Last night, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors dropped 54 points on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. While the Knicks came away victorious, there were times when Garden fans were cheering Curry before he attempted each shot. And deservedly so, he shot 18-28 from the field and a gaudy 11-13 from beyond the arc, singlehandedly keeping the Warriors in the game.
Back in 2009, when the Knicks had the eighth overall pick in the NBA draft, they had their eyes set on the 6′ 3 point guard out of Davidson–and Curry was projected eighth in most mock drafts. The 2009 draft was full of point guards; Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, Jonny Flynn and even combo guard James Harden all were taken ahead of Curry.
Curry was taken seventh overall by the Golden State Warriors and the Knicks were devastated, but Knicks fans knew there were several other point guards who would be able to fill the Knicks void at point guard and were still available with the eighth pick.
When David Stern stepped to the podium to announce the Knicks selection, many presumed point guard Brandon Jennings name would be called. Or at least one of the many other point guards. But the Knicks selected a 6′ 10″ power forward out of Arizona named Jordan Hill–to the surprise of many. Since Hill came into the league, he has played for three teams and has only averaged 14.7 minutes per game. He has career averages of 5.6 points per game , 4.5 rebounds per game and 0.6 blocks per game. Hill was traded 24 games into his Knicks career for Tracy McGrady–who is now retired.
Here are three players the Knicks passed up on in that draft that could have made Stephen Curry’s epic game last night a little less painful:
Brandon Jennings is one of the best scoring guards in the game. He isn’t the best passer, but he would have excited Knicks fans with his flashy style of play and would have also attracted other talent around the league to join him in New York. It’s likely he would have been traded by now, for the Knicks have recently overhauled their roster (no current Knick was on the 2009 roster). However, they could have gotten a lot more in return for Jennings via trade than they did Jordan Hill, to say the least. Here are Jennings career stats.
Ty Lawson was considered a work in progress when the Nuggets took him 18th overall out of North Carolina, but he has blossomed into one of the finest NBA point guards in the game. Lawson is continuing to improve each season and is a traditional point guard who focuses more on getting teammates involved than looking for his own shot. He is certainly a player the Knicks would have wanted to hold onto as they’ve transitioned into a formidable team over the past few years. Here are Lawson’s career stats.
Holiday was drafted 17th out of UCLA and few expected him to become the elite player he has turned into this season with the Philadelphia 76ers. He showed a lot of potential in his college days; a rare talent combining both freak athleticism and scoring prowess with great vision and passing ability. Holiday was an All-Star this season, and it’s rarely mentioned how low he was selected in 2009. For a lot of teams, not just the Knicks, Holiday is a constant regret. Here are Holiday’s career stats.
Since Patrick Ewing retired, the Knicks have made very few sound roster acquisitions. But the 2009 draft was a complete and total bust for the Knicks–one that could have changed the fortunes of the franchise for a long time. The team is playing well this season and positioned for a deep playoff run, but things could have been very different had they not wasted such a valuable draft pick. The Knicks had their eyes set on Curry, and they inexplicably went in the opposite direction when he wasn’t available. It makes sense; because not much of what the Knicks have done in the past 10 years has.