Steph Curry just turned in one of the best seasons of his career, shouldering the bulk of the load for the Golden State Warriors with Klay Thompson lost for the year and hitting numbers that matched — and sometimes beat — those he achieved during the unanimous MVP season of 2015-16.
Yet Curry didn’t come close to getting another MVP trophy this season, finishing in a distant second to the first center to win the award since Shaquille O’Neal. As one insider explains, the finish was almost inevitable given the play of the man who took home the hardware and the relatively disappointing finish for the Warriors.
The latest Warriors news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!
Curry Falls Short
Curry enjoyed one of the best statistical years of his career this season, scoring 32 points per game to take home his second league scoring title. He achieved some other personal accolades, becoming the franchise leader for assists and then points during a stretch of four weeks in March and April.
Despite the dominant season, Curry fell far short of the league MVP title this season. It instead went to Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic, who took 91 of the 101 first-place votes. Curry took five first-place votes but fell into third place based on overall points, finishing behind Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers.
As Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area noted, it came as no surprise that Curry finished short of the honor despite his career-best scoring mark. She noted that during Curry’s unanimous MVP season there was no one else like Jokic, and it helped the Serbian big man that his Nuggets were able to advance deeper into the postseason than the Warriors. Denver faces the Phoenix Suns for a chance to advance to the Western Conference finals, while the Warriors failed to advance out of the league’s new play-in tournament for the final four seeds.
“Whether that’s fair or not, nothing can diminish what Jokic did for the Nuggets this season. And even with the MVP award residing in Denver, that doesn’t take away from how good Curry was,” Andrews wrote.
Curry Back to Work
The Warriors star appears to have wasted little time in feeling disappointed over the MVP loss. After taking some time off for a family vacation after the Warriors were eliminated by the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in tournament, Curry was right back to work this week. He shared a photo of himself back in the gym with the caption “Day 1.”
Curry and the Warriors are looking to jump back into title contention next season with the expected return of Klay Thompson, who has lost back-to-back season with major injuries. Thompson spoke out this week about his expectations for the 2021-22 season, saying he cares more about helping his team win than achieving any specific personal accolades.
“How many points am I going to average next year? You know, I’m not going to put an expectation on it,” he said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “I just want to be an efficient player. I want to have a positive impact on the hardwood. That real plus-minus stuff. That analytical stuff, you feel me?”