Curry knows what he wants – to be a Knick
Posted: Thursday, May. 28, 2009
Half the journey to getting what you want is knowing what you want. That means Stephen Curry, yet to do a draft workout, is already in the homestretch.
Curry's first audition will be with the hometown Charlotte Bobcats, but his first choice – he said this a half-dozen times Thursday – is to be a New York Knick.
The easy response would be to go off on a be-careful-what-you-wish-for rant. How many pro athletes has New York chewed, swallowed and belched?
But sitting there, in a group interview with Curry at the NBA draft combine, I was convinced the skinny kid from Davidson knows precisely what New York is, and he's ready for it. The Knicks hold the eighth pick in the June25 draft. Curry believes what he is – a scoring point guard – is what they need, and he's all but shouting his desire to go there.
He loves coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo, Euro-style offense. He'd love to be chosen eighth (about as high as he could realistically expect). And he embraces what basketball in New York entails.
“New York is the most ideal situation right now,'' Curry said. “To play in the (Madison Square) Garden 41 games a season? That's a legacy. How can you beat it?''
I've been hanging around NBA pre-draft camps for 20 years. The interviews all blend together. Players typically come in two flavors – the nervous and coy (their agents telling them not to screw anything up with the wrong remark) and the recklessly <snip>y. Curry was neither.
The kid is confident in a way that places those around him at ease. He isn't trying to convince himself or others how good he is. He doesn't need to; it comes naturally.
We asked him Thursday about the training he's been doing in Washington, D.C. He said the misconception is that he's preparing for the draft, and not what will follow that draft. It was like hearing a student interpret the difference between cramming for a test and absorbing the class material.
“I'm prepping for all next year,'' Curry explained. “I'm working out to be in better condition, to strengthen up and improve my ballhandling.
“I have my sights set on playing right away and contributing.''
I might be the last sportswriter at the Observer – certainly the last one who covers basketball – to spend real time around Steph. I've known his parents for most of his life. Dell, a former NBA player, and his wife Sonya raised their kids right – to be respectful and courteous, but also confident and tough.
Steph prefers that he did it at Davidson, accomplishing the same things he would have at a North Carolina or Duke without dumping the school he originally chose.
“We played the best non-conference schedule and that gave me the chance to showcase everything I could do,'' he explained. “I never thought about transferring.''
He did turn pro early, and it's natural to wonder if a skinny, 6-foot-3 kid from the little school on the lake is ready for the big, bad NBA.
I wondered, as he left that interview Thursday, if the big, bad NBA is quite ready for Steph Curry.