Will The Real Stephen Curry Please Stand Up?


Stephen Curry has been a shell of his MVP self the first three games of the 2016 NBA Finals, and the Warriors need him to get back on track.

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Averaging nowhere near the 30+ points per game he put up in the regular season, Stephen Curry has fortunately, been picked up by his Golden State Warriors teammates. The Warriors head into Friday’s Game Four with a 2-1 advantage, but after a 30 point drubbing by the Cavs in Game Three, Curry’s struggles have come to the forefront.

Thus far, Curry has averaged a pedestrian 16 ppg and 3.3 three-pointers a game. In Game Two, Curry was effective and efficient in the 25 minutes he played in the Warriors’ blowout victory, but it has been clear to all that Curry has performed nowhere near his two-time MVP status indicates he should.

Going into this year’s Finals, Curry had plenty of motivation to put on a show for the ages. After all, the Finals’ MVP award is the last accolade that Curry has yet to put on his trophy shelf in his amazing run over the last few years.

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Though kudos go to last year’s Finals’ MVP, Andre Iguodala, for stepping up in a big way for the Warriors, the Finals’ MVP award was meant for the championship team’s best player. On the biggest stage, your best player should rise above the rest. And thus far, Curry hasn’t come close to being that.

Even beyond his offensive struggles though, Curry’s energy and intensity have been lacking. Kyrie Irving spearheaded the wire to wire demolition of the Warriors in Game Three with a 16 point outburst in the first quarter, leaving Curry in the dust for several easy layups.

The Warriors draw so much inspiration and energy from Curry’s shooting displays that if he is having an off night, they absolutely cannot afford for him to carry that negative play to his defensive assignments. For as much as the Warriors are an offensive juggernaut, their intensity on defense is the key to the ignition on offense.

Curry’s ability to create for his teammates has also eluded him throughout this series. He has committed more turnovers (15) than he has assists (13). Making matters worse, his sloppiness with the ball has led to fast break points for LeBron James and company.

"“I have to play 100 times better,” said Curry. “I didn’t play my game. I’m disappointed I didn’t help my team win.”"

Injuries have been a popular excuse for Curry this postseason when he has performed below par. Undoubtedly, he is at least still feeling the ill effects from the sprained MCL he suffered in the first round against the Houston Rockets. This has been rather clear ever since he announced his plans to skip the Rio Olympics in August to give himself time to heal and rest.

But these are the NBA Finals, and no one cares to hear excuses when you’re the two-time defending MVP and lead the defending world champions. Curry has already displayed several times post-injury that he can go nuclear and change the face of any game at any moment. Now is not the time to go silent and not perform when your teammates need you most.

To his credit, Curry has said he is fine physically and is not looking for an excuse for his lackluster performances. He knows that his team needs him to unlock a Mr. June type performance if they are to complete their goal of a repeat title.

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The Warriors are fortunate to have an MVP caliber player who has a team mindset and has no interest in being the face of the league or collecting personal awards. As Curry has said in the past, he’s all about the team winning, whether he’s the best player that night or just a member of the supporting cast. But right now, the Warriors really need Curry to find The Baby Faced Assassin in himself, and be the Warriors’ best player.