This post is part of a series geared toward generating hype for the upcoming MLL season. Non-lacrosse and non-MLL fans can get to know the league’s stars better through these comparisons to NBA, NFL and NHL players. Some analogies are based on playing styles and others are based on off-field personality, but none are based on spending habits. We aren’t quite at the point where MLL players can drop $5,000 each week at Cheesecake Factory, but we’ll get there someday.
Both Mike Sawyer and Stephen Curry took their respective leagues by storm this summer. Considering Sawyer netted 52 goals as a junior at Loyola and Curry averaged 28.6 PPG as a junior at Davidson, there was a relatively low level of hype surrounding these players. Sawyer was the 8th overall pick in 2013; Curry was 7th overall in 2009. Somehow these sharpshooters had slipped under the radar – until now.
After dropping 54 points at Madison Square Garden this February, Curry made any Golden State game must-see TV. The Dubs all-too-short 2013 playoff run was phenomenal. The Splash Brothers and the 6-seed Warriors knocked out the Denver Nuggets but fell short to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6. Still, #DUBNATION was born.
Fast-forward a few months to MLL Championship Weekend. Thanks to some incredible outside shooting of their own, Mike Sawyer and the Charlotte Hounds knocked off the undefeated Denver Outlaws. Lacrosse fans hundreds of miles from the Carolinas bought into the #ReleaseTheHounds hype.
Entering this season, expectations are high for Sawyer, Curry and their respective teams. A championship is possible; Entertainment is guaranteed. These two players have brought their teams to the forefront of national headlines through similar, spectacular shooting performances.
Curry is a career 44.6% shooter from beyond the arc. Since he joined the league, he has been in the top-10 in 3-point shooting each year. He is the basketball equivalent of a sniper – a label that is being used more and more to described Sawyer. The Loyola product holds the record for the fastest shot ever at 114 miles per hour!
Even more distinctive than their shooting prowess is their style. They are both capable of launching quality shots while off-balanced. Check out this highlight tape of Sawyer at Loyola. At 0:31 he rips a low-to-high shot with his momentum going in the opposite direction. At 2:59 he creates his own shot as he falls away from the net.
Most 3-point specialists in the NBA are spot-up shooters. Other players slash and kick the ball to them; they just catch and shoot. Not Curry, though. In his 54-point MSG performance, he hit a crazy amount of 3-pointers off-the-dribble – my favorite of which comes at 1:24.
While players like Matt Poskay and Mike Stone fit the “spot-up” shooter mold, Sawyer is the “off-the-dribble” type. He does not shoot downhill and on-the-run like Paul Rabil or John Ranagan, though. His momentum has little influence on how and where he will shoot. Like Curry, Sawyer’s ability to stop short, step back or drive by you makes him so difficult to defend.
A couple weeks ago Sawyer’s teammate, Ryan Flanagan, tweeted out a link to a Steph Curry video.
— Ryan Flanagan (@RyanFlanagan24) November 4, 2013
I am sure Flanagan would agree that Sawyer’s style and work ethic parallel those of Steph Curry. The true burning question, however, is which Charlotte Hound most resembles Ryan Lochte?!
— Ryan Flanagan (@RyanFlanagan24) October 7, 2013
If you have any comparisons that you’d like to see featured, e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “MLL versus.”