"It’s “the cutting edge of sport performance,” says University of Central Florida sports scientist Jay Hoffman. “It’s being able to look at multiple stimuli on a court,” he says: seeing not just where your teammates and their defenders are, but, like a judo master, recognizing where your defender’s body is in space and using it against him. Curry “has the ability to see [all that stimuli], and get somebody into a position that’s favorable for him,” Hoffman says. “This is what separates great players from good players.” In other words, Curry’s brain is able to read his defender’s positioning — a foot set at an odd angle, a nose edging his weight too far to one side — and use the right ball movement — a head fake, a crossover — to create open looks out of thin air.
In an interview I had with Curry earlier this year, he told me that training his perceptive abilities — what his trainer Brandon Payne calls “neurocognitive efficiency” — has helped make his ball-handling crisper, as well as boosting his creativity and giving him a better command of space on the floor. “In a game, there are so many different variables that are thrown at you — the defense, where your teammates are, how fast your body’s moving, and you have to be in control of all those decisions,” he said, speaking of a regimen that involves “neurological drills” combining simulated game situations with technical dribbling moves. “We overload in our workouts so that the game slows down in real life. It helps you become a smarter basketball player.”