OAKLAND — It’s one of the attempts to discredit Stephen Curry and the Warriors:
He’s just a system player and they’re just a system team.
It’s a silly argument to defend.
“You go with any system that had success, you have to have the right guys in that system,” the Warriors’ Andre Iguodala said before his team’s Game 6 loss, before back spasms had him moving like an old man. “You see the Bulls, they ran the triangle, you have to have a certain type of player for the triangle. And over at the Lakers, you had similar guys… Same with the Spurs and the success they had the last decade or so. They just rotated guys in and out, kind of like the Patriots.”
Curry would be successful in any system in any era — explain to me the era where a deadly 26-foot jumper wasn’t going to be effective? If you’re going to try to point to these NBA Finals as a sign Curry would struggle in a more physical basketball era — where they are clutching and grabbing like the refs have largely let go this series — you haven’t been paying attention. Curry is averaging 23.5 points a game, is shooting 42.4 percent from three, pulls down 4.8 rebounds and dishes out 4 assists a game. He has struggled with his shot inside the arc and turned the ball over too much (4.3 per game), but he hasn’t sucked.
The Warriors system of weakside actions and constant movement is the evolution of the NBA offense that counters the Tom Thibodeau overload defense (and Thibs has since adjusted what he does). What the Warriors have are high basketball IQ players to execute that.
“I feel I have been on a team with just as high of an IQ, maybe even a higher IQ, but not as much talent,” Iguodala said. “You got to have a mixture of the two. At the end of the day talent, that’s the first thing you have to have. But there have been a lot of talented teams that never quite got over the hump because one guy may not have sacrificed as much as he needed to, or your offense wasn’t quite as useful for five guys as it should have been.
“I feel like we play all five guys on the court and everyone has their role and that’s how we maximize our talent.”
So what is the heart of the Warriors system? Selflessness.
“End of the day you’re taking whatever the defense gives you,” Iguodala said. “It sounds very simple, but there’s a lot that goes into it. You’re in this world of basketball with endorsements, social media, and branding, and guys have a tendency to think ‘me.’ It becomes a me game, and this is a team sport.”
The Warriors have been selfless and gotten good looks the last two games, they just clanked a lot of them (not just Harrison Barnes, although he leads the parade). Curry was the only Warrior knocking down shots in Game 6. Come Sunday and Game 7, the Warriors need that selflessness and for some of those looks to fall.
Then they just need to figure out how to slow LeBron James down a little.