Stephen Curry already had three NBA championships sitting on his mantle heading into the 2022 Finals, but one piece of his legacy was missing: a Finals MVP.
While the 2017 and 2018 trophies went to Kevin Durant—and few would argue anyone else deserved it—the 2015 MVP given to Andre Iguodala stood out arguably as a mistake by the voters.
Curry told JJ Redick he never felt resentment toward Iguodala despite feeling he deserved the award.
"The question, 'Do I feel like I deserve it?' For sure. ... The power of the narrative, it can distract you from what the actual goal is," Curry said on The Old Man and the Three podcast (55:30 mark). "Obviously, we're not winning the Finals if I don't play the way I played. I felt like I played extremely well. We don't win the Finals unless Andre plays the way he did, and that adjustment [of Iguodala serving as LeBron James' primary defender] working, him giving us such a huge boost throughout the whole series.
"We both thought we probably deserved it. I'm sure when he heard his name called, he was like, 'No, it's him.' And if it was me, it would have been the same thing. It never dawned on me that I wouldn't have another opportunity to get one, or the fact he didn't deserve it."
Iguodala averaged 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists and only started three games in the 2015 Finals, but the series shifted when coach Steve Kerr put Iguodala into the starting lineup to defend a dominant LeBron James over the final three games.
James averaged 41.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 8.3 assists over the first three games of the series versus 30.7 points, 14.7 rebounds and 9.3 assists in the final three games. While no one would argue the Warriors stopped James, who put on a Herculean performance despite the Cavs losing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to injuries, Iguodala slowed him down just enough to put the Warriors over the top.
"I think it was well deserved. I just made the most of the opportunity," Iguodala told Sam Amick of The Athletic over the summer. "The scheme was set up for me to beat (James). And that doesn’t happen too often in the Finals. Normally it’s the guy who’s the favorite, (who has) the odds, those are the guys who always get the NBA Finals MVP. And I think that I just made the most of the opportunity.
Curry, by his standards, had a mediocre Finals. He averaged 26.0 points, 6.3 assists and 5.2 rebounds but shot an uncharacteristic 38.5 percent from three-point range and had only one game of 30-plus points. Curry remained by far the Warriors' best player, but the narrative was the series shifted on Iguodala's play.
Meanwhile, there are many who would argue James deserved to become the second player in league history to win a Finals MVP on a losing team (Jerry West being the other). He was unquestionably the best and most dominant player in the series, propping up a group of role players versus the core of a team that would set an NBA record with 73 wins a year later.