Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
It's going to be hard to say goodbye to these two guys, but after being eliminated in the Western Conference Semifinals, Curry and Durant won't be included in the forthcoming grades. Because they were among the best players involved in the NBA's postseason tournament, they deserve a couple of final grades, don't you think?
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
It's tough to look past Carmelo Anthony's ugly shooting percentages, but it's even tougher to determine whether the shots that have produced them—long jumpers and isolation drives into trouble—are a result of Anthony's own poor shot selection or Mike Woodson's dubious offensive scheming.
And there's also the little issue of the defenses 'Melo has had to face. The Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers both specialize in making life awfully rough for one-on-one scorers.
Anthony gets credit for playing hard throughout the postseason, despite the frustration of dealing with stingy defenses and the pain of his bothersome shoulder. Plus, he went out with a bang, dropping 39 in his final playoff game.
Playoff Grade: B
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Curry set the league on fire during his two-round run, putting up a pair of 22-point quarters and forcing defenses to re-evaluate just how far they were willing to stretch themselves to make sure he never saw an inch of daylight.
With postseason averages of 23.4 points, 8.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds, Curry was as productive as any star in these playoffs. More than that, though, he was fun. Few players have ever created the sense of anticipation Curry did whenever he loped up the floor with the rock, surveying the defense and probing for an opening to let his jumper fly.
Thirty-footers never looked so easy.
Final Playoff Grade: A-
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Durant did everything he could against a Grizzlies defense that was focused entirely on stopping him, but in the end, he just couldn't carry his broken team (and overmatched coach) out of the second round.
He might catch some flack for finishing his semifinal series by making only 15-of-48 shots over the final two games, but the poor guy was exhausted. The fact that he escaped the postseason without blowing out a lung is a minor miracle.
With final averages of 30.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists in over 44 minutes per game, Durant gave everything he had. He just didn't get enough help.
Final Playoff Grade: A