Editor's Note: The above video is from June 20, 2016.
After sustaining a knee injury in Game 1 of the 2016 playoffs, Steph Curry spent the next two months dodging questions about his health, pronouncing himself fit each time he put on his Warriors jersey.
His coach, Steve Kerr, whistled precisely the same tune all the way through losing the NBA Finals.
Clearly, though, Curry was neither as nimble nor as explosive as he was in the regular season, when he became the first unanimous winner of the MVP award.
Kerr now concedes that Curry’s condition – he later sustained an ankle injury and an elbow contusion – resulted in a few strategic limitations.
“We made a few adjustments in terms of play-calling and actions that we tried to run,” Kerr told CSNBayArea.com in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “But there’s only so much of that you can do.
“It’s still about flow and rhythm and pace. We tried a few different things – and let’s not forget, he was phenomenal in a few games.”
Curry had several spectacular moments, most notably his 40-point outburst – including 17 in overtime – in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals at Portland. But his shooting percentage tumbled from 50.4 in the regular season to 43.8 in the playoffs. His 3-point marksmanship dropped from 45.4 percent to 40.4.
His lack of agility and balance was visible. After routinely torturing big men on defensive switches in the regular season, Curry couldn’t shake lumbering Cavaliers big man Kevin Love in the NBA Finals.
“Steph didn’t play his best against Cleveland for some of the series, but he had huge games in other parts of the playoffs, which got us to that point,” Kerr said. “That’s all a part of it. And if we had won the last game, nobody would’ve cared about Steph or his struggles.”
The Warriors fell when Kyrie Irving, once again exploiting a diminished Curry, drained a 3-pointer over Curry inside the final minute of Game 7 at Oracle Arena.
“I didn’t do enough to help my team win,” Curry said afterward. “It will haunt me for a while.”
Though Curry didn’t mention his assorted aches and pains after Game 7, this was two weeks after he withdrew from consideration for the Rio Olympics, citing a desire to fully heal in hopes of better preparing for next season with the Warriors.
As recently as 17 days ago – a full month after The Finals – Curry during a golf tournament at Lake Tahoe acknowledged his body was still recovering.
Yet neither Curry nor Kerr would, given the stakes, do anything differently.
“We didn’t hide anything,” Kerr said. “If there had been a diagnosis, we would have told you. We don’t hide stuff like that. He was banged up. But that’s not an excuse. It’s not an injury; it’s just that the reality of the season and it kind of hit him at the wrong time, given that everything started in the playoffs and carried through.
“We wouldn’t have sat him out. We wouldn’t have said anything different than what we said. It’s just the reality of sports. It always takes a little bit of luck to win a title. We always say that, and it’s the truth. You’ve got to get a break here and there.
“Maybe this wasn’t the year for us. We made a hell of a run. We were right there, seconds away. That’s how hard it is. You’ve got to go for it, and whatever happens, happens. And then you move on, and that’s what we’ve done.”