by Tate Hutchinson
One of the NBA’s premier stars, Steph Curry has collected one of the most impressive résumés in basketball history.
An eight-time All Star, two-time MVP, and recently voted onto the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, it seemed that Curry had done it all. Having three championships under his belt (2015, 2017, 2018), the only empty spot in his trophy case was a Bill Russell Finals MVP. Despite elite play on three previous title runs, he had yet to shine on the biggest stage, being overshadowed by teammates Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant in the voting for the Finals MVP award.
In dominant fashion, the Warriors point guard was finally able to capture the elusive award with his otherworldly scoring talent in the 2022 Finals, in which Golden State defeated the Boston Celtics, 4-2.In these six games, Curry posted excellent all-around averages of 31.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.0 steals, as well as shooting 48.2% from the field and 43.7% from three-point range.
The task ahead of the Warriors was not easy, however. Golden State was up against a similarly gritty defensive team with elite shooting talent in Boston. The Celtics were led by incredibly skilled two-way wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and supported by All-Defensive talent in Robert Williams III, Al Horford, and Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart.
Boston had shown an ability to challenge teams as daunting as the Warriors, having defeated superstars such as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jimmy Butler. But could they take down a roster as loaded with talent as Golden State’s Curry, Thompson, Poole, Wiggins, and Green?
The Warriors’ dominant playoff run required more than Steph’s greatness alone. Klay Thompson, the other half of the famed “Splash Brothers” duo alongside Curry, scored in double digits in every game of the 2022 Playoffs, averaging over 20 points per game. Andrew Wiggins, acquired in a trade with Minnesota in 2020, exceeded expectations, with a massive 26-point performance in a crucial Game 5 victory on the road. Draymond Green continued his all-around excellence, collecting crucial assists and rebounds throughout the series. And one of the 2022 season’s breakout players, Jordan Poole, showed off his shooting prowess in the series. The third-year player drained a nearly 40% of his three-point attempts in the NBA Finals.
These outstanding performances carried throughout the Warriors’ entire playoff run. In their defeats of tough teams in the Western Conference in the Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, and Dallas Mavericks, the Warriors were able to overwhelm All-NBA talent all the way to the Finals.
Celebrating his 34-point performance in Game 6 to win his fourth championship, Curry recalled the journey from NBA’s worst record in 2019-20 to Golden State’s return to the title. Stephen Curry, in his courtside interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters, detailed his thoughts on the team’s challenging climb back. “You can never take this for granted…you never know when you’ll be back here,” Curry reminisced. “To get back here and get it done, it means the world.”
With the league as talented as ever, it may be challenging for the Warriors to return to the dominance they exhibited from 2015 to 2019. However, with their growing talent of young players and the sustained core of players from their dynasty runs, the Warriors have as good of a chance as any team to find themselves back in contention for years to come.