The Golden State Warriors are NBA champions. Say it with me again: the Golden State Warriors are NBA champions.
With a championship secured, every gets an A+ in my book ... but that wouldn’t be too much fun, so I’ll also dole out some real grades for the final time this year. As always, weighting for expectations.
Note: League-average true-shooting percentage (TS) this year was 56.6%.
42 minutes, 12 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 5 turnovers, 1 foul, 5-for-10 shooting, 2-for-5 threes, 60.0% TS, +16
It was late in the first quarter when Green spotted up from the corner and knocked in a triple. And then we all knew: time to chill the champagne, a celebration was incoming.
The Warriors are 19-1 this year when Draymond Green makes a 3— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) June 17, 2022
Draymond Green just made a 3
Always keeping it real, Green spent some time after the game criticizing his earlier performances, while pointing out that he dominated this game.
He did. There’s no other word for it.
The offense flowed beautifully with him on the floor, as he pushed the ball time and time again. He was unstoppable rebounding, despite having a height disadvantage. And, most importantly, he was the best defensive player in the world. He even broke out his jumper on multiple occasions to bail the Dubs out.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds and assists.
Otto Porter Jr.
13 minutes, 6 points, 1 rebound, 2-for-3 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 100.0% TS, +3
Porter didn’t play a huge role in this game, but he can always say that he was a starter for a championship-winning game, as Steve Kerr put him in the opening lineup for the third straight game.
One thing I’ll say about Porter: he sure understands how to play his role. He quietly played awesome defense, moved the ball, and knocked down threes. That’s exactly what the Dubs needed.
Grade: B+ (but really, A+)
44 minutes, 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers, 7-for-18 shooting, 4-for-9 threes, 50.0% TS, +5
Well, Wiggins sure chose a great time to play the best basketball of his career, didn’t he? He was a bit Draymondian in this game, doing a little bit of everything.
His defense on Jayson Tatum was nothing short of elite, and he did it without committing a single foul. His scoring wasn’t great in this one, but he made up for a lot of it with one of his better playmaking games, and some timely buckets.
7 stocks? 5 assists? 44 minutes? Most importantly, 1 ring?
It’s hard not to be incredibly happy for Wiggins after what he went through earlier in his career. He earned everything this year: an All-Star berth, an improved reputation, a huge pay day looming, and some championship hardware.
Grade: A (but really, A+)
40 minutes, 34 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 12-for-21 shooting, 6-for-11 threes, 4-for-4 free throws, 74.7% TS, +8
This was the consummate Steph Curry performance. He picked apart Boston’s defense. He got to the rim and finished with the type of flourish that makes you question your understanding of physics.
He rained in triples. He was arrogant, at one point placing an imaginary fourth ring on his finger in the third quarter.
And when the defense focused on him a little too much, he made them pay by finding the open man. He crashed the glass the way someone much taller than he is should. He played excellent defense.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
41 minutes, 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 5-for-20 shooting, 2-for-8 threes, 30.0% TS, +4
Well, this certainly wasn’t Game 6 Klay. At least not on the court ... it certainly was Game 6 Klay after the game, as he celebrated by trolling Jaren Jackson Jr., and partaking in some delightful drunken shenanigans in the locker room.
Toasty Klay: “1, 2, 3, 4 rings in my bank account … bitch” pic.twitter.com/eeIMgWjlfg— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) June 17, 2022
Game 6 Klay will be back ... perhaps in next year’s Finals. But despite the performance (he was strong defensively, I should note), Klay returning and winning a ring is one of the best stories in sports right now.
Grade: C- (but really, A+)
1 minute, 0 points, 0 plus/minus
The Warriors had an eight-player rotation on Thursday, but Steve Kerr put Iguodala in for the final minute so he could soak up his fourth title. Cool move. And one that gave Wiggins a much deserved minute off in a game where he played almost the entire way.
Grade: Incomplete (but really, A+)
Post-game bonus: Tied for the worst plus/minus on the team.
22 minutes, 0 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 0-for-2 shooting, 0.0% TS, 0 plus/minus
As was the case in Games 4 and 5, Looney came off the bench but still played a significant chunk of minutes — more than Porter. He didn’t make too much of an impact in this one, but his ability to disrupt things in the paint and grab some rebounds really helped when the Warriors were in need of some size and defense.
Grade: B- (but really, A+)
Post-game bonus: Tied for the worst plus/minus on the team
Gary Payton II
20 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 5 fouls, 2-for-6 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 43.6% TS, +18
This time last year, GPII was getting ready for Summer League, still trying to prove that he deserved a spot on an NBA roster — any NBA roster.
This time last month, GPII was nursing a fractured elbow, with a return this seasons anything but a certainty.
And then he had the best plus/minus in the clinching game of the NBA Finals.
What an absolutely phenomenal year for him.
Grade: B+ (but really, A+)
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus
18 minutes, 15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 fouls, 5-for-12 shooting, 3-for-8 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 58.2% TS, +11
This incredible moment between Poole and Wiggins will go down as one of my favorite moments of the season:
This moment between Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole is everything pic.twitter.com/8Q72eAo7Ot— Overtime (@overtime) June 17, 2022
What an amazing season for JP. His role dropped off a tiny bit in this series, as the Dubs preferred Payton’s defense to Poole’s offense, but he’s a huge part of the team’s success, and he’s only going to get better.
Grade: B+ (but really, A+)
Thursday’s DNPs: Nemanja Bjelica, Jonathan Kuminga, Damion Lee, Moses Moody, Juan Toscano-Anderson (A+)
Thursday’s inactives: James Wiseman (A+)