SECOND-YEAR GUARD KENT BAZEMORE, A DEFENSIVE SPECIALIST, FREQUENTLY COVERS CURRY IN PRACTICE. IT'S NOT FUN FOR HIM
SI: What advice would you give someone guarding Steph?
KB: First of all, I'm gonna say, Good luck. He can put it on the floor, shoot it from anywhere. His dribble is so tight, he can do a double crossover and get right into his jump shot. His release is very quick—you just gotta contest every shot, get a hand up. I test him a little bit off the ball, make him work to get the ball back, and hopefully it accumulates over time. But he's in great shape, and it hasn't been working for me that well.
SI: Does he have a tell on his shot, like in poker, that lets you know he's going to go up with it?
KB: Not really, because he uses his head and shoulders really well. You have to respect [those fakes]. If he catches the ball and you're closing out, it's pretty much game over. You've got to get into his body, taking away the jumper and then squaring him up. In catch-and-shoot situations, when he sees you leaning, he'll take advantage of it.
SI: Can you meet him early and use your body a little bit to get him off-balance?
KB: On defense it's called the point of attack, where two players are going to meet. His IQ is good enough to know what the point is, then shoot first. It's not often you get a clean hit on him, or he'll jump into you and get to the free throw line. I don't know where he gets it from, but I've learned a lot from guarding him.