Winners and losers of the 2022 NBA Finals

Published June 21, 2022, 5:00 PMPolo Bustamante

The Curry-Thompson-Green core came out as big winners, in more ways than one.

In a lot of ways, this tweet applies not just to Stephen Curry. This also applies to Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest of the Golden State Warriors franchise. That’s why they won more than just a trophy when they took home the NBA Championship this season. Let’s unpack that as we take a look at the rest of the winners and losers of the 2022 NBA Finals.

Winner: Steph Curry

Okay, first things first. Curry needed this for his legacy. He was already one of the greats with what he’s achieved before. Adding another championship AND a Finals MVP to the resume just cements his status. Now, there’s no debate. He’s a top 10 player in the NBA, period.

More interesting than the legacy narrative was how Curry carried himself throughout the Finals. There was something different about this run. In previous title runs, he was playing with joy. This time around, there was an edginess to him. He was barking back at the fans in Boston and engaging in a petty war with them (more on this later). 

He was playing like he heard all the talk during the two seasons the Warriors were down and wanted to prove EVERYONE wrong. If this is what angry Curry is like, the league better be praying that joyous Curry comes back.

Loser: Boston Fans

Even in sports, there are some rules that you don’t cross. Never talk trash about a man’s momma, wife, or kids. Boston fans made a huge mistake when one of them did this after Game 4:

The Warriors won Game 5 and Curry came out to the postgame presser with this statement:

Curry got the last laugh when he closed out the series in the Boston Celtics’ home court in front of the same fans he’s been feuding with. His final sign off was just… magnificent.

Winner: Klay Thompson

When the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team was announced, there were a lot of deserving players that didn’t make the list. One of the guys that took it a bit personally was Thompson.

Maybe it’s recency bias because Thompson has been out of the picture for a couple of seasons but it seemed like fans and analysts forgot just how good or important Thompson is. He reminded everyone of the kind of player that he still is in the Finals.

He didn’t have the best series, but Thompson held down the fort during crucial stretches, which allowed Curry to go on his game-changing runs. Even if his shot wasn’t falling he brought a consistent effort in everything else he did on the court. 

At the end of the day, it’s just good to see Thompson back on the court after back-to-back devastating injuries. The climb back to the top is much sweeter after all that’s happened to him.

Winner: Draymond Green

Sure, Green won a championship. But Green probably enjoys the fact that he gets a season-long pass to talk smack to anyone he chooses to. He started immediately:

What are you going to say to him? He’s a champ.

Loser: Jayson Tatum

It was a rough postseason run for Kobe Bryant Disciples.

First, Devin Booker wasn’t legendary in Game 7 against the Dallas Mavericks. Then, Jayson Tatum faltered in the biggest game of his life.

Tatum probably should have texted Bryant before Game 6 of the Finals. When his team needed him the most, he couldn't deliver. His struggles in the final game of the series was just emblematic of his struggles throughout the Finals.

As much as his playmaking has improved, Tatum still needs to figure out how to take care of the ball better. Turnovers were a major problem for the Celtics in the Finals and Tatum was a major contributor to that problem.

Another issue he had was finishing around the rim. Even against the smaller Warriors frontline, Tatum was ice cold in his scoring in the paint. He looked like he was always trying to sell the contact rather than finish through it (shout out Stanley Sugarman).

This Finals series is another lesson for Tatum. To get superstar calls you have to prove that you’re a superstar. To prove that you’re a superstar, you have to find that next gear when the game, the series, or in this case, the season is on the line.

Winner: Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins

Get your bags boys!