With a 3-0 lead, this fourth Warriors-Cavaliers Finals seems just about over. One of the only intriguing storylines left is who will win the Finals MVP, Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant (or even LeBron James). It seems like we’re all ready to go into the offseason, and see where LeBron takes his talents this summer.
With Andre Iguodala winning in 2015, and Kevin Durant in 2017, many thought this would be the year for Steph to grab that Finals MVP. After the first two games, he looked like he was in the driver’s seat for the award. But because of his poor shooting night and Durant’s heroics in Game 3, some people now think Durant is the frontrunner for the award. Game 4 will likely decide the winner.
It doesn’t matter who wins. This team isn’t about the individual accolades. It wasn’t before KD arrived, and it definitely isn’t today. They aren’t about anything other than winning. Awards are fun, but they don’t tell anywhere near the whole story, and for this team specifically, it doesn’t reveal anything about how they’re built and how they play the game.
This team is built around two superstars, two All-Stars, and a motley crew of supporting characters. During the Western Conference Finals series against the Houston Rockets, while Kevin Durant struggled, Stephen Curry figured out how to beat Houston’s swarming defense with help from Klay Thompson’s hot shooting. In Game 3 of the Cavs series, KD destroyed the Cavs’ weak wing defense while they doubled and trapped Curry all game long. It’s all part of the process of how this team finds a way to win.
And that’s why the Warriors are so good: in the playoffs, most teams have a good Plan A, an okay Plan B, and a few adjustments in hand for late in the series. The Warriors have five or six A+ strategies, and they can turn to any of them to win if the others fail. They always have another way to beat you in their back pocket, and can morph into a different monster at will.
So the Finals MVP isn’t about who the Warriors’ most valuable player is. Whoever gets the individual glory depends on the way their opponents choose to lose. KD is the beneficiary now, but it changes every game. The Warriors are happy winning any way. That’s why they joined up, and that’s why they keep winning.
People use Finals MVP’s as arguments for individual legacies all the time, but don’t fall into that trap: Steph and KD don’t care about the award, so why should we?