Anyone who is surprised that the Golden State Warriors reached the NBA Finals clearly wasn't paying attention to what Stephen Curry told the world one year ago.
After losing to the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in tournament last season, Curry told reporters that the Warriors would "make the right strides, take advantage of the summer" and no one would "want to see us next year."
It was almost exactly one year ago to the day when Curry made those comments. The Grizzlies beat the Warriors 117-112 in overtime to earn the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs on May 21, 2021.
Fast forward 366 days later, and the Warriors beat the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals to make their sixth appearance in the NBA Finals in the past eight seasons.
Curry was rewarded for his performance in the series as the winner of the inaugural Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP award. The eight-time All-Star averaged 23.8 points, 7.4 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game in five starts against the Mavs.
Golden State made it back to the playoffs this season for the first time since losing to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals. The summer of 2019 marked a significant turning point for the franchise.
Kevin Durant left the Warriors as a free agent to sign with the Brooklyn Nets. Klay Thompson missed two full seasons with a torn ACL and ruptured Achilles.
One week after the Warriors' loss to the Raptors in the Finals, they used the No. 28 pick in the draft to select Jordan Poole. The Michigan alum has been the breakout star of this postseason with 18.4 points per game and a 39.3 three-point percentage in 16 appearances.
Thompson played arguably his best game in Game 5 against the Mavs since returning from his injuries. He dropped 32 points on 8-of-16 shooting from behind the arc.
Now, the Warriors have the luxury of sitting back and waiting to see who wins the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.
Curry and the Warriors will play Game 1 of the NBA Finals on June 2.