As Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry prepares to play in his fifth career NBA Finals, his focus is on winning another championship, not chasing his first Finals MVP award.
During NBA Finals media day Wednesday, the three-time champion made it clear that adding to his ring collection is the only thing that matters.
“I understand that’s the conversation, and I like that conversation because it means I’ve been here plenty of times and we’re still winning. Honestly, I know that would be an amazing accomplishment…the way that I play, the energy that I give on the court. Every playoff game that I’ve played, every Finals I’ve played is to win the basketball game, however you get that done. For us to win championships, I know I have to be playing at a very high level. Whether that means a Finals MVP or not, I’ll let that kind of work itself out. In terms of chasing rings and banners, that’s the first and foremost. You can’t cheat the game that way.”
Curry has been excellent throughout his career during the regular season, but he hasn’t always matched that level of play in the Finals. However, he has still played well enough to help the Warriors win three of the last four titles and come within one win of a four-peat.
In his first Finals back in 2015, Curry averaged 26.0 points on 44.6 percent shooting (38.5 percent from three-point range) while adding 6.3 assists and 5.2 rebounds during a six-game series victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. While he had an argument for Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala wound up taking home the honors while limiting LeBron James to 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game while playing without the injured Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Curry entered the 2016 Finals as the first-ever unanimous MVP in league history, and it was his second straight year winning the award. However, he also suffered a knee injury earlier during the postseason, leaving him hobbled for a rematch with the Cavs. He averaged 22.6 points while shooting 40.0 percent from beyond the arc, but James wound up winning Finals MVP as he led Cleveland back from a 3-1 series deficit to win its first-ever championship.
In Durant’s first year in the Bay Area, Curry willingly took a backseat to his star teammate. And yet, he still averaged 26.8 points per game on 44.0 percent shooting in a five-game victory. Durant wound up winning Finals MVP, though, as he averaged 35.2 points per game.
Curry finally appeared ready to win the award last year, but an 11-point effort in Game 3 all but ended his chances. He averaged 27.5 points, 6.8 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game for the series while Durant (28.8 points per game) nabbed his second Finals MVP award.
After last year’s Finals, Durant made it clear that nobody on the team cares about individual recognition:
That’s something Curry had talked about prior to the series, saying he was “going to be smiling just as wide and just as big” regardless of who won MVP if the Warriors won the title.
With Durant sidelined at least for Thursday’s Game 1 by a calf injury, Curry—who averaged 36.5 points per game during the Western Conference Finals—enters this year’s championship round against the Toronto Raptors as the favorite to win the award this time around:
If Golden State completes the three-peat to win its fourth title in five years, Curry doesn’t care who wins MVP honors. Then again, if he continues to play at a high level, the rest will take care of itself.
Courtesy: Bleacher Report