You ready for the hottest of all hot takes? I don't think Stephen Curry -- he of NBA superstardom, soul-melting shot selections, fire-emojis-sprung-to-life on the basketball court, face of the league, fifth most famous person in the world -- is having a good NBA Finals experience. (Also, how dope would it be if he had someone on hand to introduce him at press conferences and at publicity events with hella titles, a la Daenerys. I would fully support this.)
I can see it now!
Wearing a full length, hooded brown robe, Raymond Ridder stands erect before the assembled media horde. He rapts curtly upon the floor with a huge, oaken staff. The room falls instantly silent.
"Ahem!" begins Raymond. "Ladies and gentlemen, take your seats. Take your seats." The sound of rustling, swishing robes fills the room. The lights dim. Curry emerges from behind a curtain and takes his seat at the podium. A single, gentle white light focuses on his face. He smiles benevolently at the assembled members of the media.
Raymond clears his throat again. "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Wardell Stephen Curry, first of his name, he of NBA superstardom, soul-melting shot selections, fire-emojis-sprung-to-life on the basketball court, face of the league, fifth most famous person in the world."
Raymond takes a deep breath, "He will answer approximately three, perhaps four of your questions. And," a small smile crosses his lips, "you may begin."
But, the point is currently mute, as Curry has played like a giant dumpster fire up through the first three games of the Finals. Here are some un-fun facts:
1.) Curry is averaging more turnovers per game than assists. (5 turnovers/game, 4.3 assists/gm). Yikes.
2.) After averaging 30 points/game in the regular season, Curry has scored 48 total points through the first three games of the Finals. This is not only bad, it is also the worst point total through three Finals games ever for a 30 ppg player.
3.) This kinda summed it up.
4.) Dammit, also this.
Stephen Curry scored two total points in the first half of last night's game. He seemed off, he seemed like he was preoccupied and not totally invested. I know that's a harsh thing to say, especially writing this from NYC, thousands of miles removed from the action. But his body language was just not that of "Steph Curry, World Ender." I wrote about this last night as well, but at one point, Steve Kerr yanked him from the game after a particularly horrid series of possessions. Curry walked over, took a seat next to Kerr, obviously displeased. His eyes were squinted, he seemed to be staring into a faraway universe.
"YOU OKAY?!" Kerr yelled at him. Of course, it's a simple question, but in the moment, and with Kerr's fiery body language, it felt like a challenge. The type of thing someone says to you right before they challenge you to a fight. You've wandered too far, wandered onto some strange block, and someone is there to challenge your onwards progression. "YOU GOOD, BRO?"
Curry merely nodded, seemed to almost not hear Kerr. He was too wrapped up in his own struggles. Physical, mental, who can say? All we can do is speculate on what we see with our own two eyes. And the eye test has not been particularly kind to Curry through the NBA Finals' first three games. His normal swagger is missing, his shot seems unbalanced. The first two games it didn't matter because, well, first there was Shaun Livingston to save the day, and then there was a ginormous blowout. Curry wasn't playing well? So what? The Warriors were so vastly superior to their opponent that it wouldn't matter. Curry wouldn't win the Finals MVP (again), but as long as the team came out on top it wouldn't matter.
But now, the Cavaliers have reintroduced themselves to the world. After suffering a massive blowout in Oakland in Game 2, they held serve and returned the service in kind.
The Warriors can't expect Livingston, Barbosa, and Mo Speights to carry this series. Nor should those players be required to do such heavy lifting. At some point, they are going to need Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and most importantly Stephen Curry to play like the All Stars they are. As simplistic as it sounds, Curry's unanimous MVP award won't have quite the same luster if he continues to no-show on the NBA's largest stage. Warriors fans and the NBA at-large give Curry a wide berth. If LeBron had only scored two points in the first half, and his team had gotten blown out by 30 points, we'd be lambasting him. It's completely unfair, sure, but for whatever reason, that's the world we live in. Curry -- due to his good looks, his innocent smile, his piousness, or his unorthodox size and game -- has so far been granted immunity from that type of scathing criticism. I'm not advocating that we turn this into a bigger deal than it needs to be, but I do think he will need to imprint his special brand of magic on this series. Preferably soon.
At some point he's going to have to step up and take over.
Otherwise we may be going seven, again.