How much abuse should a professional player be willing to take from a fan?

By March 12, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Stephen Curry 10 years on: The six players drafted before the Warriors star Stephen Curry 10 years on: The six players drafted before the Warriors star

    It seems incredible now that Stephen Curry could have been the seventh pick in any NBA Draft, but that was the case in 2009.

    Ten years on, Curry is a two-time MVP and three-time champion with the Golden State Warriors.

    But on draft night, there were six players picked before him - with the Minnesota Timberwolves somehow selecting two alternative point guards ahead of Curry.

    Such decisions now look foolish as we look at the mixed bag that is the top six picks of the 2009 NBA Draft.

     

    1. Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)

    Griffin may not have lived up to Curry's standards, but he has still enjoyed a strong NBA career that might have been even better had not missed his entire debut season with the Clippers with a knee injury. The power forward returned to be named Rookie of the Year and has since made five All-NBA teams, continuing to star with the Detroit Pistons since a trade last year.

    2. Hasheem Thabeet (Memphis Grizzlies)

    This one definitely did not work out. Center Thabeet was selected by the Grizzlies but failed to impress, leading to a switch to the D-League before he was traded to the Houston Rockets. Further stints followed with the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder, before he was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers and the Pistons. He has not played in the NBA since 2013-14.

     

    3. James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder)

    Harden enjoyed a solid spell as the Thunder's sixth man, before his career took off in Houston. The 29-year-old could now be considered one of the game's modern greats, winning the 2018 MVP award and making five All-NBA First Teams while turning the Rockets into genuine contenders in the West. There have been some mighty tussles with Curry in the past 10 years.

    4. Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings)

    It was Evans who earned the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year award, leading the draft class, but the Kings star failed to build on this excellent first season. Instead, he bounced around the league until last month when the NBA dismissed him for violating its anti-drug programme. Evans will not be able to apply for reinstatement until 2021.

    5. Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves)

    Rubio was not blessed with Curry's shooting talent, but he was considered a reasonable enough selection for the Timberwolves at number five. However, the pick quickly became far from straightforward, with the Spaniard remaining in Europe for a two-year stay with Barcelona before finally joining Minnesota. His NBA career has never really subsequently taken off.

    6. Jonny Flynn (Minnesota Timberwolves)

    Selecting two point guards in succession was one thing, Selecting two point guards and leaving Curry on the board was quite another. How the Timberwolves must now rue this decision. Flynn was in the D-League by 2010, starting just 10 NBA matches after his debut season. He left the NBA in 2012 and has not returned. Oh dear.

  • Stephen Curry 10 years on: An NBA trailblazer in numbers Stephen Curry 10 years on: An NBA trailblazer in numbers

    Few players have had a greater impact on the NBA than Stephen Curry.

    The Golden State Warriors point guard has spearheaded the three-point revolution that teams across the league have adopted following Curry's success.

    It is now the 10th anniversary of the 31-year-old being selected with the seventh pick of what was a historically significant 2009 NBA Draft.

    Here, with the help of Opta, we take a look at the numbers behind Curry's incredible career in the professional ranks.
     

    3.6 - Since the 2009-10 season, Curry has made, on average, 3.6 three-pointers per game - more than anyone else - with the other half of the 'Splash Brothers', Klay Thompson (2.9), second. Damian Lillard (2.7), James Harden (2.6) and Buddy Hield (2.5) round out the top five.

    90.5 - Curry leads all players in free-throw percentage since entering the league having drained 90.5 per cent of his attempts. He is the only man with a percentage greater than 90 per cent.

    131 - In May 2016, Curry made history as the first unanimous MVP. He garnered all 131 first-place votes to win the award for a second successive season.

    73 - Curry's form that season was a large reason why Golden State went 73-9 in 2015-16, breaking the record for regular-season wins set by the Michael Jordan-inspired Chicago Bulls in 1995-96 (72). 

    223 - In his 694 games played, Curry has scored five or more three-pointers in 223 of them. That is 97 more than the next best over the past 10 years (Harden with 126).

    15 - The 31-year-old also has 15 games of 10-plus three-pointers made. Team-mate Thompson has five while JR Smith (two) is the only other man to have done it more than once in that time.

    402 - Curry holds the record for most three-pointers made in a regular season having sunk 402 in 2015-16. Curry has three of the top five spots in this category, having made 354 last year and 324 in 2016-17. Harden, selected four picks ahead of Curry in 2009, is the only other man to have hit over 300 in one campaign (378 in 2018-19).

    43.6 - Just two men have been more efficient from beyond the arc since Curry (43.6 per cent of three-pointers made) entered the league. Kyle Korver (44.5 per cent) leads the way and Seth Curry, Stephen's younger brother, is also ahead of the Warriors guard (43.9 per cent).

    2,483 - Curry is third in the all-time list for three-pointers made with 2,483 in 694 appearances. He trails just Reggie Miller (2,560 from 1,389 games) and Hall of Famer Ray Allen (2,973 from 1,300 games), and Curry has a better percentage than both.

    6 - On six occasions, Curry has put up more than 50 points in a single game. Only Harden (18) can better that figure over the past 10 years.

  • Stephen Curry 10 years on: Warriors pick the perfect script - ex-college coach Stephen Curry 10 years on: Warriors pick the perfect script - ex-college coach

    Bob McKillop was in the green room with Stephen Curry and his family at Madison Square Garden on June 25, 2009 - the night the NBA was transformed.

    Long-time Davidson coach McKillop had been convinced of Curry's brilliance after just two weeks of working with him, later calling him "the face of college basketball" when he declared for the 2009 NBA Draft.

    However, McKillop had no idea back then that Curry would become the face of the NBA too - a player whose shooting was so effective he would alter the way the entire game was played.

    "I never would have expected him to achieve the incredible iconic stature he has achieved," McKillop told Omnisport.

    "No one could ever picture that - not Steph, [his dad] Dell, [his mum] Sonya, nobody."

    --

    One thing the Curry camp did anticipate that night was that it would be the New York Knicks selecting the point guard at eight.

    Dell Curry, a 16-year NBA veteran who was still involved with the Charlotte Hornets, knew the league and had been able to cut through the usual pre-draft bluster.

    The belief was that the Knicks - the team New Yorker McKillop "loved" - wanted Madison Square Garden to become Stephen Curry's home.

    "Dell knew who was telling the truth and who was blowing smoke," McKillop explained.

    "We felt very confident that he was going to go in the first 10 picks. We thought he was going to go to the Knicks."

    Two other point guards came off the board at five and six as the Minnesota Timberwolves opted for Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn.

    "He felt pretty darn good about the fact the Knicks were still his goal and he was going to get that opportunity," McKillop said of Curry.

    But the Golden State Warriors, picking at seven, had other ideas, and the rest is history.

    The Warriors have had seven winning seasons, won three titles and made five Finals appearances. Curry has won two MVP awards and been named an All-Star six times.

    "It's amazing how things worked out," McKillop admitted.

    "It couldn't have been a better script written than for him to go to Golden State. It's given him the opportunity to lead that club and become the trailblazer for their future."

    --

    It was former Knicks player and coach Dick McGuire, then scouting for the team, who first told McKillop he had an NBA talent on his hands in freshman Curry.

    McKillop's son had played baseball with Curry and, when interest from other major colleges was not forthcoming, the Davidson coach made a successful recruiting pitch.

    Sonya Curry told McKillop that they would "fatten him up" amid concerns the teenager was too skinny, small and weak to cut it at the highest level.

    "Don't worry about that," McKillop told Curry's mum. "We'll take him just the way he is."

    Curry credits McKillop for teaching him "everything", though he endured an inauspicious start at Davidson.

    He committed nine turnovers in the first half of his debut against Eastern Michigan and yet McKillop kept him in. The following night he dropped 32 points on Michigan.

    "We stuck with him because we recognised that he lived in the moment and he was not going to let a bad play get him down," McKillop said.

    There were plenty more good plays than bad at Davidson. In 2008 he was the driving force behind a 25-game winning streak that ended at the Elite Eight stage as eventual champions Kansas secured a narrow win in front of 57,000 in Detroit.

    Curry returned for his junior year and contemplated staying for his senior campaign too but, thankfully for the Warriors, the lure of the NBA was too strong, and too logical.

    "He had advanced so far in the development of his game," McKillop admitted.

    "We all felt if he was drafted as a lottery pick, which would have given him more money, then it would have been foolish for him to pass up that opportunity.

    "He had such a loving relationship with his team-mates. I think that's why it was such a difficult decision for him.

    "He didn't make it until the 11th hour. When he went to bed the night before - in the day he came to class - he wasn't sure what he was going to do. I think he's a relationship guy and it was tough for him to leave his team.

    "It was without doubt the best decision for him."

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