NBA version Kang Baek-ho, the essence of shadow defense against Curry

Vanderbilt’s defense was outstanding.

The Los Angeles Lakers won 117-112 in the game against the Golden State Warriors in the first leg of the second round of the 2023 NBA playoffs held at the Chase Center in San Francisco on the 3rd (Korean time).

The 2nd round series between the Lakers and Golden State, the popular NBA clubs that gathered a lot of attention. The team that caught the first game was the Lakers. The Lakers, who went on an expedition to San Francisco, started the series in a good mood with a valuable first win.

The Lakers’ brightest player that day was Anthony Davis. Reproducing the performance of the winning bubble season, Davis dominated the game with 30 points, 23 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.

On the other hand, Jared Vanderbilt, who acted as Stephen Curry’s full-time defender, quietly did his part and acted as a supporter. The Lakers would not have been able to guarantee victory without Vanderbilt. In the cartoon ‘Slam Dunk’, Kang Baek-ho blocking the best shooter Shin Jun-seop came to mind. 

Curry scored 50 points in Game 7 of the first round against Sacramento. Defending Curry, the opposing ace, was the Lakers’ biggest challenge in this series. 

After much consideration, manager Davin Hamm’s decision was to attach Vanderbilt as Curry’s full-time defender instead of a guard player. Vanderbilt, a 203cm tall forward with explosive activity, has already had a lot of experience defending the opponent’s main guard since his days in Minnesota. Curry was also one of those targets.

Curry, who has a lot of off-the-ball moves and shoots at the slightest distraction, is one of the most difficult players to stop in the NBA. Against such Curry, Vanderbilt persistently followed and showed what shadow defense is. He was flexible on the screen and had a lot of control over Curry’s off-the-ball movement.

Curry, who was great, scored 27 points in Game 1 despite Vanderbilt’s intense check. However, the field goal rate was only 41.7% (10/24), and there were 5 turnovers. What’s clear is that Curry is different when Vanderbilt is on the court and when he isn’t. The scoring at the end of the first quarter and after the middle of the fourth quarter also came at the time Vanderbilt went to the bench.ㅋㅋㅋ벳

Bullying Curry is significant because it can reduce the offense of Golden State as a whole. In addition, Golden State went on a schedule for the second round after a day off after a bloody battle with Sacramento in Game 7. For Curry, Vanderbilt’s intensive containment must have been a huge physical burden.

Even in Game 2, Vanderbilt is highly likely to be used as Curry’s dedicated marksman. Watching how Curry responds to his defense will be the biggest point to watch in the series. Which player will laugh in Game 2?

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