Stephen Curry wanted to play for the New York Knicks when he came out of Davidson and in the NBA Draft in 2009. Curry was chosen by the Golden State Warriors at No. 7 while Jordan Hill was taken by the Knicks one spot later.
“The Warriors had some questionable characters on their team, the Knicks really needed a point guard, and we felt that Stephen would fit perfectly with a coach like Mike D’Antoni, playing that fast, up-and-down style," Dell Curry said. "He loved the idea of playing at Madison Square Garden.”
Donnie Walsh and Larry Riley, both running the Knicks and Warriors, respectively, at the time, fell in love with Curry's game.
“He’d get the ball in the backcourt, and boom, he was gone,” Walsh said. “It wasn’t just his quickness; he saw everything. I’m sitting there thinking, ‘We’ve got D’Antoni coaching our team, and this kid would fit perfectly.’"
“And you know what?” Riley said. “I walked out that night thinking that he would be a very good N.B.A. player for 10 years. I didn’t worry about what he shot. I knew he could shoot. The reason I really liked him was that he never backed down. Nelly always loved playing small ball. And there was always the thought that if it didn’t work, we could move someone.”
Curry's agent, Jeff Austin, admitted he tried to do whatever he could to get Curry in New York.
“Riley calls me and says, ‘Can I watch a workout?’ ” Austin said. “I said, ‘No, you can’t.’ He says, ‘Can I talk to him?’ I said, ‘No, you can’t.’ I tell him that Stephen wants to be in New York. Stay away from him.
“Larry, to his credit, kept saying, ‘I’m still taking him.’ There was nothing I could do to dissuade him.
“The Knicks, if they were one spot higher, where would they be now? It just shows you that as much time and energy they put into it, the draft is not an exact science. A lot of it is just luck, where you land.”