Knicks missed Stephen Curry, and potential Garden historical past, by a single pick

If a Yankees fan desires to know what life might need been like had the Reds drafted Derek Jeter with the fifth pick in 1992, it could not require any nice stretch of his or her creativeness.

Just a telephone name to a Knicks fan who has lived that life ever since Golden State drafted Stephen Curry seventh total in 2009.

You know the Jeter story by now. Nearly everybody within the Reds group wished the Kalamazoo Kid, everybody apart from the person making the choice, Julian Mock, who chosen a school outfielder named Chad Mottola. A cheer went up within the Yankees’ draft room earlier than they took the spindly highschool shortstop with the following pick.

Four months earlier than Jeter received his fifth and remaining World Series title, the Knicks have been dying to draft Curry. Everyone within the prospect’s camp, together with his household and his school coach at Davidson, Bob McKillop, wished Curry in New York. They wanted a Julian Mock within the Warriors’ group to let the sweet-shooting guard slide from the seventh slot to the eighth, and in fact there wasn’t any to be discovered.

The Knicks have received eight postseason video games since that night time, whereas the Warriors have received 97 — the identical variety of factors the Knicks’ choice at No. 8, Jordan Hill, scored for the franchise earlier than being dealt in the course of his rookie year. Those are numbers price recalling as Curry’s Warriors are favored Thursday night time to eradicate Dallas and make their sixth journey to the NBA Finals for a shot at their fourth championship.

Stephen Curry drives to the basket against the Mavericks during the second quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.
Stephen Curry drives to the basket towards the Mavericks in the course of the second quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.
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“As a New Yorker who thought the Garden was the mecca,” stated McKillop, a son of Queens and Long Island, of Chaminade High and Hofstra, “of course I would have loved to see Stephen play for the Knicks. But let me tell you, he used that Golden State platform to become a global icon. It’s been the greatest marriage you can find. It’s like Mantle and the Yankees. It’s like Jeter and the Yankees.”

Almost precisely like Jeter and the Yankees.

Much like The Captain was in The Bronx, Curry shouldn’t be essentially the most bodily gifted participant in his sport. But by willpower, intuition and a fearless strategy to his craft, he made himself an all-time nice, and the one man to ever sink a minimum of 3,000 3-pointers.

Curry wasn’t speculated to be this sort of participant, not even shut, regardless of his father Dell’s distinguished 16-year NBA career. The main school heavyweights handed on him, and for good purpose.

Steph Curry at Davidson in 2008.
Steph Curry at Davidson in 2008.
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“Stephen looked very boyish, very baby-ish, very frail,” McKillop informed The Post. “The uniforms back then were free-flowing, and his was draped on him. It looked like he was wearing his father’s uniform.”

McKillop watched Curry play dreadfully in a Las Vegas highschool event, but got here away impressed by the best way he inspired teammates, listened to coaches and confirmed respect to referees. Knicks legend Dick McGuire confirmed up at Davidson early in Curry’s career and informed McKillop, “This guy is going to be a pro, and he’s going to be a star.” In his remaining school season, Curry overcame a poor capturing night time within the closing minutes with a flurry of baskets that beat West Virginia within the Jimmy V Classic.

“I saw the way Stephen captivated the Garden crowd that night,” McKillop recalled. “It was a defining moment for him because the New York fans oohed and aahed after every shot he took. I was reminded of that when he broke the 3-point record this past season, with the Garden crowd anticipating it as soon as he touched the ball. That love affair goes back to his college days.”

Yes, that love affair. The Garden stood and roared for Curry when he broke Ray Allen’s all-time file, despite the fact that he did it towards the Knicks, not for them.

“He’s a Broadway star, and the Garden loves Broadway stars,” McKillop stated. “Whether it’s the Garden or Carnegie Hall, the New York fan gravitates toward greatness and has a way of applauding it. I say that as a proud New Yorker, and there’s just greatness in Steph.”

It’s not simply discovered within the 3-point shot. It’s in his dribble, his stop-and-starts, his reducing off screens, his passes, his finishes across the rim. Curry received a championship earlier than his two with Kevin Durant and now has a probability to win one other with out him.

“B.D. and A.D.,” McKillop stated.

Before Durant and After Durant. Not that Curry must do anything to reinforce his historic standing.

“His legacy is ironclad now,” McKillop stated. “Stephen changed the dimensions of the game and the way it’s played.”

Still at Davidson after 33 years and 634 victories, the 71-year-old McKillop usually texts Curry this pregame message borrowed from one other New York basketball lifer, Kevin Loughery: “If you want to be a great shooter,” McKillop defined, “you’ve got to be willing to sleep in the streets.” Keep capturing on these off nights, in different phrases, with out sweating the implications.

Curry hasn’t had many off nights because the Knicks missed out on him by one awful draft slot. Would he have been the identical celebrity underneath Mike D’Antoni and his MSG successors? Would he have been enticing sufficient to land LeBron James, or to steer Durant to hitch him within the huge metropolis (minus Kyrie Irving) as he joined him in Oakland?

“If he was struggling at Golden State, or got traded, I’d be thinking, ‘Man, what if Steph ended up with the Knicks?’ ” McKillop stated. “But how can you think about that with the career that he’s having? Stephen truly found his home in 2009.”

And Knicks followers have paid the worth ever since.

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