Stephen Curry, despite the accolades he has to show for, has been a subject of criticism even before his rise to superstardom.
His subpar performance in the previous Finals didn’t help his cause either, as people started questioning whether Steph Curry belongs in that tier of the elite. Such a claim never seemed so preposterous, as Curry has two MVP’s and a championship to show for. With the current playoffs going on, however, Steph is on the right track to erase any doubts. The Steph Curry playoffs: 2017 edition has been outstanding for the reigning MVP, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
The path to superstardom was never easy for any player, especially for Steph Curry.
Once considered a three-star prospect, Curry never drew much attention from major colleges, eventually settling for Davidson. It seemed it was a blessing in disguise for Curry, as Davidson gave him the opportunity to show the world how special of a player he is. His magical run in the NCAA tournament in 2008 was his coming out party, as he helped Davidson with an incredible tournament run. Suddenly, things were looking up for the Baby Faced Assasin.
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He eventually played another year for Davidson and then declared for the 2009 NBA draft. Even with his strong showing in college, many scouts were skeptical. Scouts saw him as a two-guard in a PG’s body which wouldn’t be ideal in a league like the NBA, and his speed didn’t help him either. The Warriors, however, saw something in Steph that others didn’t and took him with the 7th overall pick. The familiar place of being overlooked once again came back to Steph.
His early years in the NBA were a rollercoaster.
He suffered multiple ankle injuries that many thought would put his career in jeopardy. Many people began to write Curry off, as he could never manage to stay on the court. However, if you keep grinding at something no matter what, things will eventually fall your way.
That is the case for our two-time MVP.
The 2012-2013 season for Curry was his coming out party into the NBA, as he was finally able to show the world what he can do on the court. He produced numerous scoring outbursts during that season, including a 54-point performance in the Garden on national TV. That very game might have been his turning point, as everyone suddenly took notice of him.
During that season, the Warriors finally made their first playoffs since Steph was drafted. Steph Curry playoffs: version one was not to be taken lightly, as the Denver Nuggets learned the hard way. The Nuggets had the 3rd seed and the best home record in the league against the youthful Warriors. However, even that didn’t stop Steph from doing what he wants. The Warriors beat the Nuggets in 6 games, advancing to play the Spurs. While their playoffs ended in 6 games against the Spurs, they let the league know. They were coming. They were ready to take over.
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The following season was another improvement, however, didn’t go far into playoffs, losing to the Clippers in the first round. Steph Curry playoffs: version two took a step back, but that wasn’t stopping Curry. They were still a young team, but already, a change was coming.
In a surprising turn of events, the Warriors fired Mark Jackson and hired a first-time head coach, Steve Kerr. Many were caught off guard with the surprising news, even their own players. Mark Jackson had the Warriors in a positive direction, yet he was let go. Again, the Warriors faced issues and were again “slept on.”
The following season after Jackson’s firing became a magical season for both Kerr and Curry.
In his first year of coaching, Kerr led the team to a 67-15 record in the West, good for the top spot in the West. As we all know, he also coached the team to the NBA Finals. Great for Kerr. As for Curry, it was no short of magical as well. He notched his first MVP in his young career and led his team to an NBA championship, Golden State’s first in so long.
Despite Curry achieving these accolades, criticism still rained down on him. Narratives of “Harden should’ve won MVP” and “Curry ‘choked’ in the Finals” flew across the basketball community. Despite leading Golden State to the best record while averaging around 24 & 8 in only 32 MPG, some didn’t see him as the deserving MVP of that season. The “hot takes” didn’t stop there.
During the Finals, many people questioned Curry after being “shut-down” by Matthew Dellavedova. Apparently, Steph Curry had a bad Finals according to some even if he averaged 26 PPG, 5.2 rebounds, and 6.3 assists on 44% FG and nearly 39% from distance. He didn’t win the Finals MVP award, eventually going to Andre Iguodala. Although he led the Warriors to basketball’s most prestigious title, Steph was still being doubted. Steph Curry playoffs: version three took off to another level, but it still wasn’t enough to others.
Steph seemed to be even better, and boy was he ever.
You know the magical season Steph had. The 30 points a game, the 402 threes in the regular season, the first ever ‘Unanimous MVP’, the 73-9 record; those accomplishments are the tip of the iceberg for one of the greatest seasons ever in NBA history. Could it be that everyone else starts to fully respect what this guy has done? Not so fast, apparently. It seemed too easy for Steph and the Warriors.
Steph dealt with injuries during the entire playoffs, shown by the way he really didn’t play like himself. The first hole he had to dig out of was the OKC Thunder, where they had GSW in a 3-1 deficit. The criticism started taking over Steph, but like the player he is, he proved them wrong.
Steph Curry playoffs: version four takes a step back?
By the time he helped lead the Warriors to a 4-3 series comeback win, Steph was less and less himself. It could be his injuries, his fatigue, or just mentally out of it. Whatever it is, he was unlike himself in the Finals rematch against Cleveland. He was struggling with his shot, for the most part, shooting only 40% from the field. Unfortunately for Steph, that wasn’t the icing on the cake for a very forgettable series. The Warriors became the first Finals team to ever blow a 3-1 lead, which is not a good look for the Unanimous MVP at all. The doubt regarding Steph Curry was probably at an all-time high at that point. Steph Curry playoffs: version four, based on circumstances, was a step back.
Given his subpar 2016 Finals performance, this season could be seen as a redemption season, especially in the playoffs.
With the addition of former MVP, Kevin Durant, things were going to be very different in Golden State. Since they are including a player like KD, the team would obviously have to sacrifice a little bit to make things work. Steph was no exception. Despite a lesser workload, Steph still managed to average around 25 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 7 assists on efficient shooting. Steph’s numbers were great but even that didn’t the save him for the critiques directed at him. Hot takes of Steph “falling off” flew around social media, claiming how the Two-Time MVP is not like himself anymore. Steph Curry was suddenly being “slept on” again, familiar waters for the superstar.
Then came Steph’s chance to finally shut the doubters up.
The playoffs. While his workload is less because of Durant, the pressure is still as high for Curry. This is the playoff run that can probably cement his legacy as an all-time great in the league. The time where he can finally prove he is a worthy MVP and superstar in this league. So far, he’s off to a good start.
Fresh off of another sweep against the Jazz, Curry so far in these playoffs, has averaged around 27 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds per game on his usual efficient shooting. He has been Golden State’s best player so far during their playoff run and it seems like he shows no signs of stopping. Steph Curry playoffs: version five is underway and it seems like it’s gonna be the best one yet.
The criticism about Steph may never stop, but he won’t either. A dominant run like he’s on pace to do is what might make him officially one of the all-time greats.
*Featured photo via (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)*