Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors looked like pretenders at the very start of the season. The Warriors got smoked in their first two games, with Curry struggling to get free. Draymond Green and Kevon Looney quickly diagnosed a problem and got to work fixing it.
The Dubs were setting crappy screens that didn’t do a good enough job freeing up Curry. So, as reported by The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II, Green took his Warriors teammates to school to show how things should be done. Looney acted as the “teacher’s assistant” for Green’s “Screen School.”
“Me and Draymond, we know how to set screens for Steph,” Looney said. “But with a lot of different guys playing with him, guys were struggling to set screens. And I’m telling Draymond we’ve got to do better than that.”
So Green had some film cut together, showing proper ways to screen in their offense, which is the secret to freeing Curry. He then organized a session to watch and teach. They covered flare screens, pin-downs, their famed elevator play, staggered screens, dribble handoffs. Rookie center James Wiseman took part. So did second-year players Eric Paschall and Juan Toscano-Anderson. Most of the young players were involved, including the guards. They learned about the rhythm of screens in the Warriors’ offense and effective angles for Curry to lose the defender tailing him.
The session worked, with Curry getting loose across the course of the season and ultimately winning the scoring title with 32.0 points per game. Looney and Green led the Warriors in screen assists, with Looney edging out Green by five.
It’s already hard enough to run around and keep up with Curry when not being decked by screens. When big men are then setting good, hard screens, that only makes it harder to stay with the Warriors star. Once he gets a bit of daylight, it’s usually game over.
The Warriors adapted a lot this season and made the necessary changes to become a postseason team. Now, they’re peaking at the right time and trying to get in the actual playoffs.