Stephen Curry. The best shooter of all time. Baby-faced killer. The man who changed the way the game was played, from playground asphalt to NBA hardwoods. The cornerstone of the Warriors offense that dominated the league for almost a decade. MVP, champion and undoubtedly the greatest player of all time. However, he never became the NBA Finals MVP.
Unfortunately for Stephen Curry, there will always be a “but”. Or at least it always has been. In the 2022 NBA Finals, he will have another chance to change that rhetoric. Engaged in a fierce battle against a young and talented team of the Boston Celtics, Steph is able to win the NBA Finals MVP title and toss the proverbial monkey off his back.
First, let me tell you why he shouldn’t.
Stephen Curry Talks to NBA Finals MVP
Everyone knows about his greatness in the regular season and all the accolades he has accumulated over the years. So let’s not focus on them. We won’t even bother with his very good (sometimes great) Finals performances in 2017 and 2018 when he won championships alongside teammate Kevin Durant, who was Finals MVP both years.
Rather, our focus is on the statistical absurdity of Curry “losing” to the NBA Finals MVP in 2015. Andre Iguodala became the NBA Finals MVP when the Warriors won the title from the Cavs in 2015. in defense, playing at a higher level than ever in his career. Detractors say Steph had a mediocre streak by his standards and that Iguodala did a great job of slowing down LeBron James to help the Warriors beat the Cavs in 6 games.
While his contribution was huge and his defense against LeBron was crucial, let’s be objective and really test those arguments. In the 2015 NBA Finals, Stephen Curry averaged 26.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists while Andre Iguodala averaged 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists. While it’s hard to quantify the value of Iggy’s defense, which was certainly important, let’s be honest: Curry didn’t win the NBA Finals MVP title – something that has never happened in the league since the 1990-91 season (the year of Michael Jordan). first title), which many today consider the modern era of basketball.
According to the basketball handbook, no player during this period was ever on a championship team, led their team in scoring by almost 10 points per game, and did not win an MVP. Not a single player. We are talking about the sample size in 31 seasons. What’s more, only two players during that time were NBA Finals MVPs without leading their team in scoring, and both were less than half a point per game behind the scoring leader. In 2014, Kawhi Leonard was the Finals MVP, averaging 0.2 points per game less than Tony Parker, and in 2004, Chauncey Billups averaged 0.4 points per game less than Richard Hamilton. In these cases, the scoring was essentially a toss-up, so other statistics or even intangibles could be considered important. However, statistically, what happened to Steph in 2015 has never happened in the modern NBA, and frankly, nothing else could compare to him.
Now one might argue again that Iggy’s defense was invaluable. Still, was it enough to outshine the team’s best player, the glue, the spark that ignited the Warriors’ entire offense? If you look at the numbers again, James was an outstanding loser, averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists. However, his scoring percentage was 39.8%, and credit for that goes to Iggy and the Warriors defense. Regardless, the rhetoric that Iggy was such a great defensive player that he was the MVP without carrying an offensive load, a statistical circumstance that has never happened before and has never happened since? It just can’t stand it.
Objectively, Curry was probably playing slightly below his best on the biggest stage in his first NBA Finals, and his 3-point percentage was down slightly from his usual average. No matter, he was by far the best player for the Warriors in that series and throughout the year, winning the regular season MVP in the process. And therein lies another first. During the same period from 1990 to 1991, no player won the regular season MVP and then won the championship but did not become the Finals MVP. Not alone. Again, it just doesn’t add up. No one else, valuable enough to be the league’s MVP, became the Finals MVP when their team took home the top prize. Well, except for Stephen Curry.
That’s why, although Kevin Durant earned the MVP title in 2017 and 2018, it’s ridiculous that Stephen Curry has to answer questions about why he never became the NBA Finals MVP. Statistically, he should have won it in 2015. It’s absurd that he has to deal with doubts about his membership in the all-time greats club because his robe lacks that one piece of equipment. He should have that kind of equipment, and not winning has never been statistically replicated in the modern NBA. While he is unquestionably the best thrower ever, and has been a multiple MVP and regular season champion, his top-level greatness is still largely questioned due to his lack of Finals MVP. It’s a shame, but that’s how it all went down. This is the burden Steph Curry has to bear.
Stephen Curry NBA Finals MVP…2022?
Which brings us all back to today and Steph’s ability to break that delusion. So far, Stephen Curry is averaging 27.1 points per game in the 2022 NBA Finals, 10th all-time.
Many are still shocked by what happened in Game 5, but it shows that even the best shooter in the world is human. Missing all nine of his three-point attempts and coming out empty for the first time in his playoff career, Curry managed 16 points and 8 assists in a game that was very mediocre by his standards. Meanwhile, Andrew Wiggins put in what some would call the best game of his career when the Warriors needed it the most. He had 26 points and 13 powerful rebounds, a timely tally, and confidence and poise that NBA fans had never seen before from Wiggins. He was just phenomenal.
There has been talk, maybe just for the headline or maybe because some people really believe it, that Andrew Wiggins could be the NBA Finals MVP leader if the Warriors end up winning the series.
Stephen Curry is again averaging 30/5/4 as above, compared to Wiggins with 18.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists. Wigging has been an outstanding defensive and off-board player in the last two games, but he also scored 11 points in the second game without any negative repercussions. Why? Because he’s not the best player for the Warriors.
And this is really the main thing. Stephen Curry is the best player in the Golden State Warriors, there’s no doubt about it. He leads the way in scoring, maintains amazing team chemistry, and the whole offense is based on his movement and the greatness of his shooting shot. Not only is he their best player, he’s great in this series. With 34, 29, 31 and 43 points prior to his struggle in Game 5, he carried the load and scored with amazing efficiency against Boston’s tough defense. Combined with a very solid defense despite being small (he leads the team in steals per game in the 2022 NBA Finals), he was everything you could expect from a superstar.
So, with all that said, the question is, if we all know that Curry is truly great, and he showed us that greatness again in this series on the league’s biggest stage, why does he need to prove to us that he deserves the NBA? Finals Most Valuable Player? Why doesn’t he get the credit he deserves without being interrogated, which superstars of his caliber haven’t? I’m not sure that anyone really knows the answer to this question, and that a good answer doesn’t exist.
What I’m sure of is that no one knows how this series will end. For Chief Curry, the greatest shooter ever to lift a basketball, when all is said and done, he can sit back and relax and never answer those questions again. Only time will tell, of course. However, Stephen Curry, NBA Finals MVP, makes no bones about it, he will silence some haters.