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THE WEST'S NEW SHOWTIME THE LONG RANGERS
CHRIS BALLARD
October 28, 2013
ONE IS THE PROTOTYPICAL NBA WING. THE OTHER LACKS STRENGTH, CAN'T JUMP AND IS FREAKISHLY SKILLED. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BACKCOURT LIKE THE WARRIORS' KLAY THOMPSON AND STEPHEN CURRY, TWO YOUNG GUNNERS WHOSE SHOOTING RANGE ASTOUNDS EVEN THEMSELVES
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October 28, 2013

The West's New Showtime The Long Rangers

ONE IS THE PROTOTYPICAL NBA WING. THE OTHER LACKS STRENGTH, CAN'T JUMP AND IS FREAKISHLY SKILLED. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BACKCOURT LIKE THE WARRIORS' KLAY THOMPSON AND STEPHEN CURRY, TWO YOUNG GUNNERS WHOSE SHOOTING RANGE ASTOUNDS EVEN THEMSELVES

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Or maybe it's a matter of fluency. Get Curry and Thompson together, prod them a bit, and they will speak the language of shooters, as they did for 30 minutes after a recent Warriors practice. Seated on a pair of high-backed chairs, looking out as assistant coach Brian Scalabrine prepared to play one-on-one against Myers, the two Warriors guards talked about the importance of "seaming up" on a pass—that is, giving the ball to a shooter with the seams lined up, so he can catch and shoot with rotation. They discussed their favorite spots—the left corner for Klay, the top of the key in transition for Steph. They described where they like to catch the ball (center of the chest, just below the neck for Klay; right side a bit lower for Steph). They analyzed their early shooting problems (Klay used to put sidespin on the ball; Curry used a "slingshot" motion to get it to the basket). They broke down their current weaknesses. Klay targeted shot selection: "I'll either make three or four in a row and take a bad shot, or I miss five in a row and I'll start pressing." Curry said it's usually the same issue when he misses: no legs.

They revealed their preshot tells—how Curry likes to switch from his left to his right hand just before launching, and Klay prefers to hold the ball in front of his face so he can go right up with it. Steph talked wistfully of Thompson's release—"that thing where he comes off a wide screen, a pin-down screen, [and] all he needs is to get that ball to touch his fingertips for a split second and it seems like it's already at the basket." Meanwhile, Klay coveted Curry's handle and his shotmaking. "Any little space he has going up, he's really efficient at it," Thompson said, shaking his head. "A terrible shot for someone else is a good shot for him. That's rare."

Finally, the conversation turns to their favorite shooting drills. One in particular stands out: Shoot three-pointers from around the arc until you miss two in a row. "Almost every shot is a pressure shot," Thompson explains. Curry's high last year is impressive: 76. Indeed, when this became public knowledge last spring, there was much amazement among fans. It seemed otherworldly. Seventy-six NBA three-pointers without missing two in a row?

And yet here we find a surprise.

Asked his high, Thompson smiles. "I hit 122 last year," he says. "Right there on that far basket." He points to a nearby hoop.

Seated next to him, Curry shakes his head in admiration. And then the best three-point shooter in the history of the NBA looks down at his feet.

Says Curry, "I'm almost embarrassed by my number now."

*SOURCE: Warriors coach Mark Jackson, last spring. Accuracy: hotly debated.

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