Personal trainer: Curry shooting more free throws 'simply because...'


Personal trainer: Curry shooting more free throws 'simply because...'

When Steph Curry was the unanimous MVP in 2015-16, he shot 5.1 free throws per game.

Last year, he got to the line 4.6 times per contest.

Through eight games this season, Curry is averaging a career-high 7.6 free throw attempts.

Why the surge?

“It’s something that we talked about for several years now,” Brandon Payne -- Curry's longtime personal trainer -- told Sam Amick of USA Today Sports. “As he has continued to develop and mature physically, he has a little more speed and burst that might not have been there a couple years ago.

Now when he goes into the paint, instead of absorbing contact, he’s looking to initiate the contact. He’s driving with a purpose. He’s driving looking to finish and initiate the contact, and I think that’s what’s led to this spike in free throws.

"And I don’t think it’s going to slow down anytime soon.”

Considering the fact that Curry is shooting over 95 percent (58 for 61) from the line this year, the Warriors don't want it to slow down.

When you're the deadliest 3-point shooter in the game -- and you get to the line a lot -- you're nearly impossible to guard.

“Teams are going to come out and they’re going to push up on him and they’re going to try to take away space from him out on the perimeter and it leaves driving lanes,” Payne explained. “And now, he certainly has the ability to get in there, and he gets in there very quickly, and he gets in there not only looking to score but to get to the free throw line as well.

"When you drive aggressively, you’re constantly putting the officials in a position where they have to make a decision. You’re not giving them the out by trying to get around contac. I think he’s starting to get more calls simply because of the posture and kind of the aggression that he is going to the basket with now.

"I think once the officials have started to realize that he’s starting to do that, then they’re going to look to make that call.”

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut


Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut

OAKLAND -- Like much of the NBA and everyone with an interest in the Warriors, Omri Casspi has watched the emergence of Quinn Cook, who came out of the G-League and is making a strong bid to make the postseason roster.

Casspi, out since spraining his right ankle last Friday against Sacramento, happens to be at or near the top of the list of the tiny group of players that might be dropped should the Warriors decide to add Cook.

The 6-foot-9 veteran forward has heard the chatter.

“First of all, it’s you guys talking,” Casspi said, referring to media. “I don’t really feel it from the organization. At the end of the day, I’m focused on getting healthy and playing. That’s all I can control.

“I feel like the team needs me and know what I can do for the team. My focus is on getting healthy and playing.”

The Warriors have until April 11 to submit their playoff roster.

Casspi’s roster spot is in danger for three reasons.

One, he has lost confidence in his long-distance shooting, which was influential in the team’s decision to sign him to a one-year minimum contract last July.

Two, his defense has been a glaring weakness, with teams attacking him at every opportunity.

Three, he had fallen out of the rotation when the team was fully healthy and didn’t return until after succession of injuries. Casspi exceeded 10 minutes of playing time in only one of the 12 games before injuries to several teammates became a factor.

Stephen Curry’s ankle woes this season, along with Cook’s impressive play, are making a persuasive argument for adding the third-year point guard.

For now, Casspi is determined to get back on court after missing the last two games.

“With my role on this team, when I’m healthy I want to go out there and play, maybe not 100 percent healthy, but close to it,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on, on feeling good and running up and down and being able to cut and move and be out there again with the guys.”

As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay


As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson all worked up sweat Wednesday, putting the Warriors ever closer to being whole again.

Only Draymond Green did not full participate in the non-contact practice session, but he’s expected back in a matter of days.

So while the Warriors are a little more than a week away from possibly having the full squad available, they’re starting to feel a little less vulnerable.

“They’re all kind of day-to-day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Steph is closer to playing than KD and Klay.”

Curry has not played since March 8, when he tweaked his surgically repaired right ankle. He missed the last six games. Durant (rib cartilage injury) and Thompson (right thumb sprain) sustained their injuries on March 11 at Minnesota, though Durant played one more game, March 14, before receiving a diagnosis. Durant missed the last three games, Thompson the last four.

Green sustained a pelvic contusion Monday night at San Antonio, but believes he will be available this weekend, either Friday against Atlanta or Sunday against Utah.

Curry, though, is fully cleared for all activities.

“Steph looks great,” Kerr said. “He’s chomping at the bit. But we’ll see how he responds in the next couple days before we decide whether he plays or not.”

Durant loathes acknowledging pain or injuries, and his return will be dictated by his ability with withstanding the contact inevitable in the course of a game.

“I don’t expect KD to play this week,” Kerr said. “It’s not like a timetable . . . just sort of a feel thing. It’s symptomatic with him.”

Thompson seems, at this point, the furthest away from full activity.

“Klay did some stuff," Kerr said, “but not full participation.”