Steph Curry returned from injury last night after not playing for 3 weeks. He dropped 40 points and broke the NBA record with 17 points in overtime to proclaim to the world, “I’m back!” Just to put that in perspective, scoring 17 points in a 5 minute overtime would be like scoring 42 points in a quarter or 168 points in a game. With the win, the Warriors go up 3-1 on the Blazers with a chance to close them out at home in game 5. The Warriors will then wait for the winner of the Spurs-Thunder series. The Playoffs are just more fun when Curry is around. Steph must not have liked how much attention we were giving the Cavs as they swept the Pistons and the Hawks on their way to the East Finals. Steph must not have liked how the Spurs and Thunder have us all guessing and wondering if we can trust our eyes with OKC or not. Maybe Steph just missed playing the game. Either way, Steph, we missed you. Welcome back. We are all excited to see what you do next!
Curry’s comeback came on the heels of the formal announcement that he has become the 1st ever unanimous MVP and the 11th player to win back-to-back MVP awards. We have all heard all of the crazy stats, we’ve seen the unbelievable plays and shots, we’ve all run out of superlatives trying to describe exactly how good he has been this year, but joining this group of back-to-back MVPs is special. In terms of #ESPNrank, the Top 8 players of all-time (MJ, Kareem, Lebron, Wilt, Magic, Bird, Russell, and Duncan) were all back-to-back MVP winners. The other repeat winners are #15 Moses Malone and #30 Steve Nash. Many, including me, believe that Nash never should have won a 2nd MVP and that year Shaq deserved the MVP, so it is not surprising that Nash is the outlier on this list. Nash benefited from a new and exciting style of play and is similar to what Curry is doing at about half the shooting volume. Still, earlier this season I wrote that it was too soon to put Curry as high as #23rd on the All-Time list. Now as a back-to-back MVP and now the league’s first ever unanimous MVP, #23 is too low. Still in his prime, we can expect Curry to continue to add to his legacy until he lands himself comfortably in the Top 10. If he can win a third straight next season, he would join even more elite company. Only Russell, Chamberlain, and Bird have won three straight.