Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors played in five straight Finals from 2015 to 2019. Curry won two MVPs and three championships during that span, establishing himself as one of the greatest players in NBA history.
However, the Warriors missed the playoffs in 2020 and 2021. Curry only played in five games in 2019-20 before the season was suspended due to COVID-19. He suffered a broken left hand in the fourth game of the campaign and played in one game before Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.
Curry rebounded nicely in 2020-21 by leading the NBA in scoring, but the Warriors lost both of their games in the play-in tournament.
After the NBA decided it would finish the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World, the Warriors were one of the teams not invited since their record was so poor. Although many players didn’t enjoy playing in the Walt Disney World bubble, Curry wished he could have.
Stephen Curry: “Watching the bubble was the lowest point of those two years”
Curry told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that it was difficult to watch the bubble games on TV. After being on top of the basketball world for five years, the Warriors were humbled in 2019-20, and Curry struggled with it.
“Watching the bubble was the lowest point of those two years,” Curry said. “There was a part of me that felt it was nice to get refreshed, and a part of me really missed playing on that stage. That was the first time in seven years of not being in the playoffs. We know each player had their own experiences in the bubble, but I would have loved to have been there competing. I would say that was the lowest point in terms of my basketball experience because I felt so far away from it. This is what I love to do.”
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 championship over the Miami Heat. After watching the bubble games from afar, Curry was ready to get back on the big stage in 2020-21. However, Klay Thompson missed his second straight season due to injury, and despite how stellar Curry was, the Warriors once again missed the postseason.
With Kevin Durant gone, there was significant skepticism that the Warriors could be an elite team again. Despite having the best record in the NBA this season, Curry — the Dubs’ best player and leader — understood why people doubted Golden State.
Stephen Curry acknowledged there was doubt on his part
Curry is the greatest shooter in NBA history and an intense competitor. However, even he had doubts about the Warriors’ future after Durant left and Thompson got hurt twice.
“You have to understand how quickly things can change around the league,” Curry said. “And there was a little doubt that crept in with us wondering would the business take over before we get to have a chance to get back with the injuries and decisions that need to be made all the while you’re working your ass off to get back physically and mentally into this very spot. We always felt that if we could just get some pieces, we can be right back where we wanted to be. So we know we got a long way to go, but we heard all of it obviously about our team being done. And that’s why I said, ‘Why wouldn’t they say that?’ because as great as it was for five years, it took a drastic downturn pretty quick.”
It’s unknown if the Warriors can win another title in the Curry-Thompson era since the NBA has so many good teams, and Thompson has yet to return from his Achilles tear. However, it’s possible Curry can win his third MVP this season.
Steph has been unreal this season
Curry is averaging 28.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.8 assists while shooting 46.6% from the field and 42.3% from beyond the arc this season. The seven-time All-Star leads the league in scoring and has the Warriors atop the NBA standings with a record of 18-2.
If the Warriors get homecourt advantage in the first round of the 2022 playoffs with Thompson missing almost half the season, Curry has to be the MVP. The Davidson product has the highest plus-minus this season at +283. The Warriors’ offensive rating also drops by 13.6 when Curry is on the bench. The two-time scoring champion has been the most impactful player on a winning team, and he’s the main reason the Warriors are must-see TV again.
Missing the bubble games was tough for Curry. However, it may have been a blessing in disguise since he’s looked fresh and stronger since the start of last season.