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Did Andre Iguodala Deserve to Win the 2015 Finals MVP Over Stephen Curry?

Published 10/28/2023, 6:28 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

Stephen Curry is the best shooter the league has ever seen, and he is also one of the best point guards ever. After initial years of injury struggle, Curry erupted in 2015 and won the MVP award. He also led the Golden State Warriors to the title that year. He continued his unreal performances in the next year and won his second straight MVP. This time, he was named unanimous MVP. No one has ever done it before or after. However, Curry did not win the Finals MVP award despite helping the Warriors to win the championship after 40 long years. Instead, his teammate Andre Iguodala clinched the accolade. But did he deserve it?

Andre Iguodala’s path to the Warriors and role

Andre Iguodala is one of the best role players ever. He has been one throughout his career. Early in his career, Iguodala was extremely athletic. This helped him make some incredible plays, especially during his time with the Philadelphia 76ers. Playing alongside NBA legend Allen Iverson, Iguodala found himself finishing big alley-oops from AI’s inch-perfect passes. Day by day, the forward’s impact grew on the team. He soon became one of the important players for the 76ers.

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After Iverson’s departure, Iguodala became the main man, a role which he wasn’t accustomed to. However, his numbers went up in almost every category. But he struggled to lead the team, and the pressure piled up after signing a huge extension. Eventually, his relationship with the fans went sour, and he left the 76ers. In his final year with the Sixers in 2012, he made the All-Star team for the first and only time in his career.

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Iguodala was never a superstar and not the first option in any team. He was more than capable of being the third or sometimes the second-best player on a team. However, he was also ready to take a backseat and put the team in front. After joining the Warriors in 2013, he did exactly that. As a veteran, he also brought much-required experience to the young squad of stars like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Harrison Barnes. With Curry’s rise to dominance, the team started winning.

Stephen Curry wins first MVP award and leads the team to the title

Stephen Curry went on an impressive run during the 2014-15 regular season and dominated his opponents. Teams struggled to contain the sharpshooter effortlessly making three-pointers for fun. Curry’s impressive shooting displays arguably changed the way the game is played around the world. He won the MVP award averaging 23.8 points, 7.7 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 2 steals per game. Interestingly, other than steals, the other three numbers were slightly down from the previous season. Klay Thompson came close in scoring with 21.7 points per game.

However, Steph was only warming up and was saving the best for the postseason. The superstar helped the Warriors eliminate the New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies, and Houston Rockets to reach the Finals. Curry averaged 28.3 points, 6.4 assists, 5 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game in the playoffs.

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In the Finals, Curry and the Warriors faced off against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. After the Dubs won game 1, the Cavaliers clinched games 2 and 3. The Warriors came back strong and won three straight games to clinch the title. Much to the surprise of many, Andre Iguodala was awarded the Finals MVP award.

Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala’s numbers 

In the Finals, Stephen Curry averaged 26 points, 6.3 assists, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game. Finals MVP Andre Iguodala averaged 16.3 points, 4 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals. So it was no wonder that fans were confused when Iguodala won the award. In the 2014-15 postseason, Iguodala was the fifth-best in terms of scoring with 10.4 points per game and also in minutes 30.2. However, in the Finals, Iggy’s scoring numbers were only behind Curry. Furthermore, he also played close to 37 minutes per game.

But that still does not warrant winning the Finals MVP award over Curry who averaged 10 more points. The sharpshooter was also better in other important categories as well. Despite this, Iguodala clinched the award possibly because of his performance in the last three games of the series which secured the title for the Warriors.

In game 4, both stars were tied at 22 points and the Dubs won the game 103-82. While Iggy had 8 rebounds, Steph had 2 and dished 7 assists. In the next game, Curry erupted for 37 points against LeBron James’ 40. Iguodala had a decent all-around game with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. The Dubs sealed the game 104-91.

In the title-clinching game 6, once again Curry and Iguodala were tied with 25 points each. While Steph had 6 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals, Andre had 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. No one else on the team scored more than 16 points. In two of the last three games, Iguodala and Curry were tied for points. In game 5, Steph had 13 more points than Iggy. However, it has to be noted that there is so much more to the game of basketball than stats.

Stephen Curry deserved to win the Finals MVP

Andre Iguodala definitely made some very important plays on both ends of the court over the course of the Finals. Especially in the last three games which was possibly the reason to award him the Finals MVP. However, the same can be said about Stephen Curry as well who made clutch plays throughout the series, the postseason, and the regular season. So, as the best player on the championship-winning team at every step along the way, Curry deserved to win the Finals MVP award. Even Iguodala himself has admitted it recently.

We will never know for sure what exactly went behind the scenes in the voting panel after the Dubs won the ring. A panel of 11 media members usually vote for the award. Notably, LeBron James was close to winning the award with 4 votes despite losing the ring. Iguodala received 7  and won it as per Sporting News. While James was the best player in the series, it was shocking to find Curry did not even get one vote in favor of him. Perhaps, the voting panel wanted to continue the previous year’s trend.

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In the previous season, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat and won the championship. Once again, LeBron was the best player in the series but he could not lead the team to victory. Notably, Kawhi Leonard won the Finals MVP despite being the second-best scorer. But the margin was very minimal. Leonard averaged 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks. Tony Parker had 18 points and 4.6 assists per game.

Interestingly, Leonard and Iguodala are the only two players to have won the award while averaging less than 20 points in the last 40 years as per Basketball Reference. Before Kawhi, Magic Johnson was the last player to win the award with less than 20 points in the 1981-82 Finals. However, the Hall of Famer had 16.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2.5 steals.

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Even though Kawhi averaged less than 20 points in the series, it is clear he was the best player for the Spurs. That was not the case in 2014-15. Iguodala winning the award was a huge recognition for every role player who rarely gets enough credit for his hard work. However, it should not have come at the cost of Curry who was clearly the most valuable player.

Editorial DisclaimerThe views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of EssentiallySports.

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Bagavathi Eswaran

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Bagavathi Eswaran is a senior NBA writer at EssentiallySports, with a strong passion for the sport that started at the young age of ten. As a former college player, Bagavathi has been following the NBA for more than a decade and has found his calling in writing about the sport. With over 1400 articles to his name, his expertise in covering the NBA, as well as other arenas of the sport, is evident in his writing.
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