Halfway to Finals MVP

It’s not that Steph Curry has been awful in the three NBA Finals before the 2018 Finals. He just hasn’t been regular season Steph. He hasn’t been this good.

In Finals number one, he was dogged by Matthew Dellavedova who roughed him up early. Steph had to get used to Delly’s physicality and the NBA Finals stage. In NBA Finals two, he was coming off an injury and wasn’t 100%. Last year, he had his moments but was overshadowed by Kevin Durant.

The first two Finals games this year, he has been everything. Setting records. Hitting oh-my-God bombs. Doing the Steph specialty- give, run to the corner, get the ball back. Money. He is giving best in his career performances.

In Game 1, he was the second best player. Considering LeBron dropped 51, that’s nothing to whine about. In Game 2, he was the best player. It’s taken awhile but Steph Curry finally has the NBA Finals MVP thing down. You have to be exceptional.

His numbers so far.

31 points. 8.5 assists. 6.5 rebounds. 50% from three. Offensive Rating 116. His only flaw is his defense. The Cavs are putting him in pick and roll and he’s getting torched. His best defense is his offense because that puts the game in no -man’s land against this one superstar, Kevin Love your second best player means losing a lot Cavs team.

Steph & the Finals Points 3-Point% Assists Offensive Rating MVP
2018 31.0 50.0% 8.5 116 ?
2017 26.8 38.8% 9.4 126 Kevin Durant
2016 22.6 40.0% 3.7 102 LeBron James
2015 26.0 38.5% 6.3 104 Andre Iguodala

Curry has the highest usage rate on the Warriors and unlike years past he is making the best of it, as he is halfway to his firs NBA Finals MVP. If he wins it, he will be the oldest first time winner of the MVP since teammate Andre Igoudala won it in 2015.

It’s a comeback story no one wants to talk about. Curry injured and saving his best act for last, not just if he wins the Finals MVP but back to back championships. There aren’t a lot of those. Tim Duncan never repeated. Jason Kidd never repeated.  In fact, in the past 30 years of NBA playoffs only two Western Conference teams have been repeat champions, the Lakers (1988, 2001, 2002, 2010) and the Rockets (1994). If winning a title is hard, then repeating as champion is equally difficult because so much has to break your way in the regular season. The Warriors have stacked the deck with four All-Stars so they can withstand injuries. When it looked like they were vulnerable after the All-Star break, they had yet to switch to playoff intensity and playoff mental toughness.

Even so. Curry being as great as he is, he needs Durant to be equally dominant if they are to repeat, particularly if they are to take one or two games in Cleveland. LeBron was tired in Game 2. With the days between games and being back home, LeBron’s energy will return in Game 3 and the role players will be more efficient.

The hard truth for Cleveland is they just don’t have the personnel to do anything with Curry. Putting Love on him is a disaster. George Hill is helpless. Jordan Clarkson defended Curry well one time when he was with the Lakers and got torched the rest of the time. The Cavs don’t have a guard who can force Curry to defend him and expend energy. George Hill isn’t a scorer. The Cavs starting backcourt is averaging 18.5 points a game.

Curry doesn’t have to work that hard to get  his shot off. The Cavs best defense against Curry has been to go at him when they have the ball.  Trying to tire him out is their only scheme. It hasn’t worked so far. Curry’s confidence is sky high.

He’s getting whatever shot he wants, whenever he wants it , and still is dishing out almost 9 assists. The Cavs have a problem on their hands, even with LeBron James turning into superpower Black Panther in Game 3.

Steph Curry has accomplished everything a person can accomplish in a career. His first win was playing above expectation. Though he was a lottery pick, many were skeptical about his shot and his slight size. His series of injuries created even more cynicism; it was thick enough to cut with a knife.

Curry has won back to back regular season MVP’s. He was the fire behind a 73 win season, a NBA record. He dropped 9 threes in one Finals game, a NBA record. He’s won two titles. One in six games, one in five games. He’s been an All-Star multiple times. To round out the trophy case, he needs a Finals MVP and All-Star MVP.

Finals MVP is on the clock. This time next week….?