Friday, June 27, 2014

Let's judge the Draft! The 2009 Draft, that is.

Steph over Griffin? Debatable. 
I despise the media habit of giving grades the day after the NBA Draft. The truth is, we do not, and will not, know how the 2014 NBA Draft will play out until it actually plays out. What we CAN do is look back at the 2009 NBA Draft and make some judgements about it. 

As a disclaimer, yes, I understand that a ranking of ANYTHING, let alone NBA players, is subjective. You may not agree with how we re-rank the 2009 Draft. (I can't sleep so I thought a look back at who should have been in the top 15 might be fun.) 

As it stands, five NBA All-Stars were among the 60 selected in 2009. Ten players taken never suited up for a single NBA game. The highest pick no longer in the NBA in Jonny Flynn who was selected sixth by Minnesota. 

The re-draft begins... 

1. Stephen Curry. ...Steph was picked seventh in 2009. The first pick in that Draft was Blake Griffin. You could certainly argue in favor of Kia's Griffin Force leader but we would go with Steph Curry if given a chance to do it over. Curry is an All-Star beloved by fans. He made 2nd team All-NBA in 2013-14. 

2. Blake Griffin. ...Griffin was also 2nd team All-NBA in 2013-14. The second pick in 2009 regretfully was Hasheem Thabeet. Thabeet, five years later, has trouble getting into an NBA game. 

3. James Harden. ...Harden was first team All-NBA in 2013-14. You could make a case for any order of Curry, Griffin and Harden. Those three were head and shoulders the best of the 2009 class. Harden did go third in 2009. 

4. Demar DeRozan. ...Things get really subjective in the next handful of picks. DeRozan cracked the NBA All-Star level in 2013-14 so he gets the nod here at four. DeRozan was taken ninth in 2009. The fourth pick in `09 turned out to the Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans. 

Jrue, when not hurt, can ball. 
5. Jrue Holiday. ...The last of the 2009 draftees to make an All-Star team is Jrue Holiday. He slid all the way to 17th in 2009. The fifth pick was Ricky Rubio. 

6. Ty Lawson. ...Lawson went right after Holiday in 2009 as the 18th pick to, "point guard stocking," Minnesota. He was traded to Denver. As mentioned above, the sixth pick in 2009 was Jonny Flynn. 

7. Tyreke Evans. ...Five years after the fact, you could go many different ways with the seventh pick. Evans continues to be wildly inconsistent but when he's "on" he can still do things others simply cannot. 

8. Jeff Teague. ...Teague is a solid NBA starter. He was picked 19th in what turned out to be a really good crop of guards from one single draft. The eighth pick in `09 was Jordan Hill. 

9. Taj Gibson. ...I reach for Taj Gibson with the ninth pick after considering at least three other players. Taj has served his time as backup in the NBA. He is ready to be a full-time starter now. In 2009 Gibson went 26th. 

10. Patty Mills. ...There are players with more hype and more total production on the board but Mills is ascending quickly. In his fifth year he "got it", lost weight, and helped the Spurs win an NBA Championship. Like Taj Gibson, Mills is now ready to be a starter in the league. 

11. Darren Collison. ...Another example of the depth of point guards in 2009. Collison went 21st. The eleventh pick in `09 was Terrence Williams. Williams was last seen being waived by a team in Puerto Rico after a stint in the D-League. 

12. Ricky Rubio. ...One could argue for Rubio to be picked higher. In 2009 the 12th selection was Gerald Henderson. 

13. Jordan Hill. ...Like others in the 2009 Draft, Hill may still be getting better. In limited chances for the Lakers in 2013-14, Hill was very productive on a per-minute basis. The 13th pick in `09 was Tyler Hansbrough. 

14. Brandon Jennings. ...I would expect some push-back on having Jennings rated this low. He has been a productive player in the NBA. The feeling here is that he is still seemingly looking out for himself more often than he is looking out for the team. In 2009 the 14th pick was Earl Clark. 

15. Danny Green. ...Green was selected 46th. In hindsight, this was one of the best value picks of the 2009 NBA Draft. The 15th pick in `09 was Austin Daye. 

...The next eight picks should have been... DaJuan Blair, Wesley Matthews (he was not drafted at all!), DeMarre Carroll, Gerald Henderson, Patrick Beverley, Jodie Meeks, Omri Casspi, and Nando De Colo. 

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