After each game for the season, IQ has not only put in amazing work to compile all the links you could possibly want about the Warriors but also offers you the opportunity to vote for the top player of the game in a poll.
Today, we look back on each of the voting results of each of those games as a means by which to take stock of the top performers in the playoffs. By the end of the Warriors' (hopefully-extended) playoff run, we'll have an easy way to determine a playoff MVP.
I've put the game-by-game winners below with the percentage of the vote they received in parentheses. Links in the headers for each game are to the Basketball-Reference.com boxscore.
Stephen Curry (19%)
Runner-up: Draymond Green (4%)
This game ended ugly and the voting results reflect that. But Andy Liu summarized Stephen Curry's impact well.
But the entire regular season was leading to this. Everything the Warriors have achieved was only the beginning. It's all on the line now and there's Curry on the floor for 40 minutes. It's been building for the past couple seasons. The offense is dreadful without him commandeering the ship, ruthlessly flipping and-one lefty layups around Anthony Davis and scaring the souls out of defenders in transition. That weird moment? Those 5-6 minute lapses on offense? It's no coincidence that Curry is on the bench in those moments.
That has been as much a theme throughout this season as it was in this series. You could almost say the entire series followed the same theme, had someone else not stepped up in Game 2.
For more on Game 1, check out our storystream.
Klay Thompson (24%)
Runner-up: Draymond Green (19%)
Game 2 featured more somewhat uneven play, with the Warriors finding themselves down 28-17 at the end of one quarter. Although it was certainly a team effort once again to take control of the game and come away with the win, it was Klay Thompson's play that stood out to me.
Thompson just gave the kind of performance that wasn't entirely spectacular, but enough to give the team a lift offensively and be the surprisingly steady player in a game full of unfocused play. While I feel that Curry is often attempting to play to the crowd, there are times when Thompson seems almost indifferent to his surroundings and completely wrapped up in his own play — when things are going poorly for him, that's a terribly quality; when they're going well, it leads to the kind of 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting performances we saw last night.
Thompson scored 14 of his 26 points in a decisive fourth quarter to help the Warriors seal a win. And there's something to be said about his shot chart during that quarter.
Klay Thompson's fourth quarter shot chart in Game 2 of the first round.
As Thompson continues to grow as a player, he'll eventually shed whatever lingering notion there is that he's nothing more than an elite spot-up shooter -- his ability to both use his threat as an outside shooter to drive and play off others within the offense all over the court is crucial to the Warriors' success.
But the final two games really showed who this team depends on most.
For more on Game 2, check out our storystream.
Stephen Curry (48%)
Runner-up: Draynond Green (6%)
Stephen Curry sends the game to OT https://t.co/tXDVAD7hUy— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) April 24, 2015
Seth Curry's reaction just says all you need to know.
Need I say more?
Just in case, check out our storystream for more on Game 3.
Stephen Curry (35%)
Runner-up: Draymond Green (11%)
We've said enough about Steph in this post and you can read plenty more about him in the storystream from Game 4.
So let's take a moment to talk about Draymond Green, shall we?
As a community, we didn't consider Green as the most valuable for any one game in this series but he was a clear second in every single game. There's no question that Curry dominated this series statistically, but the work Green did to contain Anthony Davis for stretches throughout the series is beyond simply being noteworthy — it may well have been the difference in making this series a sweep and something a bit more dramatic.
I'm sympathetic to the argument that Green shouldn't be considered a "Davis stopper", as put forward at SB Nation's Pelicans site The Bird Writes — Davis did absolutely take over games at times and did make shots over Green. But we shouldn't see the goal of defense as quite so binary, a simple matter of whether a player scored or not. Defense is, as Kirk Goldsberry described perfectly earlier this season, a matter of suppressing and disrupting expected shot activity and reduce the shot efficiency of assignments.
In short, you want a defender to make his assignment uncomfortable within a team concept.
After 2 games, Anthony Davis: VS. DRAYMOND GREEN 18 points 6-18 FGs 4 turnovers AWAY FROM GREEN 43 points 16-27 FGs 3 turnovers— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) April 22, 2015
Draymond Green did that at least better than anyone on the Warriors' roster could be expected to and arguably as well as anyone in the league could be expected to throughout this series.
You could easily argue that if Curry was responsible for giving the Warriors' offense a jolt to put them over the top when they needed it, Green was often responsible for putting the Warriors in position to win games they could have lost with his versatile play. Given his solid offensive contributions, I think you could quite easily make an argument that he was the series MVP despite Curry's amazing offensive output.
But that might be a bit of an academic argument when thinking about the most significant player this series.
For more on Game 4, check out our storystream.
Series MVP: Stephen Curry
I thought GSoM user franklin.barfield.1 summed up Curry's series nicely in a comment last night, so I'll quote him here:
Now we're seeing what Curry's stats would look like if he were playing the kinds of minutes Harden and others did during the regular season. The rest of the NBA should be very worried. This young man is a freak. MVP!
The MVP ballots have already been submitted, but his playoff numbers don't lie: a league playoff-high 33.8 ppg on a TS% of .614 and a league-high 35.02% usage rate, 5.3 rebounds, and 7.3 assists. That's not even to mention the impact of his presence on the floor in pulling Anthony Davis away from the basket, requiring the attention of multiple defenders, and thus making the offense flow better than anyone else on the roster could.
Those that needed more to support Curry's MVP argument can simply re-watch this series — he is the engine that makes this team go, the catalyst that has taken this team from good to otherworldly.
Who's your choice? Feel free to make one more vote on this series in the poll below.