Friday, June 5, 2009

Knicks should go after Curry, complete a happy marriage


It is very possible that sweet-shooting Stephen Curry could be drafted before the New York Knicks' first-round pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

Missing out on Curry would be a missed opportunity for the Knicks, who choose eighth, because he would be a perfect fit for Mike D'Antoni's system -- and, it shouldn't be ignored, because of what he is saying.

Curry did something Thursday that you don't normally see from players before the draft, and this might be a reason why he's not your normal kid coming out of college early: He said which team he'd prefer playing for, and it wasn't the team considering him with the highest pick.

The former Davidson star said he has received interest from Oklahoma City, which has the No. 3 pick, Washington (fifth) and Minnesota (No. 6).

But he also said this (New York Times): "If I could be picky, yeah, it would be nice to have that kind of setting: Madison Square Garden."

And he wasn't even in New York when he said this. He was actually in Charlotte, in the area where he's lived his entire life, working out for the Charlotte Bobcats.

Curry said he "wouldn't mind" playing in Charlotte, but he was clear in saying that New York is his No. 1 choice.

He should be credited for coming out and saying his preference, especially a full three weeks before the picks are made June 25. Any team who drafts him knows it'll be getting a high-character player, a team guy and a winner -- we can assume that after watching the way Curry carried himself in the national spotlight for over a year at Davidson.

But the preference factor shouldn't be ignored, either. No, Curry isn't another Steve Francis, who demanded a trade from Vancouver -- a beautiful, fun city, by the way -- after being drafted by the Grizzlies. However, I'd have to think he might just practice a little harder, take a few more jump shots each day at practice, if he were in a Knicks uniform.

He'd be happy and dedicated to the team as long as D'Antoni is coach, and the Knicks would be fools not to give the run-and-gun-system-coaching D'Antoni a few more years to turn around the mess created by Isiah Thomas and others.

Finally, he'd be a good fit on the court -- where it matters most. Obviously, he can get up the court quickly, and his quick-release jumper would work perfectly on fast breaks. He'd have no problems getting his shot off every time down the floor or using it to fake defenders and create off the dribble.

He's not the most polished player, of course. His defense needs a lot of work, and he doesn't exactly have an NBA body.

But when was the last time a D'Antoni team was associated with defense? Let's not forget who his star was in Phoenix -- yep, Steve Nash, who continues to be one of the worst defensive players in the league but won back-to-back MVPs and led a handful of Phoenix teams to highly successful seasons.

Curry will never be a Nash. He's more of a shooter, less of a point guard. He'd do better playing off true point guard Chris Duhon and extending defenses with his jump shot.

And he'll get better -- there's no doubt about this. Guided by his 3-point-shooting expert father, Dell Curry, he'll work extremely hard and improve both physically and mentally during his early years in the NBA.

It'd be a risk for the Knicks to trade up to get him, but in a weak draft he might be worth it.

At least they know what he wants -- to be in a Knicks uniform.

That's more than most teams know about potential draftees and their dream jobs.

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