Boos showered down as Stephen Curry was selected seventh in the NBA Draft on Thursday night. Curry probably wanted to boo, too.
The shooting star from Davidson was picked by the Golden State Warriors, although he was hoping to go No. 8 to the New York Knicks. The rowdy crowd in New York also wanted Curry to go to the Knicks, and Knicks president Donnie Walsh obviously was ticked because he wanted Curry.
NBA commissioner David Stern surely wanted Curry in New York, but, hey, Stern can’t script everything.
So the Knicks fans booed the Warriors’ pick, prompting ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy to poke his head out of the sand and say, "I don’t understand the reaction of the crowd."
The reaction was understandable. Curry was the perfect fit to run Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni‘s wide-open offense. Curry will be an All-Star someday — mark down that prediction — and the Knicks’ pick, 6-foot-10-inch Jordan Hill from Arizona, looks like a project.
• DICK’S TOP PICK — ESPN had about 39 analysts on hand, none louder than Dick Vitale, who thinks the Knicks got the short end of the stick.
"Those teams that didn’t take Curry will eat their heart out. This kid’s going to be a big-time star. He’s going to be Rookie of the Year," barked Vitale, the bald version of Mel Kiper Jr.
It was shocking because Vitale rarely picks an underdog to win anything. Of course, the odds-on favorite to be the top rookie is Blake Griffin, who went No. 1 to the Los Angeles Clippers.
• LOTTERY TICKETS — The Oklahoma City Thunder blundered by taking Arizona State guard James Harden too high at No. 3. The bearded Harden often played half-asleep last season. ESPN’s Jay Bilas reached deep into his bag of cliches and said Harden has "a lot of potential."
Tyreke Evans, a 6-5 point guard and likely superstar, should have gone second or third, and he slipped to the Sacramento Kings at No. 4. He played for John Calipari, so by going from Memphis to the NBA, Evans could be taking a pay cut.
Ricky Rubio, an 18-year-old point guard from Spain, was the first of three point guards picked in the first round by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Rubio is a magician with the basketball, triggering comparisons to Pete Maravich. "I’m Ricky Rubio. I’m not like anybody else," he said in the high-pitched squeal of a 10-year-old. Unlike Maravich, Rubio has no jump shot.
The third point guard the Timberwolves picked, North Carolina’s Ty Lawson, might be the best. But he was traded to Denver.
• SHAQ, LEBRON AND EYENGA — Two pre-draft trades made big news. Cleveland acquired Shaquille O’Neal, and San Antonio picked up Richard Jefferson.
"I think Santa Claus came early for Cleveland and San Antonio. They will be playing for the title next year, and Cleveland is going to be celebrating, baby," Vitale predicted.
The Cavaliers improved their chances by taking Christian Eyenga with the 30th and final pick of the first round. Insiders tout Eyenga, a 6-5 guard/forward, as the LeBron James of Congo.
COMPILED BY MATT YOUMANS LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL