Steph Curry

Dell recalls Steph's tense draft night, honest pleas to Knicks

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The hypothetical Steph Curry-New York Knicks 2009 NBA Draft pairing has been a falsity beaten into the ground.

But how close was it to really happening? Likely too close for comfort in the eyes of Warriors fans.

Steph’s father Dell shockingly revealed that he pushed for his son to be a Knick at No. 8 during some very interesting pre-draft phone conversations with league executives.

Dell explained how it all went down Thursday on the “Heat Check with Stephen and Dell Curry” podcast.

“So draft day, we’re in New York, I get a call from [ex-Warriors coach] Don Nelson,” Dell said. “He says, ‘Dell, you got a problem if we select Steph at No. 7? I said, ‘Yes, I do.’ He’s like, ‘What?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, we want him in New York.’ We talk for five or 10 minutes. He’s like, ‘Well if he’s there, we’re going to take him anyway.’ I’m like,’ It’s your choice. You asked me for my opinion, I gave it to you.’ 

“I’m glad he [picked Steph]. It all worked out.”

Fortunately for the Warriors, Dell’s lobbying did not pay off.

Golden State gladly was able to draft Steph at No. 7 overall, while the Knicks settled for Jordan Hill with the next pick -- the two have had vastly different professional basketball careers. 

Dell’s pleading, however, didn’t stop with the Knicks. He also requested something from the Minnesota Timberwolves, who had the No. 5 and No. 6 picks in 2009.

“I got a call from Minnesota [Timberwolves] as well, asking about drafting [Steph],” Dell added. “I told them, ‘Please don’t. Please don’t.’ It was [ex-Timberwolves assistant coach] J. B. Bickerstaff. They said, ‘OK, we won’t.’

“They didn’t. [They took] two back-to-back point guards.”

Minnesota spent the fifth pick on Ricky Rubio and the sixth on Jonny Flynn. 

Rubio, who retired from his 12-year NBA career during the 2023-24 NBA season, was a crafty passer with elite court vision at his peak. Flynn, meanwhile, averaged a healthy 13.5 points as a rookie, but he would be out of the league after playing in just 163 total games due to a hip injury.

Neither player was anything close to Steph, and Dell's wish was granted.

The Warriors were right in their stubbornness about selecting Curry. No. 30 agrees, as he chimed in on the 2009 draft memories with his father.

“Shout out to [former Warriors general manager] Larry Riley, who saw a vision of what I can be in the league,” Steph said. “Even after [those] conversations, [he] still felt like it was the right decision for him and for the team to pick me.”

The right decision it was, as the Warriors have won four NBA championships with Curry and essentially built Chase Center on the back of his legacy, along with Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and current coach Steve Kerr. 

A parent should always want what’s best for their kid(s). In the case of Dell and Steph, it seems the basketball gods intervened.

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