Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors is becoming more and more visible, on and off the court. The former MVP and two-time NBA champion is clearly one of the top five NBA players. But did you know that a very high majority of NBA scouts never thought the Davidson College standout would even make it in the league? It did not take long for Curry to prove the scouts wrong after he was drafted in 2009.
I read some old draft previews and a majority of them spoke of him having a questionable shot and a frail body. Hardly the previews the likes of his peers at the time, names like Lebron James, Kevin Durant etc. Everyone knew they would succeed at the highest level.
At best, it was thought the best Curry would be was a valuable player off the bench. Reading the 2009 predictions and quotes by NBA experts seems ludicrous now.
The biggest knock on Curry was that he was a shooting guard trapped in a point guard’s body. That was fair, too, considering Curry didn’t make the transition to point guard until he was a junior in college. You could not blame Davidson coach Bob McKillop for playing Curry at shooting guard. After all, the “frail” shooting guard averaged just under 24 points a game in his first two years at Davidson.
The scouts/experts should have noticed that Curry did play the point his final season at Davidson and was successful. His scoring increased to nearly 29 points a game while doubling his assist total. The NBA.com draft profile back in 2009 said that Curry was “not a natural point guard that an NBA team can rely on to run a team.”
ESPN’s draft specialist Chad Ford said that Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn were the best point guards in the draft that year. Flynn was out of the league a few years later and Rubio has barely made an impact in the league. I am pretty sure Ford has watched Curry be an MVP and win two titles.
What still surprises me is that experts did not take into account that Curry can both create his own shot and shoot from well beyond the three point line. How could they miss these skills and not understand that he commands so much attention from opponents. This makes everyone around him better players. And how could they not see that making his teammates better would also pay off for Curry. He now has more room to show off his soft touch around the basket.
The other knock on Curry was that he lacked the speed, size and athleticism to keep up with opposing point guards.
The scouts also missed on Curry’s work ethic. It is widely reported that Curry has a tireless work ethic and this has led him to improving annually. And it is now known that he has a very high basketball IQ. How did the experts miss this?
So yes, the basketball world missed the mark on Curry coming out of Davidson. He was an exceptional shooter from a young age and he had the skills to be something special. I will admit that there rarely are prospects quite like Curry. Just like there are rarely draftees that create a legacy as one of the best shooters and players in the game before they play a decade in the league. I wonder how many scouts lost jobs when their teams let Curry slip down the 2009 draft.
Stephen Curry is a star now – let that be a lesson!