Former NBA big man Sam Bowie spent 10 seasons in the association, putting together a perfectly decent pro career that was highlighted by his age 28 season, when he averaged a double double for the Nets.
No one remembers any of that. Bowie will always be the dude picked ahead of Michel Jordan in the 1984 NBA Draft. That’s the power of His Airness, a player so great that he made other people famous.
Steph Curry is now doing the same thing.
The Warriors point guard was named NBA MVP for the second season in row Tuesday, the first player to do that since Steve Nash in ’05 and ’06. The award was a foregone conclusion after the silly season he had. But it’s not just Curry who people are talking about today. Search Twitter for Johnny Flynn and Ricky Rubio and then duck. People are lobbing bombs.
Flynn and Rubio are the Sam Bowies to Curry's MJ, except maybe a little worse. When the Blazers took Bowie in '84 they already had a dynamic shooting guard in Clyde Drexler. When the Timberwolves took Flynn and Rubio ahead of Curry in '09, they were trying to snag a top flight point guard.
Trying so hard, in fact, that they took two of them with back-to-back picks. That left the Warriors, also in need of a point guard, with Curry, who they selected seventh overall.
Rubio, it should be noted, has had a solid NBA career and at 25, still holds promise. Flynn, on the other hand, is out of the league. But unless Rubio finds a jump shot in one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, both players will go down in history as the guards deemed better than Curry on draft night seven years ago.
The T-Wolves can at least take some solace in knowing they were the only teams to pass on Curry. Four other teams did the same, though the Clippers and Thunder took Blake Griffin and James Harden, respectively, so it's hard to get mad at them. The Grizzlies and Kings, on the other hand...
It's easy to forget that Curry was far from a sure thing when he came out of Davidson. Despite leading the nation in scoring, Curry was considered too small and too slow to compete in the NBA.
One scouting report put together before the draft said he needed to "considerably improve as a ball handler" and "develop as a point guard." It went on to say that he "will have limited success at the next level" and warned teams: "Do not rely on him to run your team."
The Timberwolves listened. The Warriors didn't. The rest is history.