Remember when Steph couldn’t go a month without injuring his ankles? It’s pretty insane to look back at those injuries when you watch the plays in this video.
It’s pretty remarkable to remember where Steph was just four or five years ago with the ankle injuries. He was a quality player, and we all acknowledged that. But every sew weeks or so you’d get another report about the ankles. A few weeks out here, another few weeks out there. It was at the point where you didn’t know if he’d even make it another couple of seasons the way his lower body was built. There’s so much wear and tear that goes into an NBA season… so many fast breaks, so much defensive shuffling, so many jumps, so much explosive steps… night in and night out. Practice after practice after game after practice after game after game after practice after game. It’s a wonder how even the strongest legs hold up through a season, let alone the clearly damaged ankles that Steph was playing with.
And now here we are, after back-to-back MVP’s, watching videos like this. I mean seriously, look at some of those crossovers, those hesitations, those step backs, those first steps. He’s doing things that we’ve only ever seen from Iverson, and he’s doing them on the same ankles he couldn’t keep healthy for a month at a time not too long ago.
It’s easy to get caught up in the dribbling and the craftiness and the vision and, of course, the shooting. All of that is what defines Steph as a player. But you really do have to step back and appreciate how much work it likely took him to get his ankles and his entire lower half, to this point. Game 4 was actually the perfect microcosm of that, with how unencumbered his movement was on such a short recovery. And here’s to hoping that remains the same throughout the next two rounds.