Now that Brandon Roy is out of the league if not officially retired again, Timberwolves fans — even with their beloved team’s 3-1 start — might feel the need to transfer their longing and regret elsewhere. Thankfully, Golden State and Steph Curry visit Target Center on Wednesday night.
The Wolves chose point guards Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn fifth and sixth overall in the 2009 draft, and Curry was taken seventh by the Warriors.
Rubio stayed in Spain for the next two seasons, arrived in Minneapolis and the NBA in June 2011 and now, along with Kevin Love, is the foundation for the Wolves as they hope to reach the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
After auditions this summer in the Orlando and Las Vegas leagues, Flynn is out of the league — perhaps partly because of a hip injury sustained in two seasons with the Wolves — and signed to play in China. He quickly was cut over concerns about a hip injury.
He simply blossomed into a superstar last spring while leading the Warriors to a first-round upset over Denver and the league’s best shooter has kept it going in this young season. His 18-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound performance in Monday’s rout of previously unbeaten Philadelphia was his second career triple-double.
Why the Wolves didn’t draft him?
Curry declined to work out for the Wolves before the 2009 draft and didn’t appear interested in playing here. Curry told the Star Tribune late in his rookie season that his main concern was franchise instability: Then- General Manager David Kahn had just decided not to bring back Kevin McHale as coach and was still more than six weeks away from hiring Kurt Rambis. Insiders also suspected Curry, a scratch golfer, preferred a destination where he could play golf on off days all season.
Kahn, only a month on the job, also doubted whether Curry could play point guard full time in the NBA. And he was infatuated by Flynn’s six-overtime performance in Syracuse’s Big East tournament victory over Connecticut, his toughness and what he called Flynn’s natural “charisma” for a franchise he thought desperately was lacking charisma.
The bad news
Curry will have Wolves fans wondering “What if” for the next decade, just like they did for five seasons with Roy, whom their team selected on draft night in 2006 and immediately dealt to Portland in a trade that brought them Randy Foye.
The good news
At least Curry doesn’t rhyme with Flynn, like Roy did with Foye, a coincidence that further fueled the comparisons between the 2006 draft picks.
The Warriors got a bargain when they signed Curry to a four-year, $44 million extension before last season, even given a history of sprained ankles.
Did you know?
Curry could have been raised partly in Minnesota rather than Charlotte, where his father, Dell, played for the Hornets from 1988 to 1998. Wolves coach Bill Musselman pushed for his team to trade the 20th pick in the 1990 draft for Curry’s father, a sharpshooter himself, but it instead drafted Mississippi’s Gerald Glass.