How Juan Carlos Navarro ignited Steph Curry to change NBA trends?

2022-05-19 06:25

Although the comparison between Stephen Curry and Juan Carlos Navarro might raise some people's eyebrows, according to Curry himself, the Spanish legend has been an inspiration to him.

"I played against him one time in international basketball and seen a lot of film," Steph mentioned the retired Spanish legend. "His creativity, his shot selection, his rhythm on the floor. I've seen him take the one-footed threes and the way he moved all around the floor. I learned a little of what I could implement into my game."

One is considered to be the best shooter in NBA history, while the other holds the same title on the other side of the Atlantic.

So, let's look at Juan Carlos Navarro's skill set and how he could have inspired Stephen Curry's game.

Credit AFP – Scanpix

La Bomba

A true franchise player. During his astonishing 20-year basketball career, Juan Carlos spent 19 of them playing for one club - FC Barcelona. Navarro had only departed for one season, but more on that later.

He is undoubtedly one of the most important players in the history of the Catalan team and has left records that might just stay there for a while. Besides the records, Navarro was a terror to opposing teams in Europe since the Spaniard possessed incredible deep range shooting ability. 

He could heat up at any time of the game and make several threes in a row, one being crazier than the other. Side-step 3s, step-back 3s, one-legged 3s… The sharpshooter had it all in his offensive arsenal.

Although, the most authentic shot that Navarro mastered was not from deep. In fact, it is the sole reason for his nickname - La Bomba. In Spanish, "La Bomba" directly translates to The Bomb, but in basketball, this term really means the "Teardrop" shot, also known as a floater.

Teardrops inside the paint were Navarro's signature way of scoring and created many problems for opposing defenders.


The Spanish Grizzlies

After a strong 2006-07 season, where prime Juan Carlos Navarro led Barcelona in scoring with 17.6 points per game and shot 42% from the 3-point zone in the EuroLeague, La Bomba finally decided to join the NBA.

Having been selected years prior by the Washington Wizards, Navarro's draft rights were traded to Memphis, where his national team and former Barcelona teammate Pau Gasol had already established himself as an NBA All-Star.

Credit Getty Images Sport

Navarro adapted fairly quickly and had a successful rookie campaign. So much so that he managed to play in all 82 games, finishing with solid numbers off the bench, being 17th in the league on 3-pointers made, and making the All-Rookie 2nd team.

Whilst some European stars struggled to adapt, La Bomba really had a chance to not just stay in the league but be a successful role player for any squad at the time. 

Of course, we must not forget that Navarro was playing for the bottom-tier Grizzlies, who finished second-to-last in the Western Conference that year. In addition, Memphis traded their young star Pau Gasol for the rights to another up-and-coming European, his brother Marc.

Juan Carlos Navarro felt like this was not the right situation at the peak of his career, and when asked whether there was any possibility for him to stay, he responded.

"No, because there were a series of circumstances that did not make me feel at ease."

Navarro made his return to Barcelona the following season, where he stayed for the rest of his career and collected the EuroLeague title, MVP, Alphonso Ford Trophy, and many other awards. Not to mention his achievements on the international scene with the Spanish National Team.


Inspiring Steph

As one great shooter left the league, another entered it a few years later in 2009. Steph Curry has already made the most 3PT shots in the history of the NBA and, without question, influenced the game in a way no one has before.

Curry's playing style became the cornerstone of the Golden State Warriors' offense and transformed not just the team but the whole league.

Before Curry's arrival, the Knicks led the league with 27.9 three-pointers attempted per game, while this season, the Bulls shot more than that but were dead last in the league on 3PT attempts with 29.3 triples.

While Steph's playstyle was surprising in the NBA more than 10 years ago, after a decade, it became the new norm. Nevertheless, Europe had experienced this kind of play way before.

No surprise that Curry was inspired and even stole a move or two from Navarro himself.

When you think about Curry, the first thing that pops into your mind is his crazy range and ability to shoot from almost anywhere on the court. Well, Navarro did it before it was cool.

As mentioned before, Navarro's nickname La Bomba is not related to his shooting ability but the "Teardrop" shot. Curry uses this type of shot a lot, too, making his offensive game even more well-rounded.

Undoubtedly, Chef Curry is a way more complete player than La Bomba, with second-to-none ball-handling, the ability to create for others, and arguably better defense, but the Spaniard can now be proud that his style of play has become so successful.

Curry has stayed with the Warriors for his whole career and has no plans to move anywhere else. If that's the case, there will be one more thing these two greats will have in common. Perhaps Curry was inspired by Navarro's loyalty too.

After his retirement, Juan Carlos Navarro continues his journey with the love of his basketball life. Currently, he is working as the General Manager of FC Barcelona.

Credit Rodolfo Molina/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

You might be surprised that a player, who only spent one year in the NBA, could have inspired one of the all-time greats. In a recent interview with us, Juan Carlos Navarro revealed that he was surprised to hear Steph Curry's remark about him.

"I've been lucky enough to play against him. When a top world-class player says that I have been an inspiration for him, it is incredible. It's an honor to say that he copied my one-legged shot."

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