Former T-Wolves GM David Kahn refused to be the scapegoat for passing on Steph Curry. And despite the fact he did it twice -- Minnesota had the No.5 and No.6 picks in the 2009 NBA Draft -- every other team, excluding the Thunder, that allowed the Warriors to take Steph at No.7, is a part of one of the biggest Draft blunders in recent NBA history. But what if...?
What-if game with Steph Curry
What if the Clippers drafted Steph over Blaker Griffin first overall? What if, instead of taking a huge risk with Hasheem Thabeet at No.2, the Grizzlies went with point guard out of Davidson? What if the Kings, the epitome of wrong Draft night decisions, got this one right and opted for Curry instead of Tyreke Evans? What if Kahn and the Timberwolves were in need of a point guard and had two lottery picks? Oh, wait.
All of these questions derive from one, ultimate Steph Curry what-if -- what if he had gone anywhere but the Golden State Warriors? Would we be talking about him as the greatest shooter ever and one of the best players we've ever seen? JJ Redick gave his take on it.
"He still would be great, he still would be a superstar," Redick said. "Again, I think to a degree, and this is not a knock on Steph, but putting a system in place that allows him to play to all of his strengths and gives him the freedom, because what makes Steph so great to me is his headspace and the freedom to take the shots that he takes to play the way that he plays, there's gotta be the right system for him to do that."
I'm not saying he's a system player, I'm saying his greatness is unleashed to this degree to a, I'm not saying he's Mount Rushmore, but he's certainly in the conversation for the top 12 to 15 players of all time.
JJ Redick, The Old Man and The Three
The Warriors made Curry
Coming into the NBA, the biggest questions about Curry were his position in the NBA -- scouts saw him as "a shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body" -- lack of athleticism and playstyle overly reliant on the three-point shot. So what did Steve Kerr and the Warriors do? They introduced a positionless brand of basketball, turning Curry into an-all time great off-ball player, allowing him to shoot as many threes as possible.
As a result, Steph grew into the greatest shooter ever while becoming a centerpiece of one of the greatest organizations in recent NBA history. Steve Kerr, along with the entire Warriors front office, deserves a lot of credit for it. But it was Curry's God-given talent and decades-long work that allowed him to capitalize on the environment the organization had put him in.
"Does he reach that level without being in a system build around him?" Redick said. "I don't know. We saw before this system was put in place, of course, he's an All-Star, of course, he's an All-NBA caliber player. But that's a great what-if."
Would Steph have been as great playing with a different organization? Probably not, or it would at least take him longer to get to that level on the individual scale. But would the Warriors have become an all-time great NBA dynasty without No.30 as their main guy? No.
All I can say is, thank God it's all alternate history at this point. And thank God for the David Kahns of the world. Passing on Steph Curry, although being one of the biggest Draft mistakes ever, allowed us to witness one of the greatest player-organization dynamics ever. And there's still a lot more to see. That's the only thing that matters.