Steph Curry filled in the last remaining blank on his Hall of Fame resume this week when he earned the NBA Finals MVP award, but his former coach wasn’t all that impressed with the accomplishment.
Curry led the Golden State Warriors to victory in Thursday’s Game 6 against the Boston Celtics, capping off a series where he averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals a game. Curry’s series included a 43-point outburst in the critical Game 4 where the Warriors tied the series and never looked back, winning the next two games in convincing fashion to earn their fourth title in the last eight seasons.
After the series ended, former Warriors coach Mark Jackson added a big caveat to Curry’s accomplishment.
The latest Warriors news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!
Jackson Takes Shot at Curry
Though the ABC announcer was one of the 11 media members who unanimously selected Curry as the series MVP, Jackson made sure to point out that the Warriors star didn’t exactly deserve all the credit he was getting. Jackson frequently criticized the Celtics for their approach to Curry, believing they were giving him too much leeway.
“If I was Steph Curry I would thank Boston’s defense for the MVP,” Jackson said, via WEEI.
As NBC Sports Bay Area pointed out, Jackson aired other criticisms of Curry and the Warriors throughout the series. When Celtics big man Al Horford was called for a foul in Game 3 after not giving Curry enough space to land after a jump shot, Jackson pointed out a similar and controversial play from Warriors history. In Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference finals, San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard was injured when Zaza Pachulia closed out hard on a jump shot and Leonard landed on his foot. With Leonard out, the Warriors went on to win the series and later the NBA Finals.
“Well, they benefited from a play like that. They won a championship because of a play like that, with all due respect,” Jackson recalled.
Curry Silences Critics
While Jackson may try to downplay the accomplishment, Curry’s performance in the NBA Finals managed to silence most of his critics. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said the accomplishment was even sweeter given the trials the team had gone through the last two seasons, losing Klay Thompson to a pair of major injuries and sinking to last in the NBA in the 2019-20 season. Curry also missed the majority of that season after breaking his hand, and the Warriors had missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.
“I think it’s his crowning achievement of his career and that’s pretty amazing to say,” Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Kerith Burke after Game 6. “He’s one of the great players of all time. He’s won multiple championships, multiple MVPs, he’s pretty much done everything.
“But for him to lead this team to a championship and win Finals MVP after what we’ve been through the last couple of years, after what he’s been through on a personal level with his injury two seasons ago and having to carry so much of the load for us, just an incredible achievement for Steph.”