Re-Drafting the 2009 NBA Class

The 2009 draft was a mess. Arguably one of the worst number 2 picks of all time, and a slew of guys going much later than they should have. Drafting isn’t an exact science, but there still shouldn’t have been as many huge swing and misses as there were on June 25, 2009. A few guys that went in the top 10 shouldn’t have even been drafted, but hindsight is always 20-20 and although impossible, we shall redraft the 2009 class taking into account everything these guys have done at the NBA level. 1 caveat: I understand big men take longer to develop than guards, but I have 9 of the top 10 picks as either point guard or shooting guards. This class was simply lacking in quality bigs. Also, it is year four for these guys, so if you can’t play at the NBA level by this point, you’re basically obsolete. There were also 8 guys drafted in the second round the proved they should have been taken in the first. A deep class, but one that is difficult to sift through, let’s get started:

  1. CLIPPERS- BLAKE GRIFFIN One thing I’ve learned from Bill Simmons’ Book of Basketball is that you never pass on a sure-thing big man, even over a sure thing guard. It is so hard to come by quality big men in the league that Griffin is still a lock for the top spot. Although he hasn’t developed great post moves, his explosiveness brought CP3 to the Clips and have them poised to make more than a few deep playoff runs.
  2. GRIZZLIES- JAMES HARDEN- A true franchise guy. He was given time to develop and be the best sixth man in the league before becoming ‘the guy’ on the Rockets. But he’s proven to be the best 2 guard in the draft class and ranks slightly ahead of Curry simply because of his size and the fact that he’s already proven himself on a big stage.
  3. THUNDER- STEPHEN CURRY- I’m sure the Thunder would be ecstatic to run Curry off screens all day to utilize him as an undersized 2 guard, but that wouldn’t be using his talents to the best of his abilities. He’s a creator, and a scorer, and a passer. He would be an ideal running mate to pair with Durant, but not so much with Westbrook. Still Curry showed that losing the ROY was a fluke and he took major steps this year to prove he is in an elite class of point guards.
  4. KINGS- TY LAWSON- The Kings would still get their franchise point guard, and one that can actually pass. (There will be a lot of digs at Tyreke here.) Lawson was seen as undersized and couldn’t guard anyone in the league, but has shown that he is perhaps the 2nd or 3rd fastest guy to the cup off the dribble in half court sets, (only trailing Westbrook and Rose). While he may not finish at the rim like other explosive guards, he is a pass first, franchise type guy that was an absolute steal for the Nuggs in ’09. Has shown the ability to take over games, see this current playoff series against the Warriors.
  5. T’WOLVES- RICKY RUBIO- One pick finally stays! Wolves GM David Kahn hit a home-run with this pick even though everyone knew Rubio was staying in Europe another year. At the time, it seemed like a ploy to get out of ever having to play for Minny, but once Love developed it looked like an ideal partnership and for the short time they’ve played together, they’ve been close to an elite duo.
  6. T’WOLVES- DEMAR DEROZAN- Here’s where Kahn went a little bit astray. So Rubio wasn’t coming for a least a year, ended up being two, and the Wolves needed a ‘right-now’ type PG. In steps Johnny Flynn. Major mistake. He’s undraftable in retrospect. DeRoran is still an intriguing player, having probably not fully developed yet in Toronto due to lack of a good backcourt mate. Matching Rubio+Love+DeRozan, that’s a lot of fast breaks and jams.
  7. WARRIORS- BRANDON JENNINGS- I was rather hoping the Warriors would grab Jennings on draft night, instead opting for the slightly safer Curry. Jennings is another guard of ’09 that seemingly peaked early on in his career. Unable to match high scoring numbers with decent percentages, Jennings can be electric at times, and frustrating at others. He’ll hit the open market this summer, look for a team to overpay and give him close to the max, Milwaukee will likely not match.
  8. KNICKS- JRUE HOLLIDAY- Jrue Holiday does all the nitty-gritty work on the defensive that no one wants to, but everyone on the team always appreciates the player that does this type of dirty work. The Knicks weren’t particularly interested in keeping this pick longer than they had to, which ended up being less than a year, shipping Hill of to Houston in the T-Mac deal that would give the Knicks all that great cap room to sign Amare Stoudemire to a $100 million dollar deal. Point being that it wasn’t Jordan Hill specifically they didn’t like, it was that they had to send a package to Houston for certain expiring contracts and whomever they drafted in ’09 was likely gone.
  9. RAPTORS- JEFF TEAGUE- Perennially in the lottery and looking for a franchise-type guy, Teague actually fits the bill quite nicely. It took him about two years to get off the bench in ATL, which I doubt would have happened up north in TOR, but trial by fire works for some guys too. Teague has shown that he can do a little bit of everything and actually finishes at the tin fairly often and sometimes with authority. After putting on a few pounds of muscle, Teague belongs in the NBA after many doubted him.
  10. BUCKS- TAJ GIBSON- Not quite the draft night steal that Jennings was, Gibson has been underwhelmingly effective in Chicago, meaning he usually has decent numbers every game, but goes quiet for long stretches and isn’t always great on defense. The Bucks, like the Raptors, often find themselves in this mid-lottery mediocrity that always gives them a decent pick, but a never an impact guy. This is the type of player Gibson is. Pretty good on a good team, and not so great on a bad team.
  11. NETS- DARREN COLLISON- After Chris Paul went down for extended time in 2009-10, Collison got some good burn in a starters spot and proved he was a good commodity. The Nets needed these type of commodities when they were trading to get Deron Williams. Collison would undoubtedly have had more trade value than Terrence Williams, who is the third biggest bust of the ’09 class.
  12. BOBCATS- TYREKE EVANS– The draft free-fall finally ends. I figure the Bobcats would be desperate enough to take someone as selfish and under-developed as ‘Reke. He literally has only taken steps backwards since his ‘sensational’ rookie year. A selfish player would never developed a consistent jumper, the league figured him out by his sophomore year, and extended injuries have hindered his development even further. The ‘Cats are always desperate for an inefficient chucker and could have found one in Tyreke. But, his lack of defense and blatant desire to always try and finish at the rim (with his right hand) allow defenses to dare him to shoot and teammates more than happy to stand around and watch him make a play.
  13. PACERS- JORDAN HILL- While his career has been somewhat underwhelming, he has shown pretty good promise with the Lakers. If Hill is your second or third best big man, you’ve got a good thing going. The Pacers were looking for high character guys at the time, hence the Hansbrough pick, and Hill surely does not fit that bill, but could mesh well with the Pacers and with all the moves they made since this draft, it’s unlikely he would have stuck in Indy anyway.
  14. SUNS- MARCUS THORNTON-  The ultimate heat check guy. Even more so than Jamal Crawford. Thornton can get going quickly. He’s already bounced around the league a bit, but has found a nice niche with the Kings. (Not that there’s anything actually nice about the Kings.) He wouldn’t have been the Nash replacement type guy, but he’s a great match for any pass happy PG. Could have meshed well with Goran Dragic, but Thornton’s lack of any defense makes him a liability on the court against halfway decent 2 guards. He’s not elite, but definitely deserved to go in the first round, and in this case, the lottery.
  15. PISTONS- DEJUAN BLAIR- Another guy who was picked much later than he should have been. Blair (or rather Poppovich has) carved himself a nice little role in San Antonio, showing their prowess for finding steals in the second round. He would have been selected higher in the re-draft, but it looks as though his career has peaked already. His knees were bound to give out at some point, and it looks as though 5-6 years in the NBA is all he can give, granted they’ll all be productive.
  30. CAVS- A.J. PRICE 

Notable Swing and Misses of 2009:

  • Hasheem Thabeet being drafted number 2 overall. This guy can barely walk and chew gum at the same time, let alone play basketball at an NBA level, or a D-League level. He finally landed in a great situation with the Thunder where he doesn’t have to play much and can develop, but this is about to be year 5, and he can’t get on the court.
  • T’Wolves taking back to back point guards at 5+6 hoping 1 would stick failing to realize that there were 2 better pgs on the board (Curry and Jennings) and would have been better off pairing Rubio with someone like DeRozan or Jordan Hill. Flynn is essentially out of the league and was a massive waste of a lottery pick in a stacked draft. Literally any other guard that ranked in the top 10 would have been a better bet.
  • Terrence Williams taken at 11 by the New Jersey Nets. Where to start with his NBA career. This guy has a triple double in the hardest league to play basketball in. 6 pro teams in 5 years (Nets, Armor [D-League], Rockets, Kings, Tigers [Chinese team], Celtics), he is on his way out of the NBA. A physical freak who can do a little bit of everything, sometimes it seems like he does a whole lot of nothing on the court, especially on the defensive end. Maybe Doc Rivers and those vets in Boston can screw his head on straight. His career at Louisville was nothing to scoff at, and pick 11 seemed appropriate at the time. Shame. When a guy can do this(see below), but can’t get on the court, you know there’s problems.

One thought on “Re-Drafting the 2009 NBA Class

  1. Disagree on Evans. His career was highly screwed by playing out of his natural position (SG) on a dysfunctional team. Having D.Cousins as a focal point of a franchise, dealing with relocation rumors, coaching changes etc. Just put any guard “drafted” above him in such situation – are you sure you know what the outcome would be? Jennings and Holiday are very selfish point guards-they pass only when are denied their own shot.. I wonder why Holiday was traded after his “stellar” year – maybe because he didn’t made his teammates better. Just wait and see one more year. Maybe re-draft would be necessary once again

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