Imagine passing on Steph Curry on your team. The Warriors can’t, and they’ll never have to.
To this day, former Golden State head coach Don Nelson still can’t believe they were able to grab the future two-time NBA MVP in the 2009 NBA Draft.
"I think it was one in a million," Nelson said in a phone interview with ESPN's Nick Friedell recently, "that somebody else didn't see his skill level ahead of us. I forgot where we got him, five was it?"
Steph actually was the No. 7 pick that year. The Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Sacramento Kings and the Minnesota Timberwolves (twice), all skipped out on Curry.
Blake Griffin was the first overall pick that year and James Harden went third to the Thunder. While Curry still would go No. 1 in a redraft today, both of those players have had Hall of Fame-level careers.
But the Grizzlies (Hasheem Thabeet), Kings (Tyreke Evans) and Wolves (Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn) all passed on Curry for non-star players.
"Seven!" Nelson exclaimed. "Oh, my goodness. [Six] picks go ahead of him? It was one in a million -- because there were so many point guards taken ahead of him. It was incredible. I guess people didn't see him as a point guard, but I sure did."
Nelson, who coached the Warriors for 11 seasons, laughed when he reminisced on how he was able to land Steph, and detailed what he remembered about the young kid coming out of Davidson College.
"I was marveling at his skill from shooting and passing and ballhandling," Nelson said. "I just thought he was a star. I never dreamed we were going to be able to get him. Minnesota had to draft like three point guards ahead of us -- unbelievable. None of them could hold his jock."
Three NBA championships and countless awards and honors later, Steph’s jock still remains unheld. Nelson knew Steph was special, maybe an All-Star point guard, sure, but a two-time MVP? Even he couldn't have envisioned that.
Either way, the rest is history, and Nelson, Steph and all of Dub Nation are very thankful. And many are very happy he didn’t end up going to the New York Knicks after all.