There’s been a whole lot of talk surrounding a lack of parity leading up to the third consecutive NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kevin Durant seems to think that the failures of some of the worst organizations have played the largest role in this lack of parity. He specifically points to the Brooklyn Nets.
Now talking about this increasingly worn-out narrative, two-time reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry isn’t having any of it.
Stephen Curry called people's complaints about parity in the NBA "almost disrespectful" to the teams that made the Finals. pic.twitter.com/SUySzmNDmB
— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) May 26, 2017
“That almost is kind of disrespectful, because it’s not like it’s easy for us to get here. It wasn’t that at all. Us and Cleveland worked our butts off all year to put ourselves in a position to be playing for a championship,” Curry said. “The league is as strong talent wise across the board as it’s ever been. Every night we get challenged. Obviously we had that one stat I guess, point differential, all year. We had a pretty solid showing in that respect.”
An argument could be made that the Eastern Conference hasn’t challenged Cleveland. After all, the Cavaliers are 36-5 in the Eastern Conference Playoffs since LeBron James returned to the team three years ago.
For the Warriors, some will conclude they have gotten lucky with injuries. The latest argument is that San Antonio would have found a way to win the Western Conference Finals if Kawhi Leonard didn’t go down to injury in Game 1. Considering the Warriors swept their rivals, that’s a bunch of hogwash.
Curry’s overall point remains. Both Golden State and Cleveland went through their fair share of bumps and bruises during the regular year. Golden State lost Kevin Durant for well over a month late in the season. Meanwhile, Cleveland crawled to the playoffs with a 21-18 mark in its final 39 regular season games.
“But, every night was hard. Every night was challenging. You can’t just sleep walk through a season and sleep walk through the playoffs and expect to be here. You got to do something,” Curry continued. “You got to come out every night and prove yourself. Granted, anybody who was betting on who was gonna be in the Finals probably picked those two. It’s easy for them to say that and just wake up in June and see it happen. We had to put that work in all year long to make it happen.”
Is it Golden State’s fault that it has been dominating in the Western Conference over the past three seasons? Is it LeBron James’ fault that he’s now on the verge of a seventh consecutive NBA Finals? To conclude that it is would be a narrative built on nothing more than surface-based thinking.
As Curry notes, this era of the NBA might be the most talented in the history of the Association. Simply because we’re watching two of the better teams in league history go up against one another for a third consecutive Finals, it shouldn’t discount what they have done. Instead, it should be viewed as historical.
Maybe we will get to that point should the Finals themselves become one for the ages. Only time will tell. But for now, Curry surely does feel disrespected.