Jay C. Brandriet
We just witnessed our fourth installment of Warriors vs Cavaliers for the NBA title. The Finals MVP decision got close for a minute, but Kevin Durant was a legit choice in the end. It’s a pretty straight forward award. At the conclusion of play, I’ve guessed 30 out of the last 31 correctly. The one I missed on, is the one that remains open for debate.
To this day, people will say any one of three guys deserved the 2015 Finals MVP. Because of LeBron James great play in a losing effort, the voters got confused and picked the wrong guy. Andre Iguodola should not have been the Most Valuable Player. Andre was the “x factor.” Stephen Curry was the athlete who should have been given this award.
IT WAS CLOSE: Going into game six I thought of a couple scenarios in which LeBron and his Cavs could lose, and he could still capture the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP. For five seconds I considered a way in which Iguodola could come out on top. The way the last game played out ensured to me, that neither of those guys would take home the hardware. Curry was the best choice. I was a bit shocked when Andre was being handed the trophy. I accepted it for a minute as I knew his contribution was huge. It took half an hour before I was annoyed. It’s not a huge sports robbery, but it’s worth bringing up. The eleven voters gave Iguodola seven votes and LeBron four. Curry not receiving a vote was inexcusable.
WHY I COULDN’T ACCEPT VOTING FOR JAMES: LeBron would have been my clear second choice. Kevin Love was already out, and Kryrie Irving was injured at the end of game one. LeBron had to lift a lot in this championship battle and did an awesome job. His versatility, leadership, and ability to physically consume the series was on display. His all around numbers were glowing as always. James lack of help also contributed to him shooting 34 percent from the field in the fourth quarters and overtimes. For the level LeBron is on (chasing Jordan) he came up flat in games four and six in Cleveland. If the King won, it would have been the finest one man show in NBA history, considering the roster. The Cavaliers lost. I could not justify choosing LeBron.
THE WARRIORS DON’T WIN WITHOUT IGUODOLA: The difference Andre made was obvious. He defended LeBron admirably. He had a super performance in the close out game. He hit open jumpers and made a ton of key plays. Andre was so vital, we don’t need to bring up his awful free throw shooting. Nobody would have expected Iguodola to be in the conversation for Finals MVP going into the series. His standout play muddied the race. He ended up being graded on the curve. The voters got cute. They thought out of the box instead of keeping it simple.
CURRY WOULD HAVE MADE THE MOST SENSE: Through the first three contests, Steph was a little bit under Cleveland’s thumb. He would dominate in spurts. The bigger the games got, the more I saw the 2015 NBA MVP. Remember that guy that was shooting the ball on a different level than we had ever seen? How about that dude with some of the sickest handles ever, who dominated the Western Conference all season? That same guy played in the Finals. Curry still made incredible shots and passes. He provided space to his team on offense and rose to the occasion late in games. Steph averaged 26 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. He nailed seven three pointers in two of the games. He darted and danced to 37 points in game five, and played every bit as good as Iguodola in game six. The best player on the best team equals the logical choice.
SUMMARY: Andre Iguodola should have been a distant third in the final tally. This came down to the worlds two best players. LeBron playing on a “9.2” level and losing, is not as good as Curry playing “8.65” and winning. I do see why those that voted messed up. They needed a half an hour to let it sink in like I did.
Jay C. Brandriet