Of all the emotional narratives that spun out of the Golden State Warriors crippling defeat at the hands of the new champions from “The North”, the one Dub Nation could most easily see coming was “Stephen Curry is not a clutch postseason performer”.
ESPN’s “First Take” co-host Max Kellerman had the temerity to tell Andre Iguodala to his face that he’d rather Iguodala shoot a potential game winner over Curry. Iguodala’s incredulous reaction to this backhanded compliment said plenty, but it was just one moment in a litany of Curry disrespect in the Finals aftermath.
The two crutches for this narrative are: Curry’s never won a Finals MVP in five trips, and he’s 0-8 in “clutch” situations.
I took the time to handle the Finals MVP in a deep-dive video for GSoM’s YouTube channel (don’t forget to Like and Subscribe to support us!). The numbers show that Curry is a consistently dominant force in the NBA Finals (barring a lot of that 2016 debacle). And also, who really cares about the Finals MVP?
As for the second ridiculous point, GSoM’s resident scholar SleepyFreud did us all a favor of defanging the “clutch” situation narrative as well.
I mean, seriously. Even you just watch those eight cherrypicked shots, tell me any of them has anything to with “clutch.” He was completely mauled on half of them. They even included the “missed layup” this year v. Portland where he was totally hacked by Myers Leonard, got his own rebound, and shuffled his feet before swishing the three.
With the Warriors up 3-0 in an eventual sweep. Unclutch!
Actually none of them except the 2019 Finals shot (sigh) were in super-critical moments of series.
Since all points count equally and sample size matters, we could just note that he has averaged 26.5 ppg on .609 true shooting in his 4,235 career playoff minutes — by far the most efficient high-volume scorer in playoff history.
But what fun is that when we can obsess over eight-shot cherrypicked samples?
If we’re really trying to parse out “clutch” as a thing unrelated to having three tall guys in your jersey, we could also consider Steph hitting *80+ freaking straight free throws* in the 4th quarter of playoff games.
Best FT% in NBA playoff history (min 500 attempts): 1. Curry .906, 2. Reggie .893, 3. Dirk .892, 4. Bird .890, 5. Hornacek .886, 6. Ray Allen .883, 7. Billups .880, 8. Harden .868, 9. KD .864, 10. Rip Hamilton .860.
Thank you Sleepy, for standing against the tidal wave of Curry blasphemy. All great players are dissected and their flaws are magnified, but as a heavily biased member of Dub Nation, I’d argue that Curry has performed far better in the playoffs than his detractors would claim.