All hail to Iggy and the Champs

CLEVELAND — Welcome to Balls, championship hangover edition…

Statistically, there has never been a worse Most Valuable Player than the Warriors’ Andre Iguodala in NBA Finals history.

Yet there may never have been a more fitting one at the same time. Because after coach Steve Kerr pulled starter Andrew Bogut in favor of Iguodala in the final three games, the series took a serious turn. The Warriors never lost another game.

And doesn’t that pretty much say it all about the Champs, whose whole was even greater than its many selfless parts?
“I’m not surprised, but I would have bet on Steph [Curry],” said Iguodala, who toasted the Cleveland Cavaliers for 25 points in the series clincher, four more than he scored in any regular-season game. “I would have bet on Draymond [Green]. … I was just happy for winning the ring. I didn’t care about anything else. This is just a plus.”

Iguodala averaged 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, hardly MVP-worthy numbers at face value. Yet no player on either team was more consistent in both phases of the game.

At the defensive end, Iguodala gave LeBron James all he could handle. But it was his ability to consistently hit shots that came as something of a surprise and put him over the top. Well, every shot except the one at the free throw line, anyway.

“I couldn’t sleep because I just kept thinking about the game and what do I need to do to win, how to guard LeBron,” Iguodala said of his career moment, “That’s what makes him arguably the best player in the world right now, because you have to put so much effort in, not trying to stop him but trying to contain him. Because you really can’t stop him.”

JUST ASKIN’: So if Kerr had started Iguodala all season, would his team have won, say, 100 games instead of only 83?

LET THIS SINK IN: How crazy is it that a team that wasn’t supposed to win its division piles up more victories than all but two teams in pro hoops history?

“We’ll be able to appreciate that whole journey a lot more now, be able to reflect,” Curry said. “We definitely are a great team, and a team that should go down in history as one of the best teams from top to bottom. We have a lot of things to be proud of this season.”

LOST KINGDOM: One could almost feel sorry for James, who took two of the sorriest supporting casts ever to the NBA Finals only to come up short both times.

“That team across the way, you tip your hats to them,” said James, who averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game. “I cannot remember a team like them being healthy all year for the most part. All the guys, I mean, they did a great job. Guys being heathy, guys playing their system, and it showed in these Finals.”

THE FINAL DAILY J.R.: After 23 quarters and two overtime periods of incredibly bad basketball, the Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith decided to show up when the series was practically over.

“I don’t even want to talk about my play during the Finals,” said Smith, who scored 15 points in the final period of the final game. “I’ll spend countless days over the summer getting ready for next year, thinking about it. That will be my motivation.”

If the Warriors want to be fair about this, they’ll give Smith a half-share of their Finals money.

WAIT ’TIL NEXT YEAR: The people who were most disappointed by the outcome were those who had tickets for Game 7 at Oracle Arena.

TiqIQ told Balls that the average ticket price for the final game was $2,500.69 on the secondary market.
The most expensive ticket was listed at $129,000 (six figures, one comma) for a courtside seat, which should have been next to Kerr on the bench at that price.

THE LIST: Final fun facts about the 2015 Finals:

– Andre Iguodala came off the bench in his first 95 games of the season before he started one.
– The Warriors joined the 1990-91 Chicago Bulls as the only teams to win it all without a player that had Finals experience.
– LeBron James had three games of 40-plus points, one short of Jerry West (1969) for the Finals record.
– Ognjen Kuzmic and James Michael McAdoo became the first players to be on the final rosters of Developmental League and NBA championship teams in the same season.
– Cleveland extended its streak to 51 years without a major sports championship, because the Browns and the Indians sure as heck won’t end it in the next few months.

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE… 2014-15 NBA season?

Niners face Seahawks in key game with postseason implications

The stretch drive is here and the Niners look ready

What we learned from Warriors loss to the Suns

It’s hard to ignore how good Phoenix looked against Golden State