As much as I’m looking forward to seeing the Golden State Warriors back in the NBA Finals, what I’m not looking forward to is paying them many compliments. They’re extremely fun to watch, no less fun than the League Pass alert days of 2013 and 2014. However, Charles Barkley is correct when he says that the Warriors’ fan base, excluding my friends from the Bay Area of course, is annoying. I understand why he almost threw that mug at somebody in the crowd during that last episode of Inside the NBA.
That being said, this run began in 2012-13. Nine years later, the core of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson have advanced to their sixth NBA Finals. As good as they are as a group, of the three, Curry stands out. He can shoot off-the-dribble from three as quick as a Muhammad Ali jab, and is the full manifestation of the way Daryl Morey thought basketball should be played. A game that was once always played forward, toward the basket, now it’s just as important to be effective away from it.
Few know this better than Green, who, while an extremely gifted defender and playmaker, does not get the same shine on him without Curry’s talent keeping the eyes of the world on the Warriors. When Colin Cowherd asked Green about the talk that Curry needs a Finals MVP for some kind of validation, Green defended his star as if he was tasked with guarding him.
Green talked at length about Curry’s selflessness and the types of double teams that he faces. To drive the point home, Green brought up Kevin Durant’s years with the Warriors and all of the attention that Curry still received from opposing defense
“Kevin Durant was absolutely incredible in those finals, as you know. You watched it,” Green said on Colin Cowherd’s podcast. “Kevin Durant was absolutely insane. Steph Curry got doubled-teamed probably seven times the amount that K.D. did in a given series.”
Could Durant let that comment go by without a response, of course not, and we in the content industry thank him for his service. Someone sent Durant a clip of Green’s comments on Twitter, and Durant replied, “From my view of it, this is 100% false.” He even doubled-down when another person agreed with Green.
Green later quote tweeted Durant saying that he needed to watch his whole response, and then Durant decided to end the back-and-forth, and kept it civil. K.D. said that appreciated Green’s compliments and his only disagreements were about the double-teams. Durant has the right to disagree, and maybe he’s correct about literal double-teams. However, the coach of the Cavs for the 2017 and 2018 Finals, Tyronn Lue, said that he elected to blitz Curry instead of Durant or Klay Thompson. Also, this clip sides with Green as well.
Green’s overall point was that Curry sacrifices for the overall success of the Warriors. He could force his shots when defenses focus on him if he wanted to, but instead he’s selective, and dishes off to open teammates. He’s fine with the scoring coming elsewhere. It’s one of the reasons that in the 2017 Finals, Durant was able to win MVP, averaging 35.2 points per game on 55.6/47.4/92.7 splits *exploding brain emoji*. This is one season after he averaged 30 points on 42.3/28.6/91.8 shooting splits while playing against the Warriors with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals.
Curry is Randy Moss, Tyreek Hill, Peter Warrick at Florida State, and Barry Bonds. Nothing terrifies a defense in any sport like big-play ability. Those 35-footers that we’ve seen Curry make, or when he turns his back while burying a three, those are 80-yard touchdowns and home runs into McCovey Cove. Those are the plays that break teams, and Curry plays basketball. The defense doesn’t have to come out onto the field. The Warriors transition back to defense as a 24-second shot clock counts until they get the ball again.
A three home run, or three touchdown game? Try 11 3-pointers. That’s the threat that makes a coach like Lue sell out to make sure that doesn’t happen, and the point Green was making was Finals MVP or no Finals MVP, Curry’s career is the same. Curry is one of the top-five guards in the history of the sport, and is a singular talent that the league had never seen before, having the ability to shoot as fast as a click, off the dribble or catch-and-shoot, and from the logo, consistently. There was one season he shot over 90 percent from three from one of the corners.
Regardless of who is the MVP of the Finals, the show does not work if Curry doesn’t force the attention of the entire arena all night long.