How does the league MVP follow up his 2015 playoff performance, when he averaged 28.3 points per game, 5 rebounds, and 6.4 assists en route to his first championship?
This season, Wardell Stephen Curry II, or Chef Curry as he’s known, has elevated his game to astounding regular season averages of 30.4 points per game on 51% shooting from the field (+6.6 ppg increase from the previous year), leading Golden State to a ridiculous 57-6 record – on pace to finish better than the legendary ’96 Chicago team who boasted a 72-10 mark.
Perhaps what makes Curry so transcendent is his ability to take and make three pointers on his own, with a historic degree of volume and efficiency. His three point attempts have increased nearly every season in the league. This season he is averaging more than 10 attempts per game, while converting at a 50% clip – for a current season total of 304 makes, on pace to smash his previous season record of 286 set last year. All the while, Steph releases the ball with a signature flick of his wrist that leaves his hands almost immediately after he pulls up to shoot.
Despite all the statistics, it’s the way Curry and Golden State have revolutionized the game that has basketball fans across the globe taking notice, infusing a small ball style of play led by his effortless three-point stroking ability and ankle-breaking handles. A brand of basketball that has essentially made him unguardable.
Beyond the video game-like performances on the court we’ve become accustomed to, there’s a real internal mechanism to Curry’s game. One that is evidenced through his notorious practice training regimen and pregame warmups – engineering his wiry body to flourish on the court with a quick twitch and an explosive first step.
To uncover the inner workings of what makes Steph such a unique basketball player, Degree Deodorant has partnered with Lightwave, a bioanalytics technology company, in launching the Degree MotionSense Lab – an online hub that provides advanced movement analytics of athletes, performers, and fans. Using connected sensor devices to analyze physiological and emotional indicators, a shoot and data-capture experiment was conducted to put some of Curry’s key moves under the microscope and identify what makes him that good.
A total of six moves were measured, collecting data throughout, to discover insights such as:
What makes his crossover so explosive?
How quickly does he set and release a shot after a quick dribble?
What is the g-force of his famous wrist-flick?
The following is a breakdown of each move supported by key statistics derived from the data:
Double hesitation into jump shot
One of Steph’s most iconic moves, the double hesitation jump shot is virtually unstoppable. He lulls a defender into thinking he is going to shoot not once, but twice, before he releases the ball on a step back. It all starts with the first hesitation – an explosive break to the left, at which point the peak velocity of his left ankle during the initial step is 11.38 MPH. In a moment’s notice, he then pauses for just over half a second (.55) before taking his second explosive step to the left – the double hesitation.
What makes this so difficult for defenders to track is the incredible amount of g-force1[/footnote] he puts into this second hesitation coming back to the right, where his left foot hits the ground at 5.5g – the equivalent of the peak force a skydiver experiences when opening their parachute.
Spin into floater
Consistently causing headaches for big men, the spin into floater provides just the right balance of penetration into the paint with a quick release to escape the reach of those looking to deny the soft drop into the basket. It all starts with a powerful spin – Curry completes a full 360 degrees in half a second – at that rate, he’s moving to the tune of 615 degrees per second.
The driving force of this spin is his left leg, which swings around his body to generate a g-force of 7.1 – exceeding what a typical Formula One car experiences under heavy braking. As for the finishing touch – Steph’s vertical on the floater is 15.75 inches high, leaving opposing defenders with no other option but to watch it gently make its way through the net.
Crossover into layup
Steph’s crossover is a once-in-a-generation type of move – executed so quickly that his entire body changes direction in less than half a second (.37). Combine this with the speed in which he transitions into his drive and the defender is left watching the play happen behind them.
Picture this: initially Curry is moving at a speed of 5.8 feet per second, and then out of the crossover he accelerates to a whopping 19.3 feet per second – an increase of 3.33 times his initial speed. On his drive across the court he is traveling an average speed of 12.5 feet per second – at which point he could dribble the length of an entire basketball court in under 7 and a half seconds.
Once he has evaded the help defender, Curry’s jump into the layup has a vertical height of 17.32 inches, finishing off the bucket with a hang-time of .69 seconds. In other words, the combination of his release point and the trajectory of the shot approaches a golden territory where everyone is left watching it splash into the hoop.
Between the legs into pull-up
The challenge with guarding Curry is that once he has proven the ability to penetrate off his crossover, his arsenal expands by using the move to keep defenders on their heels and then stepping back into a signature pull-up jumper. As Steph begins his between the legs dribble, it literally takes him the blink of an eye (.1-.4 seconds) to transition from having his legs together to splitting them as the ball navigates between.
From there, it only takes him less than half a second (.32) to complete his famous wrist-flick, which snaps at a g force of 2.8. What’s most remarkable about this move is the degree of explosiveness that is constant from the ball between his legs seamlessly into his shot release. There’s simply no hesitation in the process.
From starting the move to the ball hitting the net takes under three seconds total.
Superfast dribble into shot
What happens once Steph has proven the ability to go right, go left, spin, or pull back for the jumper? It’s simple – he reveals an uncanny ability to aggressively dribble the ball at high speed in a single stance, lulling the defender to sleep until the split second where he pulls up and drains a basket right in front of you.
Each bounce of the ball is so forceful that the average g-force generated is 3.1g, which amounts to the same force as a space shuttle during launch and re-entry.
Most impressive of all, despite the intensity of this move, the average change in heart rate during this exercise was 2% – indicating just how professional and in control of his body he is. A nightmare proposition for opponents guarding him.
This analysis powered by Lightwave marks the first time that the actual physical and emotional undercurrent of Steph Curry’s performance has been studied. As evidenced by the findings, it’s clear that even Curry himself was taken back by the results:
“Getting to be a part of the first-ever series of tests conducted for the Degree MotionSense Lab was an amazing experience,” said Curry. “I was blown away by the level of detail and information that they were able to gather from the moves that I do on the court during every game. This really takes Degree’s dedication to movement to a whole new level.”
Throughout 2016, the Degree MotionSense Lab will measure movement and motion in a variety of forms. Stay tuned for additional experiments to be conducted at the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four at NRG Stadium in Houston, where in-game fan movement data will be collected & analyzed.
Visit the Degree MotionSense Lab. Follow @DegreeMen and @DegreeWomen for content updates and announcements, and use the hashtag #EveryMoveCounts to join in on the movement conversation. For more information on Degree Deodorant visit DegreeDeodorant.com.