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2009 NBA Draft (Round 1 Recap)

1.  Las Angeles Clippers – Blake Griffin

The obvious pick here.  Griffin has elite athleticism, and surprising skills for a 6’10” big man.  Not only are his offensive abilities NBA ready, but his defense is nothing to laugh at either.  Whether or not he he will be a franchise cornerstone for the Clips is still up for debate, but it is clear that he will be a very dangerous player in the league for years to come.

Best Case Scenario – Franchise Player (Karl Malone)

Worst Case Scenario – Hard Working Above Average Big Man (Carlos Boozer)

Grade – A

2.  Memphis Grizzlies – Hasheem Thabeet

After getting scared away from selecting Rubio who showed little interest in Memphis, the Grizzlies went with the towering 7’3” big man from Tanzania.  He showed promise under Jim Calhoun, mostly as a defensive player.  In order to be a starter in the NBA, he will need to improve his offensive abilities, as his height alone won’t get him points any longer.  With that said, he can provide the Griz with a shot blocker who can put fear in the minds of players across the league.

Best Case Scenario – Defensive Stalworth (Dikembe Mutumbo)

Worst Case Scenario – Small Time Role Player (Desagna Diop)

Grade – B-

3.  Oklahoma City Thunder – James Harden

Because his game is less flash and more substance, Harden’s true abilities went under the radar, as crazy as that seems for the third pick of the draft.  He will fit in well with the youthful Thunder as they continue to draft intelligently and were in need of a consistent old fashioned scorer.  This pick also solidifies Russell Westbrook’s value to the franchise as GM Sam Presti chose to not select PG Ricky Rubio.

Best Case Scenario – Consistent 2nd Option

Worst Case Scenario – Intelligent Role Player (Aaron McKie)

Grade – A-

4.  Sacramento Kings – Tyreke Evans

The Kings opted for the big guard, Evans, and now the question remains whether or not he can play the point in the NBA.  Yes, he did at Memphis, but in Calipari’s dribble drive offense, his responsibilities were different than what they will be in the NBA.  The Kings fell in love with his ability to get to the basket and that will be one of his better assets in this league.  The greatness of this selection will be determined by Evan’s point guard abilities, as they already have Kevin Martin to play the 2.

Best Case Scenario – High Scoring Guard (Quicker Paul Pierce)

Worst Case Scenario – Tweener Who Can’t Play PG (Shaun Livingston-esque)

Grade – B

5.  Minnesota Timberwolves – Ricky Rubio

Rubio will give the T’wolves a face to their organization as long as he is in town, but that is still up in the air.  His flare and feel for the game will indeed help Minnesota, it is not clear if his body can handle the cruelties of an 82 game NBA season.  This is a player that can build up some revenue for a team that lacks just that.  The PG spot was a huge hole for Minnesota last year, so he will help fill that void, but there is always the chance that Rubio stays in Spain next year.

Best Case Scenario – Star Point Guard With Flare (Steve Nash)

Worst Case Scenario – Above Average Player

Grade – B+

6.  Minnesota Timberwolves – Johnny Flynn

After the T’Wolves selected Rubio with the previous pick, no one thought they would again select a point guard.  But, Minnesota made the confusing decision to go with another lead guard.  It will be interesting to see both of them playing in the same backcourt, or even it will happen.  Both of them are point guards, but with that said, I’m sure Minnesota had some thinking behind this pick.

Best Case Scenario – Balanced Scorer and Passer (Future Rodney Stuckey)

Worst Case Scenario – Spot Starter (Ramon Scessions)

Grade – B

7.  Golden State Warriors – Stephen Curry

The New York fans at MSG were extremely disappointed to see Curry go one pick before them, as the Warriors went for the combo guard from Davidson.  Curry is a good fit in Golden State’s offense, but he will have to make the permanent move to the point.  He perfectly complements slasher Monta Ellis, as their team will certainly be fun to watch for years to come.  As long as he can balance his shots with his teammates, this selection will go down as a good one.

Best Case Scenario – All Star Who Make Clutch, Difficult Shots (Reggie Miller)

Worst Case Scenario – Sharpshooting Role Player (Eddie House)

Grade – A-

8.  New York Knicks – Jordan Hill

This explosive and powerful big man will fit in well with the uptempo Knicks system.  Although the Knicks didn’t get their first choice (Curry), Hill was not just someone that they settled for.  Because of his athleticism and his ability to run the floor, he can prosper in the Knicks’ run and gun offense.  He’ll have to learn to put it all together to really become a dominant player like he can be in the NBA.

Best Case Scenario – Athletic Specimen Inside (Amare Stoudemire)

Worst Case Scenario – Energy Player Off Bench (Jason Maxiell)

Grade – B-

9.  Toronto Raptors – DeMar DeRozan

Toronto will be getting an extremely athletic high-flying wing player, as the unpolished DeRozan will be bringing his game north to Toronto.  After losing Jamario Moon, Toronto had very little athleticism at the wing position.  He will fill this void and in time has the ability to be a special player in the NBA if he begins to show some consistency, unlike his lone season at USC.

Best Case Scenario – High Scoring Wing (JR Smith)

Worst Case Scenario – Journeyman Who Cannot Put It All Together (Gerald Green)

Grade – B

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Brandon Jennings

After showing up late to the draft because he was afraid he would be stuck in the green room, Jennings went to the Bucks, who are in need of a franchise player.  Jennings hope to be that player as he insists that his overseas has made him a better player.  His flashy play will be something new in Milwaukee, but to be successful he will need to decrease his amount of turnovers and raise his shooting percentage.  He can bring promise to the Bucks squad with his youth and creativity.

Best Case Scenario – Uptempo Guard (Chris Paul)

Worst Case Scenario – Energy Off Bench (Louis Williams)

Grade – B-

11.  New Jersey Nets – Terrence Williams

Williams, although not expected to go this high, has a great mixture of athleticism and skill. At Louisville he was a jack of all trades player, and at the NBA level, to be successful he will have to do just that.  If he can become a better shooter, Williams will be extremely dangerous.  His defense will be of use in New Jersey as he is a great perimeter defender.  With the departure of Vince Carter, the Nets will need a wing/guard to step up, and Terrence Williams certainly has the athleticism to do so.

Best Case Scenario – Do It All Athletic Guard (Pietrus)

Worst Case Scenario – Journeyman Without Consistency (Gerald Green)

Grade – C+

12.  Charlotte Bobcats – Gerald Henderson

As an in-state player, this pick was not only made because he is a great basketball player, but also because of the revenue that he can bring into Charlotte.  After having a couple mediocre seasons at Duke, Henderson blew up this year and really stepped up as a big time scorer and defender.  At the NBA level, he will be more of a defender who contributes more as a lockdown defender.  The Bobcats are expecting him to be a Raja Bell type player for them.  At this stage of the draft, it was a good pickup for Charlotte.

Best Case Scenario – Lockdown Defender With Offensive Game (Shane Battier)

Worst Case Scenario – Lockdown Defender (Raja Bell)

Grade – B+

13.  Indiana Pacers – Tyler Hansbrough

Hansbrough’s NBA value has been up in the air ever since he entered college.  Many believe he is the prototypical 12th man, while other say he can be of importance.  The truth is he will be somewhere in between, most likely as a 9th or 10th man that can bring energy into a game.  This may have been a stretch for Hansbrough at 13, but he is a sure thing as a proven winner who is tough near the basket.

Best Case Scenario – Big Man Who Contributes Off Bench – (Carl Landry)

Worst Case Scenario – Not Enough Athleticism To Compete – (Brian Scalabrine)

Grade – C+

14. Phoenix Suns – Earl Clark

This pick was one based on potential.  Clark is skilled and has all the athleticism he needs, but he has never had the mental makeup to be consistent day in and day out.   He will forever be compared to Lamar Odom or Tim Thomas, two other wildly inconsistent do-it-all forwards.  If Clark can get coached well, consistency will come and he can be vital to a team’s success.

Best Case Scenario – Do-It-All Forward (Lamar Odom)

Worst Case Scenario – Inconsistent Do-It-All Forward (Tim Thomas)

Grade – B

15. Detroit Pistons – Austin Daye

Daye declared for the draft after getting a first round guarantee, and even though he is a mere 192 lbs standing at 6-11, the Pistons took a chance on him.  He has the skills to succeed, but his lack of physical and mental strength makes it seem more likely that he will be a career backup.  Unless he either bulks up to become a power forward, or betters his ball handling, he will forever be a 6-11 tweener.  This pick was most certainly a risky one at 15 for GM Joe Dumars, as the Pistons are already in a huge rebuilding plan.

Best Case Scenario – Sweet Shooting Role Player (Kyle Korver)

Worst Case Scenario – Tweener, Not Ready For NBA

Grade – C

16. Chicago Bulls – James Johnson

After Tyler Hansbrough went to the Pacers, the Bulls picked the second player on their list in James Johnson.  He is amazingly quick and agile for someone his size, but his problem is that he is a 6-8 power forward and in the NBA, those are few and far in between.  He will have to find a niche in the NBA by improving his ball handling skills to play more on the perimeter.  If that happens and he is able to utilize his complete array of abilities, watch out because he could be a steal this late in the draft.

Best Case Scenario – Effective Scorer (Antwann Jamison)

Worst Case Scenario – Pick and Pop Big Man (Glen Davis)

Grade – A-

17.  Philadelphia 76’ers – Jrue Holiday

Many teams passed on Holiday because of his shoulder concerns, but the 76’ers were not scared away.  They selected the best player available, and at this stage of the draft, it was clearly Holiday.  He will be their point guard in the future and is not only great offensively, but defensively as well.

Best Case Scenario – Proven Winner, Keeps Teammates Involved (Chris Paul)

Worst Case Scenario – Steady, Consistent PG (Andre Miller)

Grade – A

18.  Minnesota Timberwolves, traded to Denver Nuggets – Ty Lawson

This was a good pickup for the Nuggets, as they get the jet fast Lawson who perfectly complements the steady veteran Chauncey Billups.  If his shooting can become more consistent, Lawson can be a real steal.  He is a proven winner, who at UNC made multiple clutch shots.  He’ll look to continue his winning ways once he later takes over the PG position from Billups.

Best Case Scenario – Playmaker With Scoring Ability (Jameer Nelson)

Worst Case Scenario – PG Off Bench (Brevin Knight)

Grade – B+

19.  Atlanta Hawks – Jeff Teague

Needing a point guard after Acie Law flamed out, Teague became the one.  He will have a athletic cast of players by his side in Josh Smith, Joe Johnson and Al Horford.  Teague looks to score first, so that attitude will have to change, along with his defensive effort.  With his quickness, ability to get to the basket, and electrifying speed, Teague can be the piece of the puzzle that pushes Atlanta into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference if he progresses according to plan.

Best Case Scenario – Combo-Guard With Speed (Devin Harris)

Worst Cast Scenario – Scorer, Setup Man Off Bench (Louis Williams)

Grade – B

20. Utah Jazz – Eric Maynor

The Jazz chose the third point guard in a row by selecting Maynor, the senior out of Virginia Commonwealth.  He knows the game extremely well and always puts his teammates in good situations.  Maynor is not afraid to take a big shot as shown in his game winner against Duke in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.  He can stay in the NBA as a starter or backup if he can start making some perimeter shots as he is currently more of a slasher.  His ability to setup his teammates will serve the Jazz well.

Best Case Scenario – Steady Point Guard, Winner (Chauncey Billups)

Worst Case Scenario – Good Teammate With Playmaking Abilities (Tyronn Lue)

Grade – B+

21. New Orleans Hornets – Darren Collison

The Hornets were in search of a point guard, and they really liked what they saw from Collison.  He is an excellent defender, who is quick and extremely efficient shooting-wise.  Darren is think and will have to grow accustom to the physicality of the NBA game, but he has the mental makeup and defensive ability to stick in the NBA.

Best Case Scenario – Stabilizing PG (Derek Fisher)

Worst Case Scenario – Playmaker Finds Niche (Chris Duhon)

Grade – B

22. Portland Trail Blazers – Victor Claver

Because the Blazers already got a squad of young players, GM Kevin Pritchard elected to go with an international player to keep in out of the NBA for a while.  Claver is expected to join Portland in about three years.  He is an extremely athletic and bouncy forward that can leap with the best of em’.  This is another example of Kevin Pritchard making an intelligent draft choice.

Best Case Scenario – Bouncy, Scoring Forward (Rudy Fernandez)

Worst Case Scenario – Role Energy Player (Eduardo Najera)

Grade – B-

23. Sacramento Kings – Omri Casspi

The Kings were looking to become more physical in the paint and the selection of Casspi definitely reiterates that belief.  He is the first Israeli to ever be selected in the first round of the draft, and he will look to come to the NBA next season.  Expect him to have an instant impact as a hustler on the floor, something that the Kings need to contend in the Western Conference.

Best Case Scenario – Rebounding Hustler (Andres Nocioni)

Worst Case Scenario – Not Enough Athleticism To Compete In NBA

Grade – B

24. Dallas Mavericks, traded to Oklahoma City Thunder – BJ Mullens

This is a player who probably would have entered last year’s draft if not for the age minimum rule.  His stock went down this year as he went from arguably the #1 player in the 2008 recruiting class, to a substitute player on the Ohio St. team.  He has so much room for growth as an athletic 7 footer, but needs to be prepared for each game both mentally and physically.  If he can get good coaching and focus on his growth, this will end up being a good pick.

Best Case Scenario – Above Average Finisher (Andreis Biedrins)

Worst Case Scenario – Energy Shot-Blocker Off Bench (Chris Anderson)

Grade – C+

25. Oklahoma City Thunder, traded to Dallas Mavericks – Rodrigue Beaubois

This combo-guard from France is a dynamic scorer.  He has great speed up and down the floor and will look to be a bundle of energy for the Mavs.  In a couple of years, people could look back at this pick as an absolute steal.

Best Case Scenario – High Scorer Off Bench (Leandro Barbosa)

Worst Case Scenario – A Tweener Guard, Not Enough Size To Play The 2

Grade – B

26. Chicago Bulls – Taj Gibson

This bulky forward will give the Bulls some muscle inside.  This may have been a stretch as no one thought Gibson was a first round player, especially with Dejuan Blair still on board, but the Bulls liked what they saw in the underrated USC star.  He could surprise people with some polishing of his game.

Best Case Scenario – High Energy Finisher (Paul Millsap)

Worst Case Scenario – Stuck On End Of Bench Due To Size Deficiencies (Malik Allen)

Grade – C

27. Memphis Grizzlies – DeMarre Carroll

Although he may not be the most skilled or have the best height for his position, Carroll was a need for the Grizzlies as an energy player who does what he can to win.  He can fit in the NBA as a role player who provides energy, scoring and defense off the pine.  Most winning teams have a player like Carroll, and Memphis is headed in the right direction by picking him.

Best Case Scenario – Defensive Stopper, Scorer Off Bench (Trevor Ariza)

Worst Case Scenario – Inconsistent Off The Bench (Tony Allen)

Grade – B+

28.  Minnesota Timberwolves – Wayne Ellington

As a proven winner and shot-maker, Ellington will give the Wolves two things that they do not already have.  In the past, Minnesota has had more thrashers and less shooters, so Wayne Ellington made sense at this point.  Past guard selections (Rashad McCants, Corey Brewer) have been busts, so they are going to need him to produce.

Best Case Scenario – Sweet Shooting Scorer (Michael Redd)

Worst Case Scenario – Shooter Off Bench (Marco Belinelli)

Grade – B+

29. LA Lakers, traded to New York Knicks – Toney Douglas

Douglas enters NYC as a small combo guard with the ability to score.  He has the chance to take off in the Knicks offense as a fast guard who can score in bunches.  At Florida St. he proved he can score while being the focus of the defense, and in the NBA he will not have to worry about that.  For the Knicks, it was a good pickup as he can prosper in the city.

Best Case Scenario – Combo-Guard With Scoring Abilities (Ben Gordon)

Worst Case Scenario – No Size To Play The 2 (Willie Green)

Grade – A-

30.  Cleveland Cavaliers – Christian Eyenga

This pick was made because the Cavs have a full roster with the addition of Shaq. Eyenga is one of the most athletic players in the draft, but his skill has yet to catch up to his athleticism.  He is playing on the lower level league in Spain, so he still has to play against the best in his own country.  

Best Case Scenario – Athletic Do-It-All Forward (Pietrus)

Worst Case Scenario – Cannot Play In NBA

Grade – C+

Written By: Danny Connors


2 Responses to “2009 NBA Draft (Round 1 Recap)”

  1. I like how Casspi’s best case scenario is Andres Nocioni, another Kings player. Sounds like we’re about on the same page.

  2. Blake Griffen’s best case is a dude like a Boozer… he’s just a high energy guy who won’t get the Clippers over the hump. The rest of this is top notch

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