There’s no glossing over Stephen Curry’s struggles against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Dating as far back as the 2015 NBA Finals — a series the Golden State Warriors won, mind you — the two-time MVP has been a shadow of his usual self against LeBron James’ team.
Those woes continued for Curry on Christmas Day. The Warriors point guard played poorly on offense and sat out Golden State’s most important defensive possession, a play that saw Kyrie Irving score the game-winning bucket. Yet Curry isn’t alarmed by his less-than-stellar play; in fact, he has an idea for how to unlock Golden State’s real potential.
For Curry, the answer is simple: The Warriors have to embrace the pick-and-roll.
“I definitely want to be in more pick-and-roll situations,” he said at Golden State’s practice facility, when asked if the ball is in his hand enough this season. “Whether I’m getting shots or whether we’re manufacturing ball movement, that’s a strength of ours, regardless of how teams play us.” […]
On what happened in the game Sunday, Curry said, “There were certain sets we were really good at, whether it’s drags, pick-and-rolls, whether it’s utilizing our post splits and things like that where we can get more space. Didn’t really go to those sets as much.”
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Indeed, the Warriors have one of the most productive sets in all the NBA — the Curry/Kevin Durant pick-and-roll — but Golden State has hardly used that action so far this season. Instead, Steve Kerr is committed to his motion-based offense that makes greater use of off-ball screens and movement, rather than a simple high pick-and-roll.
That shift away from the most basic yet explosive play has been a continual trend for the Warriors since assistant coach Alvin Gentry left to take over the New Orleans Pelicans, one exacerbated by Luke Walton’s departure for Los Angeles this offseason.
While Curry is right about the Warriors’ need to reintroduce the pick-and-roll into their offense, the head coach has the final say on tactical decisions. It’s up to Kerr to “fix” Golden State — or to convince his players that this approach is for the best.