Former T-Wolves GM Explains Why Team Twice Passed On Stephen Curry In Draft


The Minnesota Timberwolves were poised to revitalize their franchise in the 2009 NBA Draft.

The T-Wolves owned the No. 5 and No. 6 overall picks in the draft, and had their eyes set on grabbing a point guard. Minnesota did just that, but it’s the point guard they failed to draft that has haunted them ever since.

The Timberwolves selected Ricky Rubio at No. 5 and followed with the selection of Jonny Flynn at No. 6. Who went No. 7, you ask? A player you might be familiar with: Stephen Curry.

The Golden State Warriors snagged Curry just one pick after Minnesota whiffed on him twice. The Timberwolves have been ridiculed for the move ever since, but there was more to it than just oversight.

In a recent column for Sports Illustrated, former T-Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn explained that Curry’s father, Dell, had some say in what went down on draft night. According to Kahn, he was notified by Dell through Steph’s agent, Jeff Austin, that he did not want his son to be drafted by Minnesota.

Kahn did admit he was “captivated” by Rubio, who he believed had a “rare flair for passing and setting up scorers.” But due to buyout complications in his Spanish league contract, it was unclear when or if Rubio ever would make his way to the NBA.

With the uncertainty surrounding Rubio and the Curry’s disinterest in coming to Minnesota, Kahn realized drafting two players who might not want to play for the T-Wolves would be a major risk. In turn, he opted for Flynn at No. 6, who had a successful collegiate career at Syracuse and was deemed ready for the professional level right away.

Flynn would start 81 games for the Timberwolves in his rookie season, but a nasty hip injury cut his NBA career short. Rubio will enter his seventh season in Minnesota in the 2017-18 campaign, but he hasn’t amounted to the player many thought he would be.

Curry has since gone on to become a two-time NBA MVP, as well as a two-time champion, but there’s no way of knowing how he would have fared in Minnesota. Golden State followed the drafting of Curry in 2009 with Klay Thompson in 2011 and Draymond Green in 2012. It’s one of the best draft stretches by a team in recent memory.

So, yes, Khan did miss out on one of the best shooters of all time. But it also sounds like Curry wouldn’t have been too excited about playing in The North Star State.

Thumbnail photo via Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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