How Can Stephen Curry Be Stopped In The 2015 NBA Finals?


With Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals set to begin in a few hours, I wanted to write a quick post on how Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers can stop Stephen Curry and his explosive offensive repertoire, if that’s even possible.

But looking back at the question, can a team really stop a player of that high caliber for an entire best-of-seven series, for the right to put yourself among the all-time greats in the Finals?

LeBron James was asked the question last Friday per ESPN report on what it would take to slow down league MVP Stephen Curry.

“The same way you slow me down,” James said. “You can’t.”

To me, this was one of the smartest and most confident answers I have ever seen James answer, as not only did it embrace the greatness of Curry’s play this season, but it also reflected the way James sees himself heading into the Finals.

And as much as we’re worried about who’s going to stop Curry, as it’s been easier said than done, James is ultimately saying:

“Yeah, you guys gotta worry about who’s going to stop me, too.”

Curry, who beat out James in the MVP race by more than double the votes, 1,598 to 552, has been having the season every player dreams of.

First, he led the league in All-star voting in February, then he beat his own record for the most threes in a season, ultimately leading up to winning the MVP award and taking a young, versatile Golden State Warriors team to the finals for the first time in more than 40 years.

Talk about doing it all this season.

From breaking the hearts of New Orleans Pelicans fans by hitting a clutch three-pointer with seconds left in the game to send Game 4 into overtime, leading to a first round sweep, to breaking Reggie Miller‘s all-time record for the most made three-point field goals in playoff history in only the Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets, Curry is a man on a mission.

But now that he’s in the finals, what will it take for an inexperienced Cavaliers team to stop the reigning MVP?

The same way you stop any other great player, as even James said, you simply can’t. Agreed.

Have you ever seen any one player or team shut down Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, etc for an entire series?

That’s a rhetorical question — the answer is no.

However, in my opinion, it’s all about containing them and making them take the toughest shots possible, limiting their amount of great looks at the basket.

Lets get one thing straight, great players are going to find ways to make plays happen, that’s just the bottom line. However, that doesn’t mean their number of good looks can be reduced.

If I’m Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, or anyone else on the Cavs that might have the tough task of guarding Curry, I’m making him work for every shot.

I’m talking about crowding him as soon as he gets the ball, making him put the ball on the floor and double-teaming every high pick-and-roll. Basically, making someone else beat you other than Curry.

I’d prefer an Andre Iguodala or Shaun Livingston jump shot than the reigning shooting champ; and if their shots are falling, well, I guess it’s safe to say the Cavs are in for a run for their money.

Also, as important as it is making Curry work on the offensive end, it’s ultimately just as important making him work on the defensive end of the floor as well.

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Because as great as he is offensively, I would do my best to tire him out, using the most energy possible to restrict him from wanting to create as many plays on offense.

I’m talking about making him defend off-the-ball through down screens and constant cuts to the basket, as well as putting him in numerous pick-and-rolls on-the-ball.

Especially if I have Irving on my team, whose offensive talent isn’t far from Curry’s. A taste of his own medicine, you can say.

Plus, who wouldn’t want to see a Curry vs Irving matchup?

They both can shoot, both on and off-the-dribble, plus have two of the best, if not the best, crossovers in the game.

Feb 26, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) uses a pick by center

Tristan Thompson

(13) while driving against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Curry isn’t highly known for being a defensive stopper, so to me, that’s the best way of containing him on offense, making him work every play down the floor and limiting his number of open looks at the basket.

Just crowd him or let someone else beat you. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s really the only way to control him, since I doubt he’ll struggle shooting the ball on his own all series.

That being said, I’m ready for the 2015 NBA Finals to tip-off.

It’s the league’s reigning MVP, Curry and the Golden State Warriors against the four-time MVP, James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. My oh my, do I have a feeling this is going to be a finals for the ages.

Best of luck to both teams and may the best team win.