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Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has spent quite a bit of time among the NBA‘s best players, racking up accolades and climbing toward the top of the all-time individual hierarchy. His run with the Dubs has seen him earn four championships and plenty of individual accolades.

However, his career outlook wasn’t always so promising. Plenty of doubters have existed along the way, all denying that he could develop into such a premier talent. That list, surprisingly, once included his first NBA head coach, Don Nelson.

Stephen Curry faced doubt from the get-go

Before he entered the NBA as the No. 7 pick of the 2009 draft, Stephen Curry had developed into one of the nation’s leading collegiate talents.

He already enjoyed recognition as the son of former NBA guard Dell Curry, but he was starting to come into his own at Davidson by leading the team to multiple NCAA tournament appearances and sparking a historic Cinderella run. Despite the individual and team success, his NBA future wasn’t assured because of his size (6-foot-2, 185 pounds).

Could he successfully make the transition? Could he get shots off against more athletic defenders? Would his body hold up to the grind of an 82-game campaign, year in and year out?

Obviously, the nine-time All-Star has pushed past those perceived shortcomings — which grew to include the nagging ankle injuries that required multiple surgeries and hindered him on the floor early in his professional career.

But what’s even more shocking is that those initial perceptions even extended to his first head coach in the Association.

Don Nelson doubted Stephen Curry

During the 2009-10 season, his first year in the NBA, Stephen Curry played under Don Nelson, who was in his final campaign. That gave the veteran head coach a front-row seat to the Davidson product’s on-court performance, and his assessment ultimately sold the guard rather short.

During an April 2020 interview on 95.7 The Game, Nelson said 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, “Nelson explained. “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.”

While they’re still complimentary, those comments look foolish in retrospect. After all, Curry has won a pair of MVP awards and established himself as a Pantheon-level point guard.

Sure, Nelson believed Curry could become an All-Star who had shades of Steve Nash in his game, but he’s instead ascended well beyond that already-impressive level. His work ethic and personal drive have helped him produce a career that makes him a lock to make the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Stephen Curry’s impact on the NBA

Even beyond his individual success and the imprint made by the dynastic Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry has had an unmistakable impact on the game.

His success beyond the three-point arc, which has served as the driving force behind the Warriors’ historic run, has changed the offensive philosophy around the entire league. The rest of the league has embraced the three-pointer like never before and, in doing so, has made the Davidson product the face of the Association.

Curry continues to serve as a source of inspiration for the next generation of basketball standouts, and he’s still not done leaving his mark on the sport. Forgot about the doubters; even his most fervent collegiate supporters couldn’t have expected that.