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Warriors’ Andre Iguodala explains why his 2015 NBA Finals MVP over Stephen Curry was ‘well deserved’

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Stephen Curry could also be a three-time NBA champion, but his detractors often point to his failure to win a Finals MVP award as a knock against his postseason resume. Kevin Durant won two of them for the Warriors in 2017 and 2018, and while the selection between him and Curry was debatable, few would argue passionately that Durant was undeserving. The 2015 award, nonetheless, has develop into barely more controversial with time.

LeBron James was so good for the Cleveland Cavaliers that he scored 4 of the 11 votes for Finals MVP. The remaining seven, and the trophy, went to not Curry, but to the person who defended James: Andre Iguodala. Curry got here up short despite averaging 9.7 more points and a couple of.3 more assists than his teammate, and while Iguodala has long been adamant that Curry deserved a Finals MVP sooner or later during Golden State’s run, he stands by the selection that the voters made in 2015 in an interview with The Athletic’s Sam Amick.

“As I said, I believe it was well deserved. I just made essentially the most of the chance. The scheme was arrange for me to beat (James). And that does not occur too often within the finals. Normally it is the guy who’s the favourite, (who has) the chances, those are the blokes who all the time get the NBA Finals MVP. And I believe that I just made essentially the most of the chance. Knowing the (defensive) attention that Steph has, knowing the eye that Klay (Thompson) has, a man like Draymond (Green), Shaun Livingston made sure that I used to be all the time just ready and available. Those guys just said, ‘Here, that is what the sport says so give him the ball right here and just be ready for it.’ So I believe greater than anything, it’s just being ready for those moments. When you return and watch, when the sport said ‘shoot’ I shot and I made it. And when it said ‘pass,’ I made it. After which I needed to go defend the guy. I didn’t stop him. I didn’t shut him down but just tried to make life hard for him so, in turn, he needed to react in other ways. He needed to think twice about (decisions). 

He still got to the bucket, but he’s one in all the neatest basketball players of all time. And I believe, being on his level when it comes to basketball IQ, we were just playing chess. It was like a master chess matchup. I believe that is the defense that you simply (rewarded) — when it comes to who you voted for. I believe it was very deserving because people don’t understand the human element, the changes that happened, the sacrifices that were made that yr with (him) coming off the bench and being thrown into the starting lineup (in Game 4) and other people think you would possibly not find a way to react well, and it was nothing. I’d been to the playoffs before, won a gold medal — two actually, with the World Championships (in Turkey in 2010 and the London Olympics in 2012). I played a serious role on each of those teams — greater than people know. And simply because you are not the fundamental name or the (star) doesn’t suggest you do not have (a big) impact. You have just got to be ready for whatever.”

Ultimately, few will likely be swayed by Iguodala’s argument. James was the perfect player within the series, but some voters refused to think about him because his team lost. Curry likely had the largest overall impact on Golden State’s win, as his mere presence as a threat created easier looks for all of his teammates. Iguodala won out as a result of a mixture of defense, statistics and the aura surrounding James.

If there’s one thing in regards to the process that bugs Iguodala, though, it is the ammunition it gives Curry’s critics. He even argued that it was a phenomenon unique to basketball. “Like in football, anybody can win MVP of the Super Bowl. You may be a kick returner. Desmond Howard won it, right? But nobody takes anything away from (then-Packers quarterback) Brett Favre. I just don’t love the best way they struggle to take shots at (Curry).”

The basketball discourse tends to be uniquely tied to accolades. Players are sometimes boiled all the way down to their trophies. It’s an unfair strategy to determine a legacy, and whether or not Curry must have won the Finals MVP award in 2015, Iguodala is correct that he definitely should not be criticized for failing to accomplish that. His team won the championship. That is what matters.

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