Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Nellie Calls Jax a ‘Problem,’ Says Curry Lacks Ink
NEW YORK – Don Nelson has only been in New York for a short time Friday night and already he’s making headlines.
First, Nelson joked that he took rookie Stephen Curry out of the starting lineup because he doesn’t have enough ink.
“Stephen Curry, I took him out of the starting lineup because he doesn’t have enough tattoos,” Nelson said before Golden State trounced New York, 121-107, at MSG. “In fact, he doesn’t have any tattoos. How can a guy start in the NBA with no tattoos?”
Curry was drafted seventh overall by Golden State in this year’s NBA Draft, one spot ahead of New York, which chose Arizona forward Jordan Hill. Curry is averaging 8.7 points and 5.4 assists.
“If Curry wasn’t there, [Hill] was on our board. I’m not sure that we would’ve taken him, but we liked [Brandon] Jennings very much as well. But that would’ve been a decision. There was no decision with Curry,” Nelson said.
As for his other Stephen, Stephen Jackson, Nelson said the team would be better off if Jackson got his wish to be dealt.
“Well, when you have a guy that doesn’t want to be with your team it’s a problem because it’s very difficult for him to give you what he needs, to give you extra because he’s unhappy,” Nelson said. “He wants to move on. That’s been an issue.
“We’re trying to deal with it the best that we can and right now it’s a situation where we’re so banged up with our guys that I have to play him out of position as well. He has to play the power forward position so that’s difficult for him as well.”
Asked if there was any progress on trading Jackson, Nelson said: “I don’t know. You have to talk to our general manager.”
Asked if the Warriors had to trade Jackson for the betterment of the team, Nelson responded: “We don’t have to but I think it would be best for him and for us at this point. But if it doesn’t happen, he’s going to be here. He’s under contract for four years I believe.”
Jackson, averaging 15 points and 4.9 assists, has made no secret of his desire to leave Golden State.
“If it’s soon, I’m ready,” Jackson told Yahoo! Sports after Monday’s game against Minnesota. “Can’t do nothing but be ready. I asked for it as long as it’s the right situation for me and it’s not done out of spite. I’ve done a lot for this team and this organization and I hope the respect stays the same way. If it does happen, I hope it’s somewhere where I want to be.”
As if the Jackson situation weren’t enough to distract the team, guard Monta Ellis told reporters he can’t play with Curry.
“Us together? No,” Ellis told reporters. “Can’t. We just can’t. … Just can’t.”
Curry said he’s trying his best to adapt to the situation.
“Every NBA team has little distractions, sometimes not as public as ours is, but you’ve got to take what’s going and try to make the best of it and that’s how I do it,” Curry said before the game.
Curry admitted to imagining what it might have been like to play for the Knicks had they chosen him.
“Watching the offense, you kind of picture yourself and how you could’ve played, what kind of plays you could’ve made,” he said. “They got a lot of talent — like we are — we’ve just got to figure out how to put it together and get some wins.
“They’re a fun team to watch the way they play and the way D’Antoni coaches, so I enjoy watching them.”
FREE THROWSNate Robinson will return to the lineup Friday for the Knicks. He has been out since Oct. 31 with a sprained right ankle. “We’ll see if he’s rusty or not,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said…Larry Hughes returns to the starting lineup and rookie Toney Douglas returns to the bench because he’s ill…Eddy Curry will have three more practices before potentially making his season debut Wednesday at Indiana. “If things go really well, then we’ll do it,” D’Antoni said…D’Antoni on the team’s confidence after a 1-8 start: “It’s not good. We’re battling to stay focused and getting over the hump a little bit.”…Darko Milicic has notched two straight DNPs. “It’s just not his time right now,” D’Antoni said.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.