What would the New York Knicks franchise look like if Stephen Curry had fallen to them in the 2009 draft?
The Knicks were one pick away from nabbing Stephen Curry in the 2009 draft and instead, they landed Jordan Hill from Arizona. Curry is a four-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA, two-time MVP, and two-time NBA champion. The Knicks traded Hill to the Rockets during his rookie season and he is no longer in the league.
Had the Warriors passed on the Davidson product, the Knicks would have surely drafted Curry. According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, Curry and his camp were hoping that the Warriors would pass on him and allow him to fall to New York with the eighth pick. But alas, Golden State took the gifted shooter with the slight frame, famous father, and the course of the NBA would change forever.
But what if Golden State didn’t take Curry? What if they had passed on him just like the five teams ahead of them in the draft. It’s five teams, not six because the Timberwolves had the fifth and sixth picks in the draft. The Timberwolves took two point guards in the two picks before the Warriors took Curry. Curry will have a better career than Ricky Rubio and, *ahem* Jonny Flynn.
Minnesota misery aside, how would an alternate universe with Stephen Curry in a Knicks uniform look? Two championships, a couple MVPs, and years of dominance still ahead? Not quite. It’s impossible to say if Curry would have developed into the same MVP-caliber player he is right now, but it’s not crazy to think that he would have at least been close to it in New York. For one thing, Curry really does love to play in Madison Square Garden.
He is the best shooter in the history of the NBA. Yes, you read that correctly. Sorry Reggie Miller and Ray Allen, but Curry is hands-down the best shooter in the history of basketball. He is on pace to absolutely obliterate Ray Allen’s record of 2,973 career three-pointers. Steph is already eighth on the all-time list and will break the record in the next two to three seasons barring injury. It is safe to say that Curry would be one of the premier shooters and overall offensive talents in the league regardless of where he played.
So what was going on with the Knicks when Curry came into the league? In Curry’s rookie season the Knicks led by current Rockets head coach, Mike D’Antoni. They were a bit of a dumpster fire. They finished in the bottom third of the league with a 29-53 record. But Mike D’Antoni’s relatively fast-paced offense would have been an ideal fit for Curry’s game.
And help was on the way. Amar’e Stoudemire was not scared away by the Knicks woeful record, so it’s safe to say that Curry’s presence on the team would have done little to dissuade him from signing in New York. Stoudemire excelled in D’Antoni’s system. He and Curry would have made a lethal combination in the pick and roll.
It’s easy to forget about Stoudemire’s early MVP campaign with the Knicks in 2010-2011 because that was the year that the Knicks traded everything but the kitchen sink to acquire Carmelo Anthony. But would the Knicks have made the trade for Carmelo if they had Stephen Curry running the show? It’s possible that Stoudemire’s emergence as an MVP candidate and Steph’s potential upside would have been enough to keep the Knicks from pulling the trigger on the trade that changed the course of the franchise.
On the other hand, the Knicks could have made a similar deal for Melo that included Curry as part of the package. The Knicks were desperate to acquire Anthony at the time, and there’s a good chance that the organization would have caved and included Curry. Trading away one of the best players of all time before he reached his full potential is infinitely worse than missing a player in the draft because he was taken one slot prior to your pick.
In the end, it’s all speculation. Had the Warriors passed on the future Hall of Famer, there’s a chance that Curry would develop into the player he is today and lead the Knicks to an NBA championship. But there is also a chance that nothing would have changed and the Knicks might have included Curry in the mega-deal.
Trying to figure out how things would be different is similar to a choose your own adventure novel. You can either choose a path that leads to glory and NBA dominance or choose the path that leads to increased suffering for Knicks fans. The only thing we can definitively say is at least they didn’t take Jonny Flynn over Stephen Curry.