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NBA Finals MVP: Could Andrew Wiggins surpass Steph Curry?

Stephen Curry broke a 233-game streak of 3-pointers made with his worst playoff performance this year. Could he have some competition with Andrew Wiggins?

Update:
Stephen Curry broke a 233-game streak of 3-pointers made with his worst playoff performance this year. Could he have some competition with Andrew Wiggins?
EZRA SHAWAFP

It’s not like Steph Curry to have an off night, but it does happen from time to time. And it happened on Monday when the Warriors played the Celtics in Game 5. The Warriors got the win, but Curry had one of his worst shooting nights, missing 15 of his 22 attempts from the field, going 0-for-9 from behind the 3-point line and finishing with just 16 points total. Thus ended his 233-game streak of 3-pointers made.

Andrew Wiggins, on the other hand, had a lot to do with why the Warriors were able to get the win despite Curry’s bad night. Wiggins finished with 26 points on 12-for-23 shooting from the field and no turnovers, plus a game-high 13 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block. He’s made a huge impact on defense throughout the playoffs, guarding the likes of Ja Morant and Luka Doncic and is continuing to carry the brunt of the work guarding the Celtics’ star Jayson Tatum.

Curry’s slump unlikely to continue

Now, this is just one game of five played so far in the NBA Finals. Before the start of the series, Stephen Curry was the favorite to win the NBA Finals MVP award for the Warriors by a long shot. It would be a first for Curry, who’s won three championships but never the Finals MVP, losing to his teammates three times. This could finally be his year. But will this game change that? Does he have competition with Wiggins picking up his slack?

We have to keep in mind, this is Steph Curry. The standards to which we hold him are a lot higher than most players just because that’s how good he is. Wiggins’ 26 points in Game 5 are his second most all post season, whereas Curry is still averaging 30.6 even with his off night. It was the first time that Wiggins led in scoring and rebounding all season (not just in the playoffs) as well as his first time hitting back-to-back double-doubles. But Wiggins’ defensive impact isn’t to be taken lightly either - he held the Celtics to 7-of-16 shooting in Game 5.

It’s likely we see Curry bounce right back, which is what he tends to do when he does have the rare off night. The last time Curry went a whole game without making a three was in 2018. It’s not a trend that he allows to last long. If he does bounce back, he’ll likely still be the favorite to win the Finals MVP. If the slump continues or we see injury affecting his performance, Wiggins could surpass him as the more likely winner if the Warriors win the series.

It’s happened to greats before him. Take Kobe Bryant, for example. In the 2010 NBA Finals, the Lakers played the Celtics and Bryant went just 6-of-24 in Game 7. It was Metta World Peace stepped in to save the day. And yet, Bryant still won the Finals MVP due to his performance in the rest of the series. If Game 5 was a one-off, the same will be true of Curry. We will excuse it.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been happier after a 0-for-whatever type of night, just knowing the context of the game, the other ways you tried to impact the game and the fact that, you know, you had four guys step up in meaningful ways to help us win offensively,” Curry said. “So all that stuff matters. Yeah, there’s a fire burning and I want to make shots, but the rest of it is about how we win the game, and we did that.”

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