Warriors

Steph puts exclamation on his legacy in season finale

Warriors

At one point of the season, some people said Steph Curry's legacy was up for debate. 

Maybe it was because he no longer had Kevin Durant by his side, and Klay Thompson was going to miss another season. Maybe it was because the Warriors not only missed the playoffs the season before but were nowhere near making it. Whatever it was, apparently this was a make or break season for Curry. It feels like he took that personally.

"Hey man, if Mike Tyson got a problem with me and is trying to go there, I’m trying to talk my way out of it. I’m not going to bark up that tree, and I think it’s the same with Steph," Juan Toscano-Anderson said. "You gotta be careful waking up a sleeping giant. That dude is amazing."

Consider the giant wide awake.

In the final game of the regular season -- a 113-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies -- Curry scored 45 points on 16-of-36 shooting, including 9-of-22 from three, snatching up the NBA's season scoring title

Curry has finished the regular season averaging 32 points per game, nearly two full points more than what he averaged during his unanimous MVP campaign during the 2015-16 season. 

"Sometimes you just catch yourself watching, starring at the greatness," Andrew Wiggins said. "The stuff he does out on the court, that’s so special."

 

"(Basketball) is an art. He’s like the Picasso of our time," Juan Toscano-Anderson said. "He really just doing his thing and you can’t do nothing but love him."

For some reason, Curry's legacy has been tied to those around him more than other stars throughout the league. It was a common argument that Curry never would have won his three rings without his teammates. And while that might be true, taking it as far as saying he couldn't "carry" a team is a bit much. 

And this season has proved that. 

"If people don’t like that guy or got something bad to say about that guy in regards to basketball," Toscano-Anderson said before taking a moment to think. "You can’t have a knock on him. He’s the best doing it right now."

"He’s never been better," Steve Kerr said. "He’s been great for a long time though so it's hard to say he’s at his best now because he’s been like this for years. The difference is the supporting cast this year. We've got a much younger team, he’s been asked to do a lot more with this group. And he’s gone above and beyond what we’ve asked of him. Just an incredible season."

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This season isn't the first time Curry has been asked to adjust his game. But before, the Warriors needed him to do the opposite of what he's done this year. 

When Durant arrived in Golden State, the Warriors needed Curry to score less and facilitate more. He went from averaging 30 a night to 25 points per game during the Durant era. 

Curry did it without blinking an eye. And just like that, he's asked to do the exact opposite and revert to his old scoring volume. Again, Curry never hesitated to take on the responsibility his team needed him to. 

"The first thing I told the locker room is that no matter what anybody says, I appreciate what they've all brought to this season," Curry said. "Because, like I said, it wasn't pretty. It wasn't a steady climb at all, even to get to this spot. But I appreciate everybody out there's commitment to how we play. That's really unlocked what I do best."

Being able to do that -- not gawk when your coach asks you to take on a lesser role when you're the face of the franchise, and then accept needing to score at least 30 a night to give your team a chance to win -- is an underrated trait Curry has. And not many stars have it, even if they understand it's in the interest of winning.

"No matter who's around him, what the circumstances are, he’s going to bring his best every day," Kerr said. "And he sets an example that everyone else follows. It's remarkable to see him, his humility, combined with his confidence allows him to be so even-keeled. Nothing seems to bother him."

 

Maybe it's just because Curry likes to win that he's willing to do whatever he has to in order to make that happen. And if that's the case, that should only add to Curry's legacy. 

He's not a guy who likes to point fingers and make excuses. If he wants to win, he'll figure out a way to do it. 

This season has seen Curry become the Warriors' all-time leading scorer, become just the fourth player in NBA history to win multiple scoring titles, MVPs and NBA championships, and score over 2,000 points for the second time in his career. Not to mention, he did all of this in 10 fewer games than a normal season would have. 

"I don't think anybody should be putting any crazy talk on his name," Jordan Poole said. "You can't talk down about somebody who does the stuff Steph does and acts the way he acts and holds himself to the standard that he does. If that's what they're talking about on social media, you shouldn't be on there."

If this was in fact a make or break season for Curry, consider it made. His legacy is secure, and perhaps, maybe became even greater than it was. 

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