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When you get an e-mail saying Jonny Flynn was better than Steph Curry ...

E-mailer Dan dropped this one into my inbox today: Here’s an article idea for you: (Jonny) Flynn arguably had the better rookie season than (Steph) Curry. 23.4 pts/100 possessions for Flynn, 23.1 pts/100 possessions for Curry with Flynn shooting 5.8 free throws/100 possessions  vs. Curry’s 2.9. Then Flynn got a hip injury. Curry got one too a year later. Of course their recoveries couldn’t be any more different. Is is fair to blame the Wolves for Flynn’s downfall? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s not at all certain that Curry would be Curry if he’d gone to the Wolves. And maybe Flynn would be the All-Star the Wolves missed out on. I’m at a point in my life where I like things that challenge conventional wisdom, as absurd as they might sound. Like the trivia question: Who has more career points — Brandon Roy or Randy Foye? (It’s Foye, by more than 1,000). So I dutifully headed to Basketball Reference to fact check the first part of the e-mail. And indeed, Flynn did beat Curry in those two categories. However, they were pretty neatly cherrypicked from a litany of stats that showed Curry was the better player — he was more efficient, played better defense, shot the three better, rebounded better and had more assists. So no, Curry was still the better rookie. But at least statistically, it wasn’t a gaping difference — if the gap between their careers would ultimately become the top teeth and bottom teeth of a crocodile with its mouth wide open, the rookie season was just a croc’s mouth while it sipped a cup of tea. The ability to overcome injury does tell a decent part of the story of the career arc from there. Flynn had major hip surgery in late July of 2010. The Timberwolves sent out a news release labeling the surgery “successful” and offered this quote from former personnel boss David Kahn, the man responsible for drafting Flynn instead of Curry: “We expect Jonny to make a full recovery from this procedure.” But he was never the same. He played sparingly and ineffectively in his second season, even spending time in the D-League. By the summer between his second and third years, Flynn had been traded to Houston. He played just 29 more games in his NBA career. Curry, meanwhile, overcame chronic ankle problems that threatened to derail his career. He played just 26 games in his third year, 2011-12 before conquering his weakness and transforming from a good player to a great player to an MVP to one of the all-time greats (really, that’s what he is right now). All the while, the gap between Flynn and Curry grew. If both had stayed healthy the gap would still be large but it’s hard to say how large. If Flynn had been luckier with his health, I don’t know if we’d even be talking about him in an All-Star context — i.e. his ceiling wasn’t as high as Curry’s — but again we’ll never really know. The point of all this? It’s not another trip down the road of regret. What’s happened has happened for the Wolves and Warriors. Within the over-reach of e-mailer Dan’s initial analysis about their rookie years and how things might have played out differently, though, is this notion: few would have guessed those two career arcs would diverge to the degree they did, and even fewer would have imagined it after one full season in the NBA.

StarTribune Timberwolves
382 days ago
20 Ballers sent
Read more of this news on StarTribune Timberwolves

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A bad flashback: 'With the sixth pick in the 2009 draft ...'

When the Wolves drafted Jonny Flynn six years ago, this is what it looked like. (Watch it once and move on, OK?)

StarTribune Timberwolves | 738 days ago | 179 Ballers sent

Points : 178

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NBA Most Valuable Player vote totals

Stephen Curry was named NBA MVP today, further cementing Wolves’ fans lament over the 2009 draft when Minnesota ...

StarTribune Timberwolves | 781 days ago | 178 Ballers sent

Points : 234

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King James calling: LeBron lifts postseason media blackout to congratulate

Stephen Curry was named NBA MVP today, further cementing Wolves’ fans lament over the 2009 draft when Minnesota ...

StarTribune Timberwolves | 781 days ago | 234 Ballers sent

Points : 228

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King James calling: LeBron lifts postseason media blackout to congratulate

Stephen Curry was named NBA MVP today, further cementing Wolves’ fans lament over the 2009 draft when Minnesota ...

StarTribune Timberwolves | 781 days ago | 228 Ballers sent

Points : 351

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Here's a scouting report on Stephen Curry from before the 2009 NBA draft

Stephen Curry was named NBA MVP today, further cementing Wolves’ fans lament over the 2009 draft when Minnesota ...

StarTribune Timberwolves | 781 days ago | 351 Ballers sent

NBA Buzz 7 days :
Players Buzz 7 days :
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2010 NBA Mock Draft
01. John Wall (WW)
02. Evan Turner (76ers)
03. Derrick Favors (NJN)
04. Wesley Johnson (MT)
05. DeMarcus Cousins (SK)
06. Ekpe Udoh (GSW)
07. Greg Monroe (DP)
08. Al-Farouq Aminu (LAC)
09. Gordon Hayward (UJ)
10. Paul George (IP)
2009 NBA Mock Draft
01. Blake Griffin (LAC)
02. Hasheem Thabeet (MG)
03. James Harden (OCT)
04. Tyreke Evans (SK)
05. Ricky Rubio (MT)
06. Jonny Flynn (MT)
07. Stephen Curry (GSW)
08. Jordan Hill (NYK)
09. DeMar DeRozan (TR)
10. Brandon Jennings (MB)
Scoring
01. Kevin Durant27.7
02. LeBron James26.7
03. Carmelo Anthony25.6
04. Dwyane Wade25.5
05. Kobe Bryant25.3
06. Amare Stoudemire25.3
07. Derrick Rose25.0
08. Monta Ellis24.1
09. Kevin Martin23.5
10. Dirk Nowitzki23.0
Rebounds
01. Kevin Love15.2
02. Dwight Howard14.1
03. Zach Randolph12.2
04. Blake Griffin12.1
05. Kris Humphries10.4
06. Pau Gasol10.2
07. David Lee9.8
08. Al Jefferson9.7
09. Emeka Okafor9.5
10. Tyson Chandler9.4
Assists
01. Steve Nash11.4
02. Rajon Rondo11.2
03. Deron Williams10.3
04. Chris Paul9.8
05. Jose Calderon8.9
06. Raymond Felton8.3
07. John Wall8.3
08. Jason Kidd8.2
09. Russell Westbrook8.2
10. Derrick Rose7.7
Steals
01. Chris Paul2.4
02. Rajon Rondo2.3
03. Monta Ellis2.1
04. Russell Westbrook1.9
05. Tony Allen1.8
06. Mike Conley1.8
07. Jason Kidd1.7
08. Raymond Felton1.7
09. LeBron James1.6
10. Trevor Ariza1.6
Blocks
01. Andrew Bogut2.6
02. Dwight Howard2.4
03. JaVale McGee2.4
04. Serge Ibaka2.4
05. Andrew Bynum2.0
06. Darko Milicic2.0
07. Al Jefferson1.9
08. Amare Stoudemire1.9
09. Tim Duncan1.9
10. Roy Hibbert1.8