A dream season for Stephen Curry ended up in nightmare Sunday night as the Warriors lost the NBA title to the underdog Cavaliers. How much of it was his own doing? If we compare his numbers during the regular season to his Finals stats, it’s clear he struggled and bears some responsibility.
Curry’s scoring average went from 30.1 ppg between October and April to just 22.6 ppg in the championship series vs. Cleveland. That 7.5 ppg dropoff is the second-largest by an MVP in the Finals in the last 35 years. Only Magic Johnson in 1989 had a bigger one. Keep in mind, though, the Laker legend played a mere 75 minutes due to injury vs. the Pistons.
It doesn’t look better for Curry when it comes to shooting percentages. The Warriors guard finished the 2015-16 regular season with 50.4 percent shooting, a mind-boggling figure for a player who took 11.2 three-point shots per game. His shooting percentage plummeted to 40.3 percent in the Finals, though. Since 1980, only two MVPs (LeBron James in 2013 and Karl Malone in 1997) saw a bigger dropoff.
In the chart below, you can check the difference in statistics between regular season and NBA finals for Most Valuable Players those seasons.
|Stephen Curry, 2016||-7.5||-0.5||-3.0||-10.1|
|Stephen Curry, 2015||+2.2||+0.9||-1.4||-4.4|
|LeBron James, 2013||-1.5||+2.9||-0.3||-11.8|
|LeBron James, 2012||+1.5||+2.3||+1.2||-5.9|
|Kobe Bryant, 2008||-2.6||-1.6||-0.4||-5.4|
|Tim Duncan, 2003||+0.9||+4.1||+1.4||-1.8|
|Allen Iverson, 2001||+4.5||+1.8||-0.8||-1.3|
|Shaquille O’Neal, 2000||+8.3||+3.1||-1.5||+3.7|
|Michael Jordan, 1998||+4.8||-1.8||-1.2||-3.8|
|Karl Malone, 1997||-3.6||+0.4||-1.0||-10.7|
|Michael Jordan, 1996||-3.1||-1.3||-0.1||-8.0|
|Hakeem Olajuwon, 1994||-0.4||-2.8||0||-2.8|
|Charles Barkley, 1993||+1.7||+0.8||+0.4||-4.4|
|Michael Jordan, 1992||+5.7||-1.6||+0.4||+0.7|
|Michael Jordan, 1991||-0.3||+0.6||+5.9||+1.9|
|Magic Johnson, 1989||-10.8||-4.2||-4.8||-4.7|
|Magic Johnson, 1987||+2.3||+1.7||+0.8||+1.9|
|Larry Bird, 1986||-1.8||-0.1||+2.7||-1.4|
|Larry Bird, 1985||-4.9||-1.7||-1.6||-7.3|
|Larry Bird, 1984||+3.2||+3.9||-3.0||-0.8|
|Moses Malone, 1983||+1.3||+2.7||+0.7||+0.6|
|Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 1980||+8.6||+2.8||-1.3||-0.6|