Steph Curry

Stephen A. believes Steph's career changes if Knicks had drafted him

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Had Steph Curry been drafted by the New York Knicks, not the Warriors, in the 2009 NBA Draft, how different would his career have been?

Golden State selected Curry with the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, one spot ahead of New York, where Curry's father, Dell, wanted his son to play.

After the elder Curry said on the father-son duo's new "Heat Check" podcast series that he urged the Warriors not to draft his son, with the hope of Steph landing in New York, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith -- a lifelong Knicks fan -- was asked by host Molly Qerim on Tuesday's episode of "First Take" how the 36-year-old's NBA career would have changed had he been drafted by the Knicks.

"First of all, this very subject pains me," Smith said. "As exhausted as I am, the last thing I needed added to my life was depression ... Which is why I have to say this: Steph Curry would not have had the career that he has had if he were in New York City for one reason and one reason only. James Dolan is no Joe Lacob. Period ...

"Because he spent so much time paying attention to headlines and to outside noise instead of leaving the basketball people to run basketball. It wasn't until recently that James Dolan has taken on a new leaf in some people's eyes. Prior to this, he was just a bad apple in the organization and he's the head of the snake as they say. And I think he would have gotten in the way of the progress of a Steph Curry prematurely and it wouldn't have gotten to this point."

Dolan has developed a complicated reputation since taking over as Knicks owner in 1999, and Smith believes the Madison Square Garden Sports Company CEO would have found a way to disrupt Curry's NBA trajectory had the Davidson point guard been drafted by New York in 2009.

Fortunately for Curry -- and the Warriors -- that reality never came to fruition.

Knicks fans, as well as the five teams who actually passed on Curry before the Warriors drafted him, are left wondering what could have been.

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