Here’s a fun what-if.
On Monday, Stephen Curry was officially named the NBA’s 2014-15 Most Valuable Player. He’s the face of the Golden State Warriors, arguably already the best shooter in NBA history, and the leader of a 67-win team that looks like the favorites to win the title. But before he was drafted seventh overall by Golden State in 2009, his agent, Jeff Austin, and father, former NBA player Dell Curry, actively tried to stop the Warriors from drafting him. They wanted him to go to the Knicks, who held the eighth pick in the draft.
From Yahoo’s Marc Spears:
Riley also liked that Curry was the son of a successful and respected ex-NBA player. Riley sold then-Warriors coach Don Nelson on Curry as well. Austin and Dell Curry still tried to keep the Warriors away from Stephen Curry. But Austin told then-Knicks president Donnie Walsh that unless they could trade up, he expected Golden State to draft Curry. Austin said Walsh didn’t believe him because the Warriors already had guard Monta Ellis.
“I said, ‘Larry, I like you a lot and respect you a lot, but don’t take Steph. This is not the right place for him,’ ” Austin said. “We wanted him in New York.”
Said Riley: “Dell was the same way. He was almost cold.”
Even after the draft, there was some confusion around where Curry would be playing. The Warriors had a deal in place with the Suns for Amar’e Stoudemire that centered around their lottery pick, but they backed out when Curry unexpectedly fell to them.
As great as the Warriors are now, and as perfect a fit as Curry is for that culture and city, it’s easy to see why he didn’t want to be there in the beginning. The Warriors, until three years ago, had been mostly a joke of an organization, and there were serious questions about whether he could play with fellow ball-dominant guard Monta Ellis.
Let’s just say, things worked out OK for Curry and the Warriors after that.