen him pull up from that far out. The shot was great and will be remembered for awhile but more pressure on the ball and that shot never goes up.  

If Roberson meets Steph at half court or even further, it eliminates the option for him to pull from 30 feet. You're now forcing him to go by you or take a contested shot, which is not impossible for Steph to do but both are better than a wide open pull up 30-footer. On that shot, Steph was able to spot, step into it, all in rhythm with no disruption, and that's the last thing you allow a great shooter to do. 

“In basketball today, it’s almost like if you can dunk or make a three-point shot, you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.”

Many took this as a shot at Steph but I see it more as a shot to the media and fans of basketball. We are in an era where if you have one or two good seasons, then you're one of the greatest players ever. We see it every season, every month, every week, every day. Anytime a player does something we want to compare or rank among players who has already established themselves in NBA history.

It's a disrespect to the past. 

For me, this is the most upsetting thing about the NBA, it's no middle ground when we critique players, we either put them at GOAT status or say they're overrated. We can never just appreciate the current moment.