In his first decade in the league, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has firmly established himself as one of the NBA’s best players. Curry has had a highly successful run that has seen him reach the mountaintop of earning multiple championships along with plenty of personal success. However, the outlook for his career wasn’t always that way as there were doubters that didn’t believe he could develop into a premier talent. That list surprisingly included his first NBA head coach Don Nelson.
Stephen Curry faced doubt from the get-go
Before he entered the NBA, Curry had developed into one of the nation’s best talents at the collegiate level.
He had recognition as being former NBA guard Dell Curry’s son but was starting to come into his own at Davidson as he led the school to multiple NCAA tournament appearances and a deep run. However, his NBA future was one that many had their doubts because of his size that led to those to believe it would hurt him in his transition to the next level.
Curry has pushed past those perceived shortcomings on the court with his promising play. He was hampered by nagging ankle injuries that required multiple surgeries, but that only pushed him harder to find success on the court and helped lay the foundation for what has been a historic first decade in the NBA.
That said, there was even some hesitation on his potential in the NBA from his first NBA head coach.
Don Nelson doubted Stephen Curry
In his first year in the NBA, Curry played under Nelson, who was heading into what was his final year coaching.
That provided the veteran coach a front-row seat to the Davidson product’s performance on the court, which recently voiced during an interview on 95.7 The Game that he didn’t believe Curry would become an MVP-caliber talent.
“Well, you never think a guy could be MVP of the league. I mean, who would ever think that, but I thought he would be an All-Star point guard.
“I thought he’d be Steve Nash-like, with maybe more of an emphasis on the shooting end. Steve, it was more important for him to make assists. I always tried to get Steve to shoot more, but I never had to worry about that with Steph. If he had an open shot, he was ready to take it.”
In hindsight, these comments from Nelson look a bit foolish given what Curry has put forth winning a pair of MVP awards while establishing himself as an elite talent. However, he had entered the league with plenty of doubts due to his size that many didn’t believe would allow him to find success.
Nelson had a strong belief that Curry could become an All-Star with shades of Steve Nash’s game, but his ascension into stardom was due to his worth ethic and personal drive with his craft. The doubt is what further fueled him to push forward and put forth what should be a career that makes him a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Stephen Curry’s impact on the NBA
Through his first 10 seasons in the league, Curry has had an unmistakable impact on the game.
His success beyond the three-point line as the driving force to the Warriors strong run the past several years has changed the offensive game plan around the league. The rest of the NBA has fully embraced utilizing the 3-point shot heavily in their offense while Curry has become one of the faces of the association.
Curry has become a steady source of inspiration for the next generation of basketball players that could have a significant influence on the game for years to come well beyond his playing days.