Nelson: Curry's not going anywhere
Nelson firmly declared the Warriors won't trade Curry on Friday, quashing suspicions about Golden State's intentions in selecting the former Davidson star who led the nation in scoring last season.
"He can unpack his bags and relax," Nelson said after welcoming Curry to Oakland. "He can buy a house. We drafted him because we think he's a terrific player that fits right into our program. He ain't going anyplace."
Nelson's unequivocal declaration was probably necessary: Although Curry was widely considered among the draft's most polished candidates, he seemed an odd choice for the Warriors. After all, guard Monta Ellis is just about the same size and plays much the same style of game, and Golden State is loaded with backcourt players.
Many wondered whether Golden State drafted Curry with the seventh overall pick at another team's behest, and rumors about trade talks with Phoenix were rampant Thursday night. Although Nelson and general manager Larry Riley didn't deny discussions took place with the Suns about a deal for power forward Amare Stoudemire, Nelson made it clear Curry won't be a part of any deal.
"[Ellis] should be happy that he's got a sidekick that's very good," Nelson said. "I think he's going to be able to play right away. I'll be surprised if he doesn't."
Curry didn't appear even slightly ruffled after a draft day full of speculation and crazy twists, followed by a 5 a.m. wakeup call for his flight to the West Coast.
Curry, who finished his college career in the Bay Area three months ago with an NIT loss to Saint Mary's, looked rested and confident in a blue suit with chalk stripes while visiting the Warriors' training complex in downtown Oakland. He was accompanied by his girlfriend and his family, including father Dell Curry, a 16-year NBA veteran.
Although Curry declined the chance to work out for the Warriors before the draft, he knew the club had interest following an interview at the predraft camp in Chicago. Although Curry repeatedly said he hoped to land with the New York Knicks, who picked eighth, he was neither surprised nor disappointed when Golden State snatched him.
"I looked at the top 10, and [the Warriors] jumped off the page with the way they play," Curry said. "I'm a fan of the game, so I notice these sorts of things. I've seen enough of them to know I'd fit in here, at least on the surface. It's exciting to get here and think about what could happen with this offense and this coaching staff."
Nelson knows Curry will play for him in the fall when the Warriors go after just their second playoff berth since 1994, but the 69-year-old coach isn't sure what position he'll play.
Curry played point guard in high school before switching to shooting guard for two years at Davidson, culminating in the Wildcats' memorable 2008 NCAA tournament run -- only to move back to the point last season while leading the country with 28.6 points per game.
Curry is open to playing either position, and Nelson said he would like to play Curry and Ellis together for long stretches, moving swingman Stephen Jackson to small forward. Nelson wouldn't speculate how the Warriors would defend the league's top point guards with such a lineup, but defense has rarely been a primary concern for Golden State.
"I'm willing to learn and willing to take criticism and get something from it," Curry said. "I know what I can do well and go out there and do it, and I'll leave the rest to work itself out."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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