What if the Knicks drafted Stephen Curry?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
David Vertsberger
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Steph Curry Knicks jersey swap
Steph Curry Knicks jersey swap

The Golden State Warriors come into town Tuesday night, led by Stephen Curry, who’s playing the best basketball of maybe his career, at least since his last MVP season. He’s currently putting up 29.9 points per game, shooting 42.3% from deep on a career-high 11.9 attempts a night.

He and his teammates get to be the first to experience Madison Square Garden populated by fans since last year’s stoppage due to the pandemic. While Knicks faithful are primed to cheer on their surprise playoff contender, there’s always that bit of “what could have been” going around whenever Curry steps into the building.

The Warriors selected Curry a pick ahead of the Knicks, despite his work to end up in New York. At the time, they employed Mike D’Antoni as head coach, who combined with Steve Nash to create an all-time great offense and yearly Western Conference contender. The rebuild was on the way for a franchise that lacked consistent point guard play, and Curry was going to propel that rebuild forward.

So what might have happened if the Knicks actually got to draft him?

Curry was a phenomenal rookie, putting up 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game on 46/44/88 shooting clips for a 26-win Warriors team. He’d be playing with about the same level of talent on the 2010 Knicks, though D’Antoni likely would have had him shooting over five threes per game. The real questions are off the court, as the Knicks made two large trades over the span of a year that Curry could have been involved in.

The first was a February 2010 deal to acquire Tracy McGrady and Sergio Rodriguez, trading Jordan Hill, the rookie selected after Curry. This was in order to create enough cap space in that vaunted LeBron James-headlined offseason to sign two max contracts, a goal they surely would not abandon simply for Curry. However, there were likely other avenues of clearing space, in which case they could pursue star free agents while retaining their stud point guard.

The second deal, a year later, was for Carmelo Anthony. New York shipped most of its young core: Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov, but it’s possible they could have held firm on Curry and traded that same package in this universe. If the Nuggets demanded Curry, there’s also a chance the Knicks keep some of their other youngsters and do whatever it takes to secure Anthony.

At this point the Knicks would have half a season of sophomore Curry with Amar’e Stoudemire, undoubtedly a dangerous and captivating duo, so that glimpse of his potential would make it tougher to deal him. This is easily the biggest question revolving Curry’s alternate timeline with the Knicks, with the second being his injuries.

Ankle troubles marred Curry’s third season, only playing 26 games and throwing his future in limbo. His first extension was way under his peers’ numbers and it took a heavy effort from Golden State’s medical staff to get him healthy going forward. How this would play out in New York affects the entire hypothetical.

If Curry has injury issues earlier in his career, such as years one or two, maybe he goes in the McGrady or Anthony trades. Does it keep Curry from effectively forming a superteam with Anthony? If the Knicks can’t pull off what the Warriors did, he likely doesn’t end up an MVP-level player.

Then, of course, there’s the reality where Curry and Anthony create a higher sustained level of winning than the actual Melo-era. These two offensive juggernauts, along with Tyson Chandler, give the LeBron-led Heat real fits.

It’s a nice thought, but unfortunately things played out differently. The Knicks’ future belongs to Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Immanuel Quickley, and they can build on it against the ghost of Knicks hopes past on Tuesday.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Golden State
+475+11O 221.5
Phoenix
-667-11U 221.5