The Golden State Warriors are the 2015 NBA Champions! Andre Iguodala, after coming off the bench the entire regular season and the playoffs up until game 4 of the Finals, won the 2015 Bill Russell Finals MVP award. Should he have won it? That’s a hot debate in the sports community right now.
Even though Iguodala had a tremendous impact on the series, we believe Stephen Curry was a tad more deserving candidate. While looking through the Twitter timeline after the announcement, a tweet was seen which summed it up pretty nicely — ‘media get “MVP” confused with “X-Factor.”‘
First, why Iguodala won the MVP — Andre Iguodala won the Finals MVP because of the stellar defense he played on Lebron James throughout the series. The Warriors also won the latter 3 games of the series, a streak which coincided with Iguodala’s stint in the starting lineup in place of Andrew Bogut.
Iguodala was also a consistent offensive threat, hitting open jumpers and getting out on the break throughout the series, finishing with 16.4ppg 5.8rpg and 4apg for the Finals.
Enter Stephen Curry and his 26ppg 5.2rpg and 6.3apg — at a glance, you would be confused as to how he didn’t win. For reasons mentioned previously, Andre Iguodala was a worthy candidate, but not more deserving than Steph Curry. I believe the media gave Iguodala the nod over Curry because it would make a much better story — a sixth man winning the Finals MVP? That had never been done before in NBA history!
Furthermore, with Iguodala in the starting lineup, the Warriors won games 4, 5 and 6 convincingly while the first 3 games of the series ended with 2 losses and a narrow win for Golden State. Iguodala must have had some otherworldly impact on the team right? Absolutely, but that’s not the full story.
On the surface, it may seem like the Warriors turned the series around in game 4. In reality, however, the series turned around in the 4th quarter of game 3 when Curry caught fire after being cold since the previous series against the Houston Rockets. The Cavaliers entered the 4th quarter with a 17 point lead which topped out at 20 before Curry and David Lee led the charge to bring Golden State within 1 and 3 points at the 2:42 and 0:19 marks respectively. Chef Curry finally managed to start the grill and even though the Warriors lost that game, the momentum of that final push carried into the next game and the rest of the series.
Stephen Curry’s brief cold stretch was over. Many fully attribute his cold stretch to the defense of Matthew Dellavedova but I disagree; shooters go cold all the time and Curry had been shooting poorly since his tumble against Houston — after which he was shooting just 35.6% overall and 27% from three entering game 3. Dellavedova played great defense but his effect on Curry was greatly overexaggerated as Delly’s 15 minutes of fame and praise were quickly revoked by Curry in the final 3 games of the series. These final 3 games, all ending as Warriors wins, came immediately after Curry rediscovered his stroke — that’s no coincidence because the Warriors go as Stephen Curry does.
In games 4, 5 and 6, Dellavedova could not contain Curry as the Chef danced on the Aussie and hit big shot after big shot, time and time again. Why am I speaking about Dellavedova? Because in a sense he was the heart of that Cavaliers team. He embodied the spirit the underdog, which the Cavs were dubbed. His energy in the first half of the series gave the Cavs a ray of hope and when Curry showed the world that Dellavedova could not guard him, that ray of hope quickly dimmed — the Cavaliers lost faith. When they lost faith, they lost the energy to fight, and eventually, they lost the series.
My two previous assertions were based purely on armchair psychology. How about a more concrete basketball reason Steph was MVP? The reason Andre Iguodala and most of the Warriors’ team had open shots was because of Curry’s ability to draw double teams. When he drew double teams, it led to 4 on 3 opportunities which usually ended with Iguodala on the wing taking uncontested jump shots. Kudos for Iggy for making his shots but it all started with Curry not only drawing double teams, but his willingness to pass out of the double team.
I don’t know about you but a guy who can draw double teams is a very VALUABLE asset on the basketball court.
What do you think?
Tell me why Stephen Curry should’ve won the Finals MVP? or why Iggy was the right choice.