After averaging 30.1 points, 6.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds during the regular season, Steph Curry didn’t sniff those numbers in the NBA Finals. Yes, most players would kill to average 22.6 points, 3.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds in the Finals, but Curry isn’t most players.
He’s the two-time reigning MVP and the first unanimous MVP in NBA history.
What happened to him against Cleveland?
“He said the same thing that he said throughout the playoffs: He said he’s not 100 percent,” Bay Area News Group columnist Tim Kawakami said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “He said those words, but he’s out there and he’s playing, so that’s how he’s going to be judged – by being out there and playing. If you say he wasn’t playing great, then he wasn’t playing great. It’s not like he wasn’t playing great because he was hurt. That’s the way you do it when you’re a professional athlete. If you’re out there, you’re judged by the way you play, and he didn’t play great – and he said that. In the Finals, he absolutely did not play great.”
Curry, 28, “point-blank denied” that he will need surgery this offseason.
“I don’t think anything is so serious that they’re saying you must have surgery,” Kawakami said. “That’s not why he backed out of the Olympics in Brazil. He just wants rest. Now if a month goes by and his knee is still aching or an ankle feels bad, absolutely they’re going to look at it again. But at this point, again, if you take what he says straight up, which I do, there’s no plan for (surgery). He’s going to let everything calm down for a couple weeks. But he’s going to be judged by playing poorly, certainly in many minutes of Game 7. It’s not because he played hurt. It’s because he played poorly.”
The Warriors, with seven pending free agents, have an interesting offseason ahead, especially if they are able to lure Kevin Durant from Oklahoma City. A four-headed monster with Curry, Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green would be without question the most talented foursome in the NBA.
But can the Warriors pull it off?
“They don’t know, nobody knows and I don’t think Durant knows,” Kawakami said. “The Warriors believe if he does not return to Oklahoma City – which I would think still has to be by far the odds-on-favorite in this situation – the Warriors will be the No. 1 option. One or two. But they like their chances if he’s not sure or if he decides he’s not coming back to Oklahoma City.”
Durant has said that this will be a “basketball decision” for him. If that is the case, then wouldn’t joining the Warriors be a no-brainer?
“I guess so,” Kawakami said. “I don’t know what that really means. Oklahoma City played the Warriors great, and you could say Oklahoma City might have been the better team (and) the Warriors just pulled off a miracle Game 6. I don’t know. I just think the Warriors are feeling very good about their chances if they get into the room.”
Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli are restricted free agents, but both players – despite playing poorly in the Finals – will command a lot of money on the open market.
Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing for Golden State.
“If you can not have them and replace them with Durant at less money than it would take to resign those two, why wouldn’t you want to do that?” Kawakami asked. “That’s where they’re at. It’s not breaking everything up. It’s not about (ruining) chemistry. The chemistry is going to be hard no matter what. If you bring in Harrison Barnes at $22 million a year, which is what it might cost, Draymond Green is not going to love that. He’s not. He might live with it. He’s not going to love it. That could be an issue with this great chemistry. Nothing stays the same. The Warriors are willing to shake it up, and for them, going after Durant is a no-brainer – even if it costs them three or four players.”