Stephen Curry posts worst NBA Finals Game Score by MVP in 26 years

27 Comments

Stephen Curry played terribly in Game 2.

He shot 5-for-23, including 2-of-15 on 3-pointers and committed six turnovers. He air-balled the potential game-winner in overtime and threw away the ball on the Warriors’ final possession.

It was a disastrous performance for anyone, let alone the reigning MVP.

Here’s how every MVP has performed in each Finals game since 1985, as far back as Basketball-Reference.com has complete game logs. To measure, we’ll use Game Score:

the formula is PTS + 0.4 * FG – 0.7 * FGA – 0.4*(FTAFT) + 0.7 * ORB + 0.3 * DRB + STL + 0.7 * AST + 0.7 * BLK – 0.4 * PFTOV. Game Score was created by John Hollinger to give a rough measure of a player’s productivity for a single game. The scale is similar to that of points scored, (40 is an outstanding performance, 10 is an average performance, etc.).

image

Game Game Score
Tim Duncan: 2003 SAS-NJN G1 40.8
Shaquille O’Neal: 2000 LAL-IND G1 37.9
Charles Barkley: 1993 PHO-CHI G2 37
Michael Jordan: 1992 CHI-POR G1 36.9
Charles Barkley: 1993 PHO-CHI G4 35.6
Allen Iverson: 2001 PHI-LAL G1 35
Magic Johnson: 1987 LAL-BOS G3 35
Michael Jordan: 1991 CHI-LAL G2 34.7
Shaquille O’Neal: 2000 LAL-IND G2 33.5
Magic Johnson: 1988 LAL-DET G1 33.5
Michael Jordan: 1992 CHI-POR G5 33.3
Larry Bird: 1986 BOS-HOU G2 33
Michael Jordan: 1991 CHI-LAL G1 32.6
LeBron James: 2013 MIA-SAS G7 32.5
Larry Bird: 1986 BOS-HOU G6 32.2
Shaquille O’Neal: 2000 LAL-IND G6 30.9
Magic Johnson: 1987 LAL-BOS G1 30.9
Magic Johnson: 1987 LAL-BOS G5 30.7
Magic Johnson: 1987 LAL-BOS G2 30.6
Magic Johnson: 1988 LAL-DET G6 29.7
LeBron James: 2013 MIA-SAS G4 29.6
Shaquille O’Neal: 2000 LAL-IND G5 28.7
Shaquille O’Neal: 2000 LAL-IND G4 28.7
Michael Jordan: 1991 CHI-LAL G4 28.6
Michael Jordan: 1998 CHI-UTA G6 28.5
Karl Malone: 1997 UTA-CHI G3 28.2
Michael Jordan: 1996 CHI-SEA G3 28.1
Hakeem Olajuwon: 1994 HOU-NYK G4 28
Larry Bird: 1985 BOS-LAL G4 26.3
Michael Jordan: 1991 CHI-LAL G5 26.1
Tim Duncan: 2003 SAS-NJN G6 25.9
LeBron James: 2013 MIA-SAS G6 25.8
Tim Duncan: 2003 SAS-NJN G5 25.7
Magic Johnson: 1988 LAL-DET G3 25.6
LeBron James: 2012 MIA-OKC G5 25.5
Kobe Bryant: 2008 LAL-BOS G3 25.4
LeBron James: 2012 MIA-OKC G4 25.3
Michael Jordan: 1992 CHI-POR G6 25.3
Hakeem Olajuwon: 1994 HOU-NYK G6 25.1
Michael Jordan: 1992 CHI-POR G2 25.1
Magic Johnson: 1988 LAL-DET G2 25
Michael Jordan: 1998 CHI-UTA G2 24.8
Michael Jordan: 1991 CHI-LAL G3 24.8
LeBron James: 2012 MIA-OKC G2 24.7
Allen Iverson: 2001 PHI-LAL G3 24.1
Shaquille O’Neal: 2000 LAL-IND G3 23.6
Larry Bird: 1986 BOS-HOU G3 23.6
Kobe Bryant: 2008 LAL-BOS G2 23.3
Larry Bird: 1985 BOS-LAL G2 23
Magic Johnson: 1987 LAL-BOS G4 22.5
LeBron James: 2012 MIA-OKC G1 22.3
Magic Johnson: 1988 LAL-DET G7 22
Tim Duncan: 2003 SAS-NJN G4 21.9
Michael Jordan: 1996 CHI-SEA G2 21.8
Michael Jordan: 1998 CHI-UTA G4 21.5
Larry Bird: 1986 BOS-HOU G1 21.5
LeBron James: 2013 MIA-SAS G5 21.2
Michael Jordan: 1996 CHI-SEA G1 21.2
Tim Duncan: 2003 SAS-NJN G3 20.9
Hakeem Olajuwon: 1994 HOU-NYK G3 20.7
Larry Bird: 1986 BOS-HOU G4 20.6
Stephen Curry: 2015 GSW-CLE G1 20.4
LeBron James: 2013 MIA-SAS G1 20.4
LeBron James: 2012 MIA-OKC G3 20.4
Hakeem Olajuwon: 1994 HOU-NYK G2 20.2
Magic Johnson: 1989 LAL-DET G2 20.1
Magic Johnson: 1987 LAL-BOS G6 20.1
Larry Bird: 1985 BOS-LAL G1 20.1
Michael Jordan: 1998 CHI-UTA G1 20
Magic Johnson: 1989 LAL-DET G1 19.5
Allen Iverson: 2001 PHI-LAL G4 19.4
Charles Barkley: 1993 PHO-CHI G5 19.2
Charles Barkley: 1993 PHO-CHI G3 19
Allen Iverson: 2001 PHI-LAL G5 18.7
Michael Jordan: 1998 CHI-UTA G3 18.6
Larry Bird: 1985 BOS-LAL G5 18.4
Hakeem Olajuwon: 1994 HOU-NYK G1 18.3
Magic Johnson: 1988 LAL-DET G4 18.3
Karl Malone: 1997 UTA-CHI G4 18
LeBron James: 2013 MIA-SAS G2 17.9
Larry Bird: 1985 BOS-LAL G6 17.8
Hakeem Olajuwon: 1994 HOU-NYK G7 17.7
Charles Barkley: 1993 PHO-CHI G6 17.7
Michael Jordan: 1992 CHI-POR G4 17.3
Michael Jordan: 1992 CHI-POR G3 17.1
Hakeem Olajuwon: 1994 HOU-NYK G5 17
Magic Johnson: 1988 LAL-DET G5 16.5
Kobe Bryant: 2008 LAL-BOS G5 16.2
Karl Malone: 1997 UTA-CHI G6 15.6
Karl Malone: 1997 UTA-CHI G1 15.6
Michael Jordan: 1996 CHI-SEA G5 15.1
Michael Jordan: 1996 CHI-SEA G6 14.9
Michael Jordan: 1998 CHI-UTA G5 14.8
Kobe Bryant: 2008 LAL-BOS G4 14.3
Larry Bird: 1986 BOS-HOU G5 12.4
Charles Barkley: 1993 PHO-CHI G1 12.1
Larry Bird: 1985 BOS-LAL G3 12.1
Karl Malone: 1997 UTA-CHI G5 11.7
Karl Malone: 1997 UTA-CHI G2 11.6
Kobe Bryant: 2008 LAL-BOS G1 11
LeBron James: 2013 MIA-SAS G3 10.3
Michael Jordan: 1996 CHI-SEA G4 9.8
Tim Duncan: 2003 SAS-NJN G2 9.5
Kobe Bryant: 2008 LAL-BOS G6 8
Allen Iverson: 2001 PHI-LAL G2 5.2
Stephen Curry: 2015 GSW-CLE G2 2.9
Magic Johnson: 1989 LAL-DET G3 -0.7

The only mark worse than Curry’s 2.9 is Magic Johnson’s -0.7 in Game 3 of the 1989 NBA Finals. But Johnson played just five minutes, missing a couple shots and dishing an assist, due to a hamstring injury suffered in Game 2. He missed all of Game 4 as the Pistons completed the sweep.

Curry played 42 stunningly awful minutes.

Credit Matthew Dellavedova and the Cavaliers’ defense. They performed well.

But also blame Curry for laying an egg when it counts most. MVPs aren’t supposed to play this way.

Until last night, it’d been a long time since one had.

Report: Trail Blazers sign president Neil Olshey to contract extension

AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens
Leave a comment

Just after a rumor emerged about the Wizards trying to hire Trail Blazers president Neil Olshey…

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

It’s nice to be wanted. It always adds leverage in contract negotiations.

Olshey has done well in Portland, building a winner around Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum after LaMarcus Aldridge left. But Olshey’s job will get harder now.

Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless each have another season on the expensive contracts Olshey gave them in the wild summer of 2016. That’ll inhibit flexibility this offseason.

Then, Lillard is set to sign a super-max extension that will take effect in 2021. As great as Lillard is, it’ll be difficult building a contender around someone projected to earn $43 million, $46 million, $50 million and $53 million from ages 31-34. There’s so little margin for error, especially if ownership is less willing to pay the luxury tax than the late Paul Allen was.

But Olshey has earned a chance to handle these dilemmas.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert hits super-max criteria for extension projected to be worth $250 million over five years

Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images
2 Comments

Anthony Davis signed a max rookie-scale contract extension in 2015, between his third and fourth seasons. Based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement at the time, the extension called for him to earn a higher salary if he was twice voted an All-Star starter or made two All-NBA teams during his first four seasons. Davis was voted an All-Star starter and made the All-NBA first team in his third season.

Unfortunately for Davis, he missed both honors his fourth year. The All-NBA and All-Star-starter tracks ran independently. Davis couldn’t qualify for a higher max salary by earning one of each.

That cost him $19,683,908 over the four pre-player-option seasons of his extension, which will end next year.

The current CBA’s more significant adjustments to super-max eligibility – changing the years for qualification, using Defensive Player of the Year instead of All-Star starter – obscured a minor tweak. The tracks now run together. A player can qualify with one Defensive Player of the Year and one All-NBA selection. He needn’t achieve two of one category.

So, Jazz center Rudy Gobert – who won won Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 and made All-NBA this year – quietly became eligible to sign a super-max extension in the 2020 offseason. The extension’s highest-allowable value projects to be $250 million over five years. The first four years would follow the structure of the super-max Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers are set to sign.

Newsflash: Gobert isn’t Lillard.

Gobert is elite defensively and underrated offensively. But paying him $50 million per year from ages 30-34 in a league overflowing with good centers? That’s a recipe for disaster for Utah.

But Gobert earned eligibility. That makes it harder for the Jazz to tell him they don’t deem him worthy. That tension is an unintended consequence of the super-max rules.

There is room for negotiation. In this case, Gobert’s designated-veteran-player extension must be for five seasons and have a starting salary between 30% and 35% of the 2021-22 salary cap. But his salary can increase or decrease annually by up to 8% of his first-year salary. The deal can be partially guaranteed.

Still, the lowest possible designated-veteran-player extension for Gobert projects to be $155 million over five years. If fully guaranteed, that’d be expensive for a player of his age. If not fully guaranteed, the Jazz would get savings only by waiving him, and that’d mean dropping the cheaper latter years.

Because he doesn’t have enough experience to qualify, Gobert can’t sign a super-max extension until the 2020 offseason. He met the award criteria, but a player must have seven or eight years of experience. Gobert just finished his sixth year. He’s also under contract for two more seasons – locked into salaries of $24,758,427 next season and $26,275,281 the following year.

So, there’s time to figure this out.

But this is the most uneasy super-max situation so far – unless Gobert just doesn’t insist on the money. Good luck with that.

Rumor: Wizards interested in Trail Blazers president Neil Olshey

AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer
Leave a comment

The Wizards struck out on luring Nuggets president Tim Connelly.

Washington’s next choice?

Ben Standig of NBC Washington:

As for the rumor mill, one name stands out: Neil Olshey.

Numerous sources told NBC Sports Washington of the Wizards’ interest in Blazers President of Basketball Operations

Olshey has done a good job in Portland. He drafted Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum then built a winner around those two after LaMarcus Aldridge left. Trading for and re-signing Jusuf Nurkic to a reasonable contract looks great. Olshey also overpaid Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, Allen Crabbe and Festus Ezeli, but many teams spent wildly in 2016. It was a weird summer.

The Wizards would do well to hire such a proven executive.

Would Olshey leave the Trail Blazers? Their ownership situation remains uncertain following the death of Paul Allen in October. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has demonstrated extreme loyalty to his executives.

Portland will also reportedly sign Damian Lillard to a super-max extension – a move that practically must be made, but one that carries massive downside risk. However, if he goes to Washington, Olshey would be trading uncertainty in Damian Lillard’s value on the super-max for certain negative value with John Wall on his super-max extension.

A couple years ago, Olshey signed his own extension through 2021. Maybe he’s ready to move on.

Or maybe he’s ready to use the Wizards as leverage for a raise.

Rumor: Lakers hired Jason Kidd to lure Giannis Antetokounmpo

Al Bello/Getty Images
5 Comments

New Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he wanted Jason Kidd because Kidd is a good coach.

Steve Popper of Newsday:

the person familiar with the Lakers process said something else: that Kidd was brought to Los Angeles to attract Giannis Antetokounmpo to the Lakers when he becomes a free agent in two years when the Bucks star could become an unrestricted free agent.

Things I believe:

1. This plan probably wouldn’t work. Not only does Antetokounmpo appear happy in Milwaukee, he has specifically said he could never see himself playing for Los Angeles. And though I believe Antetokounmpo respected Kidd while Kidd coached him, look at the Bucks now. They’re so much better under Mike Budenholzer. You think Antetokounmpo is itching to play for Kidd again after seeing the other side?

2. The Lakers might just try this wild plan anyway. Remember when they were waiting to hire a coach in 2014 so free agent LeBron James could pick? Aside from signing LeBron last year, who seemingly had his eye on Los Angeles for years and for reasons other than basketball, the Lakers have struck out on star free agents. The franchise is getting desperate.

3. People want to believe the Lakers would do something crazy like this, and that makes the rumor spread faster – whether or not it’s true. The Lakers, because of their stature, tactics and general manager have made many enemies around the league. Plenty of folks are enjoying piling on.