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Did Curry carry KD in the 2017 Finals?

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We get way deep into the video to find out.

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers
Do I look good? Yeah, you look good.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, let’s just say it. I know a lot of Stephen Curry fans are a little peeved at Kevin Durant right now. From Durant’s dissing Under Armour, back to Coach Steve Kerr telling the world Durant is better and then forgetting to mention Curry in the parade speech.

This neglect of Curry really began with Durant’s taking the spotlight away from Curry in the Finals, and his grabbing Finals MVP. It felt like a chance for everyone who ever doubted Curry or called him overrated to point to Durant and say, this is what a REAL superstar looks like.

I don’t think anyone disputes that Durant was a worthy Finals MVP. It just rankles to have Curry’s contribution go so un-appreciated.

So I aim to help fix that. I went deep into the video and looked at every Finals play where Durant scored and found which baskets were created by Curry. Then I did the reverse.

I posted a more in-depth analysis at BBallBreakdown. But here are what I consider the most important takeaways.

The simplest, most holistic answer is having two of them on the court creates space for both, relieving them of the pressure of creating offense every single play. It’s not Durant’s team or Curry’s team; it’s THEIR team.

But that would be a boring, mature answer not worthy of creating multiple Twitter accounts to address. Instead, let’s look at some statistics and go play-by-play through actual video of the Finals....

The first thing that probably jumps out at you is that Curry created a LOT more points for Durant than Durant did for Curry (almost four times as many!). This makes sense as Curry is meant to be more of a facilitator and Durant more of a finisher, but i was still surprised by the big difference

I was also surprised by how much of his own scoring Curry generated himself. It really stands out when you watch the supercut video. Curry generated 78% of his own scoring, while KD generated 61%. The Warriors collectively produced more points for Durant than Curry, 26-25. In fact, not counting the bizarre Game 4, Curry produced more points solo than Durant did, 89-83.

Here’s the movie people seem the most eager to see, every Durant basket created with Curry help:

If you go to the longer article, you can also see movies of KD scoring with Other Warriors help, KD scoring individually (this is important to get perspective), and a supercut of all of Stephen Curry’s Scoring.

The part showing Curry’s baskets from Durant’s help is comically short.

And here’s the final verdict from the full report:

The Verdict

Curry directly created a lot of points for Durant in the 2017 Finals, through a combination of gravity, passing and screening, about 8 PPG on average. He continues to be an underrated player, and would have been a plausible Finals MVP.

Durant created a lot of points through individual excellence, about 21.6 points per game. So it is unfair to say that he was carried by Curry or the system. The video shows he made numerous difficult contested shots. He was a very deserving Finals MVP, especially considering his defensive contributions.

...

Thus, we judge, In the matter of Curry’s effect on Durant’s Finals offensive production, that Curry is very underrated by mainstream pundits and fans, but somewhat overrated by his strongest advocates.