Longtime NBA head coach Mike D'Antoni divulged Tuesday that he badly wanted to select Stephen Curry in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft when he was the head coach of the New York Knicks.
Appearing on the Old Man & The Three podcast with former NBA guard JJ Redick and Tommy Alter (starting at the 54:30 mark), D'Antoni was asked which player he wished he had the opportunity to coach in the NBA, and he made it clear that Steph was at the top of his list.
D'Antoni thought back to the 2009 NBA draft, noting "we wanted [Curry] so bad, I could taste it."
The Knicks owned the No. 8 overall selection in 2009, but Curry went one pick ahead of them at No. 7 to the Golden State Warriors. New York had to settle for Arizona forward Jordan Hill, who averaged 7.9 points and 5.8 rebounds in 409 career regular-season games.
Meanwhile, Curry has established himself as one of the greatest players in NBA history with eight All-Star selections, three championships, two scoring titles and two NBA MVP awards in 13 seasons.
Curry is also the greatest three-point shooter in NBA history, making a record 3,117 three-point field goals during his illustrious career.
Given D'Antoni's penchant for coaching an uptempo, high-volume offensive style, he and Curry likely would have meshed well.
Adding to the agony of missing out on Curry was D'Antoni's story about how the Knicks had an opportunity to ensure they could select him.
D'Antoni said the Knicks had a deal in place to move up to the No. 5 overall pick, but they would have had to trade a roster player in order to do so.
By D'Antoni's recollection, the front office felt they would land Curry at No. 8 regardless, so they decided against the trade and stood pat, which was a decision that came back to bite them.
While Curry helped lead the Warriors to five straight NBA Finals, the Knicks have reached the playoffs just four times since Curry entered the league and have only one playoff series win to their credit during that stretch.