Finals MVP Ladder: Stephen Curry leads method in early have a look at contenders

The Finals are right here and Warriors star Stephen Curry is seemingly lacking simply 1 factor in his prolonged checklist of profession feats: a Finals MVP trophy.

• Full protection: 2022 NBA Finals

SAN FRANCISCO — The treble off the hi-hats from entice music ticked loudly via Chase Heart.

Apart from the occasional observe golf swings executed when he wasn’t swishing balls via the web, Stephen Curry blended inconspicuously with the remainder of the gamers gathered on the ground Wednesday forward of NBA Finals Media Day.

“I keep in mind the place I began and simply the entire journey,” Curry would say later. “From highschool to your first All-Star Recreation, it’s like a journey, and the whole lot that needed to go proper in your life and on the courtroom for that to occur. [I] by no means let myself get too big-headed on that entrance. That’s how I stay my life.”

So, it’s protected to infer Curry isn’t essentially dying to seize his first NBA Finals MVP, particularly contemplating his first-ballot Corridor of Fame credentials that stand on the mantel of three Larry O’Brien trophies. Andre Iguodala snatched one Finals MVP (2015) in the course of the level guard’s three-title run at Golden State, with Kevin Durant (2017-18) taking the opposite two.

However the 34-year-old just lately introduced dwelling his personal particular person {hardware} within the inaugural Earvin “Magic” Johnson Trophy, as MVP of the 2022 Western Convention finals. Plus, Curry has already seized two MVPs, turning into certainly one of simply eight gamers in NBA historical past to take a number of MVPs along with advancing to the Finals on six or extra events.

Check out one of the best moments from Stephen Curry’s season.

“Every part about it when it comes to the appreciation and gratitude for the whole lot that occurs, all of the experiences that you’ve, the whole lot you undergo, you retain constructing on that,” Curry stated. “And often, good issues occur since you recognize the whole lot, it doesn’t matter what occurs.”

Over the past 13 seasons, simply 4 totally different gamers — LeBron James (4 Finals MVPs), Kawhi Leonard (two), Kevin Durant (two), and Kobe Bryant (two) — walked away with 10 NBA Finals MVP awards, with Dirk Nowitzki and Iguodala every claiming one apiece, adopted by Giannis Antetokounmpo taking the third.

Curry is perhaps lastly because of take the fourth.

At the least that’s our prediction in debuting the 2022 Race to the NBA Finals MVP Ladder, which we’ll replace after each recreation of this collection beginning with Thursday’s Recreation 1 at Chase Heart (9 ET, ABC).

And now, the High 6 in our 2022 Race to the Finals MVP Ladder:

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Playoff stats: 25.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 6.2 apg

Relive a few of Stephen Curry’s high performs in the course of the 2021-22 common season and postseason.

Give it some thought: Curry has scored 20 factors or extra in 100 profession playoff video games, which makes him the sixteenth participant in NBA historical past to perform that feat. Of these gamers, 11 made it into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame and the opposite 5 (Curry, James, Durant, Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade) are certainly on the way in which. Curry has drilled at the very least one 3-pointer in 128 consecutive playoff video games, which registers as an NBA postseason report, per the Elias Sports activities Bureau. In the event you throw within the common season, Curry has drained a 3-pointer in 229 consecutive video games.

2. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Playoff stats: 27.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 5.9 apg

Have a look again at a few of Jayson Tatum’s greatest performs & moments from the 2021-22 season and playoffs.

With 17 profession postseason double-doubles, together with 4 in Boston’s present run, Tatum has racked up greater than 400 factors, 100 rebounds, 100 assists and 50 3-pointers. He’s the youngest participant (24) in league annals to provide these stats in a single playoff run, in keeping with StatMuse. “Each child can think about themselves being within the NBA and being within the Finals, however really residing out your dream in actual time is a surreal feeling,” Tatum stated. “I stroll in. I see this backdrop, and it’s like, ‘Rattling, I’m within the Finals.”

3. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

Playoff stats: 22.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.5 apg

Elevating his recreation when it issues most, check out Jaylen Brown’s high performs of the season up to now!

On the finish of January, Brown tweeted “the power is about to shift.” Since then, Boston has gone 37-12 with the 25-year-old recent off averaging 24.1 ppg on 48.8% capturing and 40.4% on 3-pointers within the Jap Convention finals. Having performed collegiately at Cal, the place he was a teammate of Steve Kerr’s eldest son, Nick, Brown stated he studied the Warriors’ dynasty carefully. “Simply watching these guys was fairly cool to see,” he stated. “Coming into the league, understanding I needed to be in that place, understanding I needed to construct that kind of locker room setting you could possibly maintain profitable.”

4. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

Playoff stats: 19.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.4 apg

Klay Thompson endured a prolonged restoration course of and an total lengthy highway again in serving to the Warriors attain the 2022 NBA Finals.

Thompson holds the report for probably the most playoff contests (5) with at the very least eight made 3-pointers, forward of Ray Allen (4), Damian Lillard (4) and Curry (4). He has additionally put collectively three 30-point video games up to now within the playoffs, which is probably the most he’s logged in a single postseason since 2016. “I’m positively extra reflective now as a result of it may be taken away from you want that, [with] one missed step or one dangerous soar,” Thompson stated of his profession. “It’s such an superior job to be an NBA participant. I knew that earlier than, however now going via surgical procedures and rehab, placing a jersey on hits a lot tougher than it did again within the day.”

5. Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors

Playoff stats: 15.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.7 apg

Andrew Wiggins has been a constant X-factor for the Warriors within the 2022 playoffs.

Wiggins averaged 18.6 ppg and seven.2 rpg within the West finals and has 4 profession playoff double-doubles — all amassed within the 2022 playoffs — in what has been been an unimaginable journey that Wiggins is savoring. “I’ll be nervous [for Game 1] for certain,” he stated. “However proper now, I’m excited. I’m soaking all of it in. I’m simply able to play for actual. It’s one thing that you just dream of as a child. I’ve watched all of it my years within the NBA, however by no means received an opportunity to be part of it.”

6. Marcus Sensible, Boston Celtics

Playoff stats: 15.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6.2 apg

Marcus Sensible talks with Dennis Scott about being able to tackle the potent Warriors within the Finals.

Sensible grew to become the primary guard since Gary Payton in 1995-96 to win Kia Defensive Participant of the Yr, and people credentials can be put to the check with the 28-year-old drawing the task of guarding Curry. Sensible’s efficiency in that function ought to go a good distance towards Boston setting the tone in opposition to the Warriors defensively. But it surely gained’t be straightforward, for the reason that guard is combating via a sprained proper ankle that he plans to play via in Recreation 1. “He’s appropriately named,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated. “Very good participant, and a extremely versatile and nice, nice defender.”

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Michael C. Wright is a senior author for You possibly can e-mail him right here, discover his archive right here and observe him on Twitter.

The views on this web page don’t essentially mirror the views of the NBA, its golf equipment or Turner Broadcasting.

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