What NBA would note like had Clippers drafted Steph No. 1 – NBCSports.com

Stephen Curry left his Recent York hotel room 11 years ago and headed to Madison Square Garden for the NBA draft with an unsure feeling.

“I honest formally got butterflies,” Curry said on the time. “I’m out of my ingredient now.”

In 2009, Curry — a 6-foot-3 guard from Davidson College in North Carolina — was the draft’s supreme conundrum. A sharpshooting combo guard from a minute school that now not many folks had ever heard of, in a league now not ready for the revolution he would lead within the final decade to cease. Hours later, he’d note as six names, including four guards, went before his.

In hindsight, Curry’s wait don’t had been goodbye.

Three titles, two league MVPs and a Hall of Fame-caliber urge later, it begs the quiz: How would the NBA panorama like modified if Curry, now not Oklahoma gargantuan man Blake Griffin, had been the No. 1 total decide on in that draft?

A yr earlier, Curry determined to cease aid to Davidson with that aim in mind. As a sophomore, he had averaged 25.9 points, taking pictures 48.3 p.c from the realm, and helped the Wildcats attain the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. He returned for his junior season, desirous to present an clarification for he is incessantly a lead guard.

A yr later, Curry improved, bumping his scoring sensible to 28 points per sport. Amassed, he wasn’t in a location to play his potential into being a top-3 decide on, and Griffin remained the head different.

That summer evening in Recent York, Curry was reminded how a long way he had fallen. He put his head in fingers when Griffin was picked No. 1 by the Los Angeles Clippers, as expected. Curry took a deep breath when the Grizzlies chosen 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet No. 2. He softly clapped when the Convey chosen James Harden — who was seated a table over.

The Kings took Tyreke Evans at No. 4, and the Timberwolves famously took Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn — every level guards — at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively. Curry sooner or later put his fingers in prayer when the Warriors picked him No. 7.

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However had hindsight prevailed, Curry may possibly possibly per chance per chance be a Clipper, rising from college basketball’s unknown to the NBA’s dark sheep.

On the courtroom, Los Angeles’ “other group” was a catastrophe. Its perfect player, Zach Randolph, was months a long way off from being traded to the Grizzlies. Extinct Warriors level guard Baron Davis had failed to take a look at his Golden Direct magic in his fatherland.

Worse yet, group owner Donald Sterling had been sued a number of situations for housing discrimination. Four years after Curry was drafted, tapes of Sterling making racist feedback surfaced, forcing his dismissal from the league.

Toxic employer aside, assuming Curry’s early occupation ankle complications endured, questions would’ve remained about his prolonged-duration of time viability. As Curry reconciled his future, Hornets guard Chris Paul was plotting a direction out of Recent Orleans in 2011, preferring a trade to the Orlando Magic, Recent York Knicks or the Los Angeles Lakers.

Six months after Paul’s trade quiz, NBA commissioner David Stern — performing as an owner of the Hornets — vetoed a deal that may possibly possibly per chance’ve sent the guard to the Lakers, selecting a trade with the Clippers in trade for Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and a first-spherical draft decide on.

Had Curry been a Clipper on the time, he presumably may possibly possibly per chance per chance be within the deal, providing him an opportunity to revitalize his occupation alongside the banks of the Mississippi River. A yr later, assuming the Hornets quiet would prefer carried out with the league’s 2nd-worst memoir, they’d’ve chosen Kentucky gargantuan man Anthony Davis, pairing a future MVP with an All-NBA power forward.

Or, if Stern let the Hornets trade Paul to the Lakers, can even it like birthed an inter-city rivalry between Curry and the mighty Lakers? With Kobe Bryant, and most likely Dwight Howard, potentially now not.

The Clippers drafting Curry would’ve intended no Warriors-LeBron James rivalry. In 2009, James quiet was with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a yr a long way off from his departure to South Seaside. Without Curry, Golden Direct is now not a league-shifting group, which suggests no NBA titles, no 73-decide on season, no gentle-years and potentially no Kevin Durant in free company. James’ supreme rival would now not exist, which suggests he’d like a higher chance of chasing Michael Jordan’s six NBA titles.

The “what ifs” lengthen to the draft table. If Curry goes No. 1, does Griffin stagger No. 2 to Memphis? If that is the case, Grit and Grind does now not happen with Randolph aid in LA. Or, is Griffin picked No. 2 by his fatherland Convey?

[RELATED: Curry wanted Knicks to draft him]

Curry and Griffin’s situation within the 2009 draft was an indictment on the league’s thinking on the time. Over decades, from George Mikan to Wilt, to Kareem to Shaq and Hakeem, you built groups around gargantuan men, complimenting them with shooters. To his credit score, Griffin was a pillar for the Clippers, serving to lead them to the NBA playoffs six situations alongside Paul. However Curry represented the league’s future, a walking, taking pictures revolution who modified the potential offense is played regularly.

However at that 2nd in Recent York, it wasn’t viewed, and Curry punished the league for the the relaxation of his occupation on memoir of the oversight.

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