Stephen Curry: Why the Timberwolves Should Consider the Davidson Star at No. 6
Listen to many Timberwolves fans and they are cursing the fact that once again the team was dealt terrible luck in the NBA Lottery after landing the No. 6 spot and apparently losing out on a chance at Oklahoma's Blake Griffin and Spain's Ricky Rubio.
But if you ask me, No. 6 is an ideal spot to land the star that the Wolves so desperately need: Davidson guard Stephen Curry.
Yes, that's right. Steph Curry, the skinny kid from the tiny school who many think can't play point guard, isn't athletic enough, can't guard NBA guards, and won't be able to transition to the NBA game.
While many of the Wolves faithful have turned their attention to the likes of Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, James Harden and DeMar DeRozan, I think Curry is the best fit of all for the Wolves.
Nevermind that it may be considered a 'reach' by some experts, Curry would instantly help the Wolves in the win-column, and picking him at No. 6 is the only way they would be sure to get him.
Many people question Curry's ability to make the transition from a small-college to the NBA, but one has to keep in mind the difference in styles between college and the pros.
The NBA is a pick-and-roll oriented league and Curry will absolutely thrive in that style of play as long as his handle and basketball IQ are good enough to play point guard, and it seems like they are from when I've watched him.
His release on his jump shot is so quick that teams will absolutely have to concentrate on aggressively stepping out on him in the pick and roll, which will create a lot of opportunities for the other players to get open looks, especially those who are setting those picks.
Mike Miller, Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes and even the post players will benefit greatly from all the attention that would be paid to Curry in those situations.
Also, with Al Jefferson as our main offensive threat in the post, having Curry's deadly jumper on the outside would fit this team better than any other player available at No. 6. Opponents would definitely not be able to leave Curry from behind the arc to help on Jefferson in the post.
Just think about how successful the Orlando Magic have been surrounding Dwight Howard with shooters like Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, and Rafer Alston.
The other big question about Curry in the NBA is whether or not he can play point guard as a pro. At 6-3, 185, it is probable that he would be too small to play shooting guard on a regular basis.
I think Curry can definitely play point guard in the NBA. And to those who are overly worried about his lack of size, remember, many college kids have never taken weight training or nutrition as seriously as they will in the pros.
Those who don't think he can play the 1 in this league are thinking of 'point guard' too much in a sense of Steve Nash or Chris Paul in that they think he has to be this flashy, wizard-like passer with the ball who is able to make those type of ridiculous no-look, bounce-passes in transition.
I think Curry actually can do a little bit of that (I'm thinking of a few plays I saw him make in the NCAA tournament where he set up teammates beautifully with some clever passes).
But for the Wolves, Curry would not have to average 11 assists per game. He would just be counted on to score and simply handle the ball and run the offense, which would revolve around Jefferson first and foremost, mostly in halfcourt sets. Just look at Mo Williams, Rafer Alston, Chauncey Billups and Derek Fisher (the starting point guards on the four remaining playoff teams). All are very good players who play the point guard position but aren't considered 'pure point guards.'
Anyone who has actually watched Curry play can tell you that he has a good enough basketball IQ to run an offense at least as effectively as those guys, besides maybe Billups who is definitely elite in that category.
And combined with Curry's amazing scoring ability, which he demonstrated on numerous occasions against top competition in college, he could definitely succeed with the Wolves.
Next, Mike Miller proved last season that he is good enough at driving the lane and kicking the ball out from the SG/SF position that the Wolves don't necessarily need that skill as much from their point guard.
I know, I know, conventional wisdom has taught us that, "No it has to be the PG who does that."
But as long as Minnesota has that dynamic in their collective arsenal, I think they will be fine. In fact, there are many times when Miller or Randy Foye (whoever is in the backcourt with Curry at the time) could handle the ball, drive the lane and kick out to Curry for open three-pointers.
It all works the same, it doesn't matter that it's the listed-SG or SF driving and kicking to the listed-PG. Defense is a legitimate question regarding Curry. Many people argue that he will have a hard time guarding the quicker and more talented point guards in the league, but really, who doesn't?
Curry wouldn't be the only one who has trouble shutting down Tony Parker and Paul...most opponents do.
I think the lack of a legitimate shot-altering big man in the paint is just as big of a problem for the Wolves as their perimeter defense. Adding a legitimate 7-footer to the rotation of Jefferson and Kevin Love in the frontcourt would go a long way in improving the Wolves' overall defense.
Either way, perimeter defense is more about effort and 'want-to' than it is strictly about height, and from what I've seen, Curry seems to have a lot of heart and desire, as evidenced by his team's need for him to single-handedly take over games in college.
Also, it sould be considered that his alleged lack of defensive skills were due to the fact he was the lone offensive threat at Davidson, and could ill-afford to get into foul trouble while trying to lock down the opposing teams' guards.
Finally, the other prospects that will conceivably be available at No. 6 for Minnesota all have their questions as well.
Jennings, the young point guard who skipped college to play professionally in Europe, is an intriguing talent, but few have seen him play since high school where he was criticized by some for being a bit of a selfish player. His less-than-stellar numbers in Europe don't help his cause either.
Hardin from Arizona State is also a talented college player, but his athleticism is also questioned by many experts, and there's a good chance he'll be gone before the Wolves pick at No. 6.
Evans and DeRozan have their appeal as well. Both are incredibly athletic and strong, not to mention tall, which is something the Wolves could use in their backcourt. But Evans jumpshot is questionable, as are his point guard skills, and many people felt DeRozan failed to live up to his lofty expectations in college.
All of these prospects are solid and have a great deal of upside, but Curry still fits the Wolves the best, in my opinion.
Heading into next season, I think this sort of rotation would not be bad at all for next year: C - Al Jefferson/Rookie (No. 18) PF - Kevin Love/Craig Smith SF - Mike Miller/Ryan Gomes/Rodney Carney SG - Corey Brewer/Randy Foye/Rookie (No. 28) PG - Steph Curry (No. 6)/Seabastian Telfair
This lineup would give the Wolves plenty of offense, with Brewer hopefully back healthy and able to provide some lock-down defense from the SG or SF position.
Add to that someone like B.J. Mullins, a 7-footer from Ohio State, at No. 18 (Miami) to add to the frontcourt rotation as a defensive big man and perhaps some more size for the backcourt at No. 28 (Boston), and the Wolves just might be able to jump from the low twenties in victories to the low forties in a short amount of time.
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