Steph Curry and the Warriors had no shortage of doubters entering this season.
He can't carry them to the playoffs. They'll finish at the bottom of the conference. He'll be exposed. The championship window is slammed shut. You'll see he's human after all.
Blah. Blah. Blah. Boy, do those doubters look silly now.
Curry delivered an MVP-worthy campaign, led the league in scoring and proved yet again why he's the greatest show in sports. The Warriors, despite losing Klay Thompson before the season even began and only getting 39 games out of No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman before he, too, sustained a season-ending injury, qualified for the top half of the Western Conference play-in tournament, and have a chance to claim a higher playoff seed than the defending champions.
Curry and the Warriors aren't surprised by where they've ended up. But those that are played a role in getting Golden State to this point.
"It goes back to the work that I put in," Curry told reporters Tuesday when asked what he has learned about himself this season. "It's undefeated, in terms of how I feel about my game and being able to adapt to different situations. I pride myself on that. I was able to take advantage of the time off and rejuvenate the mind, body and soul, and also understand what the conversations and narratives were around myself, around our team. Hear it, understand it and turn it into a motivating factor in how we approached the season."
The Warriors have reasons to be feeling good about themselves right now, having closed the regular season on a 15-5 run and finished with the fifth-ranked defense in the NBA.
But it wasn't always smooth sailing. Golden State stumbled out of the gates and struggled to develop any sort of consistency for the vast majority of the campaign. But as Curry went on to explain, once he and the Warriors got back into the flow of a (mostly) normal season, they began to turn a corner.
"But also, I just love playing basketball, and when we got to a point where the joy took over, whether we win or lose and just enjoying trying to figure it out and the challenges that we were facing, that's when the good momentum started to pick up," Curry continued. "I talk about it a lot, sometimes when you go through some hard times, you can lose that part of your personality on the floor. And getting that back was a huge factor for us as a team, as well, because it wasn't such a smooth, pretty ride this entire season. I like how we've been able to adapt and get to this point in the year where we have something to play for."
Despite what Curry and the Warriors have proven to this point, there remain plenty of skeptics of their ability to go on a playoff run. That's just business as usual, though, and it's worked out OK for Golden State so far.