NBA Draft 2009, Really?
Posted by demsksports on June 26, 2009
The 2009 NBA Draft has come and gone almost without a whisper. To put it in perspective, what NBA Draft has ever gotten less ESPN coverage than Major League Baseball? Ever? Never. However, even with the level of talent low, the draft did provide more than it’s share of conversation material. Here is my pick-by-pick breakdown:
1. Blake Griffin, LA Clippers- Almost sad to see a generational talent go to the worst franchise in basketball, possibly sports. He will be an all-star in LA within 3 years but I hope he can get out to enjoy his prime with a playoff team.
2. Hasheem Thabeet, Memphis Grizzlies- I don’t see the Mutumbo comparison. Mutumbo was an absolute beast who put up good offensive numbersfor a couple seasons, a potential I don’t see here. With Thabeet I see a 7 foot 3 guy who has no idea where he is half the time. He cannot be easy to coach as he barely speaks English and has very little basketball instinct. I barely see this guy as a top 8 pick in a good draft, unbelievable that he goes 2 over Rubio. I guess that’s what happens when you’re the Grizzlies and you scare off every single player in Europe by selling off their pride and joy like he’s a spoiled fish.
3. James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder- I like Harden, but as a 3 pick? Over Rubio? Is Russell Westbrook really that good of a PG to not just move over to SG in favor of the best point guard in the draft? I like a Rubio and Westbrook backcourt a lot more than a Westbrook-Harden tandem. I don’t know, I like the pick but I don’t. Rubio could have made Durant a MVP in 3-4 years.
4. Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings- Once again, over Rubio? A good player but not a true point guard thus not what the Kings need. Is it just me or is it that whenever anyone has talked about the NBA in the past seven years, they never talk about the Kings? They have become the most obsolete team in the league. Let’s take a look at their last 5 first rounds picks: Kevin Martin (26), Francisco Garcia (23), Quincy Douby (19), Spencer Hawes (10), Jason Thompson (12). Is it just me or do the Kings pick worse and worse players withlower picks? If this trend continues, we could be looking at the next Dajuan Wagner in Evans.
5. Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves (from Washington)- Time to shoot yourself in the mouth Ernie Grunfeld as Washington’s worst nightmare happens with Rubio falling to 5. The Wizards don’t make this trade and this is their starting lineup for next year: PG- Rubio SG- Arenas SF- Butler PF- Jamison C- Haywood with DeShawn Stephenson as the 6th man. Don’t tell me that team doesn’t compete with Chicago, Miami, andAtlanta for the 4 seed in the East. Now withveteran scorers Arenas, Butler, Jamison, Foye, and Miller having to compete for touches without a natural point, there’s a whole different feel to the Wizards. And it’s not a good feel.
6. Jonny Flynn, Minnesota Timberwolves- The 2nd point guard taken in a row by Minnesota. Wait, what? I like taking the best available in Flynn and I think both Rubio and Flynn have all-star potential, but on the same team? You have to trade one, right? Personally, I take Flynn and see if I can overvalue Rubio to some wannabe contender. Or I take Rubio and hope he’s the next Jason Kidd. Hope being an understatement. I get on my knees and pray.
7. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors- I like Curry here just on best available status alone, but why not milk the Knicks for him? New York made their interest in Curry very public and I don’t see why the Warriors wouldn’t swap picks with them, getting above-value for Curry. You already have Monta Ellis, how many undersized point/shooting guard hybrids do you need? People, Stephen Curry wasn’t even the best point guard for Davidson until his junior year, can we really project he can start there in the NBA? If I’m the Knicks I pull the string and let him run wild with D’Antoni, but they dont and they get…
8. Jordan Hill, New York Knicks- If his guy was so good, how come nobody this side of the desert heard of him until mock drafts started coming out? To me he looks like a freak of nature who dominated inferior athletes in college but won’t be able to match the talent level of the NBA. Hello, Chris Wilcox.
9. DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors- Second straight pick I never really heard a lick about until draft projections started coming out. Looks to have good size and skill but from the way they’re talking about him it seems he might be a dunce. Last year’s Pac10 Tournament MOP is quickly cancelled out by the fact that his best friend is Lil’ Romeo. But really, DeMar DeRozan, is this what the 2009 Draft has come to?
10. Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks- There were two projected first round picks in this draft that I thought to myself I would never take as a GM, B.J Mullens from Ohio State and Jennings. The former being because he couldn’t get minutes or prove to be the least bit effective in the Big Ten. The latter because, well, he couldn’t break an 800 on the SAT that he took THREE TIMES. He failed the SATs to the point where had to pack up and play in Europe for a year because he was too stupid to qualify for the NCAA’s ridiculous minimal reqs. To add to this, he didn’t even have a good year in Europe. And because of all this, the Bucks take him higher than projected at 10 as their PG and team leader of the future? Moronic.
Jennings also provided another candidate for the “stupidest thing I will ever see in my life” by showing up on stage four picks after being drafted for his photosoot with the Commish. The dude chose to wait in his hotel room in Manhattan rather than waiting in the green room. If a player isn’t sure if he’s going in the top 20 to the point that he’s scared of being Rashard Lewis or Maciej Lampe, is it a good idea to make him a top 10 pick?
11. Terrence Williams, New Jersey Nets- First pick I like since Curry, a great defender with actual potential to be a contributor on a winning team. Smart, mature, well-spoken, all of which are characteristics that seem to have been thrown out the window as important in this year’s draft. Nice comeback by the Nets after trading their best player for Courtney Lee and Skip-to-my-backup Devin Harris.
12. Gerald Henderson, Charlotte Bocats- MJ finally picks a Blue Devil. Son of a former NBA player. Sounds like it could actually be a decent pick in a couple years. I like Henderson as a good energy player off the bench (Shannon Brown prototype), but do you want that as a lottery pick?
13. Tyler Hansborough, Indiana Pacers- After all the haters for the past four years saying he wasn’t a first round pick, Hansborough looks brilliant for waiting to come out until the worst draft in the past decade came around so he could slip into the first round. Wait, he’s a lottery pick? Tyler Hansborough is a lottery pick. Just say it, it sounds weird. I like it though, possibly the last big man picked in the first round with contributing potential (James Johnson?).
14. Earl Clark, Phoenix Suns- I actually can say I watched a lot of Louisville games (is it just me or is the Big East always on TV?) and Clark is a good player. Very inconsistent but a good player. But should a player with a rotation player ceiling be picked at 14? This year, sure.
15. Austin Daye, Detroit Pistons- The only guy in the draft I think I could take in the ring. He is 6’11″, 192 pounds. That is ridiculous. He is going to get pounded at the three. Can you imagine the abuse LeBron is going to hand this kid over the course of his career in the East? Never saw anything out of him at Gonzaga.
16. James Johnson, Chicago Bulls- I like the Bulls getting a bruiser to compliment their long, athletic bigs. This pick leaves DeJuan Blair as the only big man left who I think can contribute for a title contender.
17. Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers- I like this pick a lot more than most people do. Holiday had a very disappointing year at UCLA (and definitely should have stayed for one more year) because he chose to backup a four-year starter in Darren Collison and play in a system unfit for him. Does a couple poor decisions mean he won’t live up to his high school hype? No, he could be OK. In front of Lawson is a risk, but there is a prospective reward.
18. Ty Lawson, Minnesota Timberwolves (immediately traded to Denver)- Kinda sad he got traded so quickly, I was loving Roy Williams’ reaction to the T-Wolves picking their third point guard. As far as the pick, I love it, second to last point guard taken who I think will be an NBA starter (Eric Maynor). Have him sit behind Billups for a few years then run an exciting half court offense, sounds good to me.
19. Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks- I guess he’s ok, but ahead of Maynor? No.
20. Eric Maynor, Utah Jazz- Would have been a lottery pick had he not gone to Virginia Commonwealth and people outside of Richmond, VA had seen him in the past two years. He will be the backup until he finds another team. Definitely see him as a starter down the road if he doesn’t rot on the Jazz bench.
21. Darren Collison, New Orleans Hornets- The first time in the draft I thought Blair should have gone. The Hornets are deep, but they aren’t big up front. Between Chandler, West, Julian Wright, and Hilton Armstrong, there isn’t one guy I think twice about boxing out if I’m an NBA power forward. Collison comes in to compete for CP3′s backup job with Antonio Daniels. Isn’t 21 a spot you look for an immediate contributor? DeJuan Blair Misses (DBM): 1
22. Victor Claver, Portland Trail Blazers (from Dallas)- ??? Do the Trail Blazers think if they keep drafting Europeans nobody has ever heard of that other teams won’t see them coming? Unfortunate that all the point guards went before this pick, I would have loved to see Lawson run this offense for 15 minutes a game.
23. Omri Casspi, Sacramento Kings (from Houston)- Love the Israeli getting picked in the first, Jews represent. And if the Sacramento trend continues, we could be looking at a future All-Star!! (Yeah…)
24. B.J. Mullens, Dallas Mavericks (from Portland, traded to OKC)- Funny that this pick got traded two times, because you couldn’t pay me to take this guy. Watching him play last year was painful, but you always heard the first round talk based on size and potential. I understand the value of a true center, but not if he can’t play…
25. Rodrigue Beaubois, Oklahoma City Thunder (from San Antonio, traded to Dallas)- I have no idea who this is, but he was traded for B.J. Mullens so I’m assuming he was not a good pick.
26. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls (from Denver, via OKC)- Didn’t James Johnson fill the void for a warrior in the paint for Chicago? Gibson is a good player but he is 24 and still has gaping holes in his game. Do you really give a guaranteed contract to him over guys like Blair and Wayne Ellington (who was the sensible pick to fill the void that will be left by Ben Gordon)?
27. DeMarre Carroll, Memphis Grizzlies (from Orlando)- This is a guy who was probably going to go undrafted before being “the guy with the sweet dreads” who helped Missouri get to the Elite 8 this past March. The Renaldo Balkman of this year’s draft. Gotta take Blair here. Now the Grizz PFs (Carroll and Darrell Arthur) average 6’8.5, 216, saying that’s a little light is an understatement. That’s Lindsay Lohan waif for NBA power forwards. DBM: 2
28. Wayne Ellington, Minnesota Timberwolves (from Boston)- The first “steal” of the draft since Rubio. Do people forget how money this guy was for UNC down the stretch? He shot 80% from three in the Final 4. Great pick and a good job overall in the first round by Minnesota if they are able to someday cash in on either Rubio or Flynn.
29. Toney Douglas, Los Angeles Lakers (traded to New York)- The only thing this pick did was further complicate the Rubio to the Knicks prospective deal.
30. Christian Eyenga, Cleveland Cavaliers- Once again, don’t know who he is. If you’re Cleveland didn’t you have major issues defending in the paint last year? Don’t you need a force in the paint to at least slow down the likes of Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard? DeJuan Blair can do that. I know you just got Shaq, but can Christian Eyenga do anything? Probably not. DBM: 3
Is it just me or did every player after Jennings at 10 (a pick I still hate), with the exception of Lawson, Maynor, and Ellington, go at least ten spots higher than they would have in a normal draft class? This draft class is a lot worse than I thought.
Notable 2nd Round Picks:
32. Jermaine Taylor, Washington Wizards (Traded to Houston)- Worst pick of the NBA draft. I know I’ve been whining about how far Blair has slipped for a while, but nobody needed him more than the Not-so-Wiz Kids. Aside from Brenda “Not a Typo” Haywood, the team doesn’t have a guy who weighs more than 250 pounds. When you already have seven shooting guards (sorry, not passing off Gilb or Mike James as point guards) on your roster, does another one in the second round make any sense? I know they eventually traded him, but still the worst miss of the draft. This combined with essentially trading Rubio for Mike Miller and Randy Foye, the Wizards have officially the worst draft in the league. DBM: 4
36. Sam Young, Memphis Grizzlies- How the Grizzlies got a second round talent in Carroll in the first round and a borderline first round talent in Young in the second is a testament to the overall ineptitude of the NBA in this draft.
37. DeJuan Blair, San Antonio Spurs (from Golden State, via Phoenix)- Finally. Can’t believe he fell that far. Did people really forget how he manhandled the 2nd overall pick in Thabeet? He plays a lot bigger than his undersized 6’7″ andif he can develop a mid-range game he’s Glen Davis with balls. Last player in the draft who could start for a champion.
41. Jodie Meeks, Milwaukee Bucks- Rarely would I say I like a team’s 41st overall pick better than the 10th, but I like an accomplished player coming in to backup Michael Redd and be a spark off the bench much more than I like a completely unaccomplished player coming in to run the team. Guy scored 54 points in a game vs. Tennessee this year, that’s ridiculous. Good pick.
44. Chase Budinger, Detroit Pistons (traded to Houston)- Shoulda stuck to volleyball, Chasey boy. Has anyone’s stock dropped as much as his in the past 3 years?
45. Nick Calathes, Minnesota Timberwolves(from Philadelphia via Miami, traded to Dallas)- Top ranked PG in his high school draft class left Florida after two years to go play in Europe. Sad because he’s another good American talent going overseas, as he has signed a 3-year deal to play in Greece. So far the trend hasn’t hit too hard, but how long will it take before it does?
46. Danny Green, Cleveland Cavaliers (from Chicago)- Nice player at UNC, thought he had 1st round talent in spurts. Can do a little bit of everything and I think his verstality will come in handy playing the 2 or 3 for the ten minutes a game that LeBron is on the bench.
48. Taylor Griffin, Phoenix Suns- Looks like Suns are hoping that Taylor has a little more Blake in him than anyone sees. That worked out with Robin Lopez last year right? Oh yea…
55. Patrick Mills, Portland Trailblazers- Guy was a projected first rounder until late season injuries set him back to here. Let’s not forget he had 20 points and no turnovers against the Redeam Team in the Olympics playing for his native Australia.
As I watched the NBA draft last night I was in awe. Not only was the caliber of player almost dangerously below average, the vibe in the theatre was almost joyless. Add in the “new economy” dynamic that was the cause behind some otherwise head-scratchers, and this was the most surreal draft I have ever watched. In what other draft does Austin Daye go ahead of Ty Lawson and Eric Maynor? Does a comparative talent like DeJuan Blair slide to the mid 2nd round? Does one team take four point guards in the first 45 picks? I don’t know the answers to any of those questions, but I do know I never want to see a draft like this again.