Another week and another slight against the New York Knicks: First, it was Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel who criticized New York and head coach Mike Woodson for not having an “intelligent” game plan against Roy Hibbert during their second-round playoff series.
Though Curry made his comments out of his gratitude for being a member of the Warriors, his comment begs the question “What If?” In fact, it would not be out of the realm of possibility that, if Curry slipped one more spot down to the Knicks in that 2009 draft, we’d have a much different looking organization in New York.
In the 2009 draft, the Knicks went with size by drafting 6-foot-10 center Jordan Hill with its eighth pick, after Golden State selected Curry at No. 7. Hill didn’t last a full season with the Knicks. In February 2010, he was sent packing to the Houston Rockets in a three-team, eight-player deal that yielded the declining Tracy McGrady. New York wanted McGrady’s $23 million expiring contract.
That trade cemented the future direction for the Knicks; it created the cap room for New York to go after LeBron James. Yet, we all know what happened that dreadful summer. James joined the Miami Heat, along with Wade and Bosh. The Knicks got its consolation prize in Stoudemire, who they signed for five-years at nearly $100 million.
What’s more, the 2009 draft showed that the difference between All-Star and journeyman consists of just one draft slot. Curry, who has a career scoring average of 19.2 points per game, is his franchise’s centerpiece and the NBA‘s next emerging star.
Hill, who has averaged 5.6 points per game, is on his third NBA club. He could be playing for a fourth by the time he becomes an unrestricted free agent next year.
If the Knicks had the opportunity to draft Curry, it would have had a guard who would have undoubtedly had the goods to win starter’s minutes against Chris Duhon and Nate Robinson, the other point guards on the roster at that time.
After establishing himself as the starter, the Knicks would have probably signed only one free agent instead of the two they wanted. While Stoudemire would have been a likely option, the deal for Carmelo Anthony would have probably never materialized.
Sure, Stoudemire is on the downside of his career and his knee injuries have robbed him of his athleticism, but if the Knicks drafted Curry, they would have probably signed complementary players and not a high priced one like Anthony.
Four years later, the Stoudemire deal and the one for Anthony hamstrings this club from making any significant moves to improve. While it is debatable whether they would be better off with Curry, they would have had a healthier cap situation at the very least.
On February 27 of this year, the Knicks and their fans got a glimpse of this possibility when Curry dropped 54 points at Madison Square Garden in a loss. Curry shot 18 of 28 from the field and hit 11 of 13 from 3-point range (!). Anthony had a good night too, but he scored 35 points on a less efficient 10 of 26 shots while hitting just 2 of 7 from beyond the arc.
That game made Knicks fans wonder what could’ve been. Curry’s comment only exacerbated this feeling. While Anthony’s Knicks and Curry’s Warriors were both eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, New York’s future is the dimmer of the two clubs.
The Warriors have a fresh-faced star and a bevy of young players who will only improve, barring injury. The Knicks are led by a core group of players who are approaching the downside of their careers or who have been greatly diminished by age.
But alas, it was all just a bunch of ‘what-ifs’. And besides, there’s no such thing as a time machine, one that could zoom Knicks fans back to 2009.
But what if one existed? And what if the Warriors passed?
Tacuma R. Roeback is a New York Knicks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TacumaRoe, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+