NBA: Curry works out for Bobcats, eyes Knicks
Published 12:00 am Friday, June 5, 2009
By Mike Cranston
CHARLOTTE ó Stephen Curry was back in his hometown, in the practice gym where he’s hoisted hundreds of shots. His father was sitting courtside and his brother watched from the balcony.
Curry was only a few miles from the house he grew up in and a 30-minute drive from where he became a college star at Davidson.
Yet Curry was about 650 miles from where he’d like to start his NBA career.
Shortly after finishing his first pre-draft workout for the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday, Curry made it clear that playing for New York in Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense is his top choice.
“If I could be picky, yeah, it would be nice to have that kind of setting: Madison Square Garden,” Curry said. “I wouldn’t mind being home here in Charlotte or anywhere else. New York would be fun with the legacy up there, trying to turn that team around.”
The Knicks, picking eighth in the June 25 draft, could be where the sweet-shooting point guard ends up. But following an impressive pre-draft camp performance last week in Chicago, the 6-foot-3 Curry might be gone by then.
Curry said he’s received interest from Oklahoma City, which holds the No. 3 pick. Washington, picking fifth, and Minnesota, at No. 6, need help at point guard. Curry said he’s also heard from Portland, which may try to move from the 24th pick to snag the top scorer in college basketball last season.
But Curry wants to play in New York. Even with Chris Duhon running the point there, Curry feels that style of play best resembles the system he played under coach Bob McKillop at Davidson ó where he led the surprising Wildcats within a missed 3-pointer of the Final Four in 2008.
“It’s how I played all my life,” Curry said. “I can adjust to any style of game, but if it’s consistent with how I played in college, I think D’Antoni’s system is the best fit.”
After watching Curry consistently knock down jumpers, whip passes to Duke’s Gerald Henderson, Florida State’s Toney Douglas and the three others at the workout, Bobcats coach Larry Brown was convinced Curry is “not going to be around when we draft” at No. 12.
“I had heard people rave about how he shoots the ball,” Brown said of Curry, who made 414 3-pointers in three college seasons. “The thing that most impressed me is that he passes the ball. He’s a great passer. He knows how to play.”
Brown also quickly dismissed concerns that the slender Curry isn’t strong enough for the rigors of an 82-game schedule and is too much of a liability on defense. Brown was impressed at how quickly Curry picked up concepts on offense and defense he introduced during the workout.
“I have a great IQ for the game,” Curry said. “The terminology, picking up things and the footwork, things like that, I can pick it up pretty easily. That’s going to make me a better player down the road.”
Curry, who averaged 28.6 points a game last season, left Davidson after his junior year. Once considered too small to play for the big schools, there is skepticism about how he’ll adjust to the NBA. He didn’t switch to point guard until last season.
But Curry is confident. The son of former Charlotte Hornets 3-point specialist Dell Curry has spent the past few weeks in Washington working on his conditioning and lifting weights under the guidance of personal trainer Idan Ravin.
After getting the first draft workout under his belt with the familiarity of home ó his father works in the Bobcats’ front office ó Curry is ready for the next step: an audition with the Knicks next week.
“I can be a true point guard,” Curry said. “I think I proved that this year. I have a lot to learn, of course, but I have that potential to go out and be a leader on an NBA team for a whole season.
“Definitely with my ability to shoot the ball I can spread the defense more and open up options for my teammates. I love being a playmaker, getting assists and helping my team win. Hopefully the coaches, the GMs and all the organizations can see that.”
NOTES: Bobcats managing partner Michael Jordan didn’t attend the workout. … Henderson, a defensive shooting guard, would fill Charlotte’s biggest need. “This would be a great place for me,” Henderson said. … Brown, a North Carolina alumnus, also couldn’t resist taking a shot at rival Duke when asked about Henderson. “He went to a great high school,” he said. … Clemson’s K.C. Rivers, LSU’s Garrett Temple and Danny Green of North Carolina also worked out. … Seth Curry, Stephen’s younger brother, said he’s “counting the days” until he enrolls at Duke after leaving Liberty. He won’t be eligible until the 2010-11 season.