Curry rightly earns MVP crown after averaging 31.2 points in Finals
Fred Jeter | 6/23/2022, 6 p.m.
Legends such as Bill Russell, MagicJohnson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all visited the NBA mountaintop.
Now it’s Steph Curry’s turn to enjoy the view from the best seat on the summit.
The “Curry Era” is still gaining momentum for the Golden State Warriors, now winners of four of the last eight NBA titles.
Arguably the greatest shooter ever, Curry was at his scintillating best in leading “The Dubs” to a 4-2 series victory over Boston in this year’s grand finale.
In the decisive Game 6, Curry had 34 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as Golden State won,103-90, in front of a salty audience in Boston.
In six jaw-dropping outings in the Finals, Curry averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists, while popping the nets at 44 percent from beyond the arc. To the surprise of no one, he was the unanimous Finals MVP.
He wears the initials “MVP” well. Curry was the Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP and Magic Johnson Western Conference MVP, leading into the Celtics series.
In ranking the greatest players in history, Curry now boasts this resume:
• Four-time NBA champion
• Two-time League MVP
• Eight-time All-Star
• Two-time NBA scoring champ
• All-time leader in three-pointers
Curry, now 34, is still lean, quick and shoots with stunning accuracy. While he generally is the team’s leading man, he had plenty of help from his supporting cast. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson have been a part of the same four titles (2015, 2017, 2018 and 2022). This time Andrew Wiggins, who joined the roster in 2020, emerged as another go-to man in the clutch.
Injuries to Curry and Green, as well as Kevin Durant’s departure, may have prevented the Warriors from more titles. Curry played only five games in 2019-20, while Green was in uniform just 43 times that same season. Thompson has also battled through injuries.
After three brilliant seasons with Golden State, Durant departed for Brooklyn. Durant was Finals MVP in 2017 and 2018, helping Warriors to titles both years.
The ultimate NBA dynasty will always be the Russell-led Celtics run of 10 crowns in 11 seasons, 1959 to 1969. However, there were only eight NBA teams in 1959 and still just 14 in 1969.
Now there are 30 teams and four grueling rounds of playoffs.
Jordan’s six titles in eight years with Chicago is a more realistic comparison to today’s NBA. Johnson won five, 1980-88, with the Lakers; Jabbar captured six, 1971 to 1988, with Milwaukee and the Lakers; James had four, 2012 to 2020, with Miami, Cleveland and the Lakers.
Bryant won five, 2000 to 2010, with the Lakers; Shaquille O’Neal picked up four, 2000 to 2006, with the Lakers and Miami.
The Warriors have won seven NBA championships, starting with 1947 and 1956 when the franchise was in Philadelphia. Their first title on the West Coast was in 1975. It was a racial first in that both coaches (Al Attles for the Warriors, K.C. Jones for Washington) were Black.
Golden State, then called San Francisco, never won an NBA title in the mid-1960s when it had four Hall of Famers—Wilt Chamberlain, Guy Rodgers, Nate Thurmond and Attles—on the same roster.
Before Curry became a perennial NBA All- Star, he was an All-American guard at Davidson College, where he led the Wildcats to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2008.
On Aug. 31, his No. 30 will be retired by his alma mater. Curry wears the same number for Golden State.