There was a lot of talk about two-time MVP Stephen Curry being weak and coming up small in the NBA Finals, but this year he proved to be just as vital as Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors championship.
For the second time the Warriors are NBA champs, and for the second time someone other than Stephen Curry was named MVP. But that fact is not an indictment of Curry, but rather and endorsement of just how good this guy named Kevin Durant is. But don’t let Curry’s lack of a Finals MVP fool you, he’s the engine that makes Golden State go, and without him they couldn’t have won a title.
The Warriors outscored the Cleveland Cavaliers by 245 points with Curry on the floor. According to John Schuhmann of NBA.com, that’s the best plus minus the 21 years the stat has been tracked. In the postseason Golden State was 27.2 points per 100 possessions better (123.1) on offense with Curry playing than with him on the bench (95.9). He went on to average 26.8 points, 8 rebounds and 9.4 assists in the Finals.
— NBA (@NBA) June 13, 2017
No Curry isn’t the Warriors’ highest scorer, and no, in three trips to the Finals and two Finals’ victories he doesn’t have a Finals MVP, but he is just as important if not more important to Golden State’s success as anyone else on the team. His presence alone makes it easier for guys like Durant to get theirs. The best thing about Curry is he doesn’t care about the Finals MVP; he just wants to win, and now he has, twice.
Paul Flannery of SB Nation spoke to Steve Kerr about Curry’s performance and attitude.
“Even two years ago when he didn’t win Finals MVP there was this narrative that he didn’t have a great Finals,” Steve Kerr told me hours after it was over. “Go back and look at those Finals. He was phenomenal. There’s always going to be different storylines. What’s great about Steph is he doesn’t care. He’s happy for Kevin. He loves being part of the group.”
So what can the Curry haters say now? Well, they’ll undoubtedly find something negative to spout, but if they’re just counting Finals MVPs they might as well stop. Outside of one off night in game 4 Curry balled out for Golden State posting 28 points in game 1, 32 points in game 2, 26 points in game 3 and had 34 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists in the Warriors’ closeout game. He even outrebounded Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson 29-11 through the first three games of the series.
So despite not being the guy in this year’s Finals, the chef has redeemed himself. He sacrificed that title for a real one, the only one that matters. For those that call him weak or a no-show, he showed up big time in the Finals and numbers never lie, without Curry the Warriors wouldn’t stand a chance against the Cavs. At the end of the day, Steph is a two-time champion and looks to be on his way to winning more titles.