In the 2022 NBA Finals, Steph Curry averaged 31.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. On 48/42/86 shooting splits. Very impressive numbers, which resulted in Curry winning the Finals MVP award. As impressive as those numbers are, that is not what stood out to me the most about Curry in these NBA Finals. To be honest, these numbers don’t surprise me at all and they shouldn’t surprise you either. We know the numbers Curry is capable of putting up. But what has followed Curry around ever since that first Warriors championship in 2015 is his lack of Finals MVP awards.
The Finals MVP award is given to the player that had the most noticeable impact on the Finals. To have a noticeable impact on the Finals, you have to step in big moments. For some reason, Curry not having a Finals MVP has led to a perception that he doesn’t step up in big playoff moments. A perception I disagreed with. Going all the way back to the 2015 Finals, Curry scored 37 points in a Game 5 victory for the Warriors. A win which allowed the Warriors to take a 3-2 series lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the 2019 Finals, Curry averaged 30.5 points and 6.0 assists per game. There were discussions about how Steph didn’t step up in the 2019 Finals. If 30 points per game is considered not showing up, then I don’t know what to say.
2022 Finals MVP
I don’t really understand why this perception existed, but it’s gone now. At least it should be. In the 2022 Finals, Curry showed up when his team needed him. With the Warriors trailing 2-1, Curry delivered. In Game 5, Curry didn’t have the best shooting night. But he impacted the game in other ways, and had the highest +/- in Golden State’s starting lineup with +15. With the opportunity to close out the Celtics in 6 games, Curry delivered in an epic fashion that should put to rest the notion that he doesn’t step up in big playoff moments.
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