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Final Thoughts on the 2009 NBA Draft

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Final Thoughts on the 2009 NBA Draft
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The 2009 NBA Draft has come and gone. 

While some questioned the talent in the draft, there were a lot of story lines that made it an exciting one to cover.

Between the trade talks and the speculation of where the plethora of point guards would land, it was enough to make your head spin, or enough to trade for back-to-back picks and then select back-to-back point guards.

After spending months covering the draft, here are my final thoughts on the night that was the 2009 NBA Draft and the impact it will have on the NBA.

 

Lucky 13

Some gasped, some cringed, and one UNC jersey-clad kid could hardly contain himself when the Indiana Pacers selected Tyler Hansbrough with the 13th overall pick.

My initial thought was good pick, plain and simple.

Since the season ended, there had been talks that Danny Granger would be moving to power forward next season.  These talks had Granger talking about how important it was for the Pacers to get a power forward in the draft.

Indiana had the fifth highest scoring pace at 105.1 points per game last season.  North Carolina was second in the nation at 89.8 points per game in the college ranks. 

Hansbrough can score from anywhere inside the three-point line, and, with the emergence of Troy Murphy and Danny Granger, he should encounter plenty of open looks.

In the NBA Draft, fans get the misconception that every first round pick needs to be an impact player, which is really only the case for the teams picking at the top half of the lottery.

With the 13th pick being a quality starter who can effectively play his role—it is a very good pick. 

Including Hansbrough, the past 10 13th overall picks were Brandon Rush, Julian Wright, Thabo Sefalosha, Sean May, Sebastian Telfair, Marcus Banks, Marcus Haslip, Richard Jefferson, and Courtney Alexander.

The Hansbrough pick is starting to look pretty good.

 

Minnesota Wonder-Wolves

One of my favorite moments of the draft was when the T-Wolves were on the clock with the 18th pick, and my friend and I were joking about how they will pick another point guard—then Ty Lawson was selected.

Lawson was eventually traded to the Denver Nuggets (a great play by Denver), but they still own the rights to Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio.

I am still wondering how these two players will share court time.

Flynn is the more NBA ready of the two, and he should do a good job of getting the ball up and down the next year.

But, Rubio is also a ball-dominant player, and, last time I checked, there is only one rock on the court.

I anticipate seeing a few more moves out of Minnesota this summer, but, if Rubio is truly the player they wanted, I don't see why they didn't draft Stephen Curry or DeMar DeRozan to play off the ball.

I like the T-Wolves pick of Wayne Ellington at 28, but I don't love their draft.

 

Houston We're Solving Problems

The Houston Rockets, who didn't own a pick entering draft night, might have come away with the most successful draft once we have full perspective.

Trading for the rights to second round picks of Jermaine Taylor (32nd pick), Sergio Llull (34th pick), and Chase Budinger (44th pick), Houston managed to find two offensive weapons off the wing and a point guard who compares to Jose Calderon.

Tracy McGrady's days seem numbered in Houston.

He is injury prone and a financial burden on the team.  Taylor is one of the most capable scorers in the class of 2009.  He is an explosive leaper who was the nation's second-leading scorer at 26.6 points per game behind Stephen Curry.

Budinger was getting a lot of first round looks, but teams question how much he really wants it. 

If scouts have misinterpreted Budinger's laid back demeanor and he is more assertive than expected, he could be a starter and a very good scorer in the NBA because the up-and-down style of play suits his abilities.

 

Milwaukee and Memphis Right The Ship

The Bucks added offensive weapons Brandon Jennings and Jodie Meeks, while the Grizzlies added tough, defensive minded players in Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll, and Sam Young.

Both teams made great value picks, grabbing from the top of the best available board as well as addressing team needs.

Memphis added players with high floors, enhancing their budding stars O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay.  Milwaukee didn't play it safe in the draft, but I had Jennings as my top point guard because of his quickness, vision, and scoring ability.

Meeks had one of the highest ceilings of all the second round prospects.

 

Final Thoughts

We are years from knowing how successful the 2009 NBA Draft was from a team and individual perspective.  If we still see the T-Wolves and Kings at the top of the draft in three or four years, we can make pretty good assertions about how the picks went.

One or two of the point guards drafted should be all-stars. 

I would vote Jennings and Rubio right now. 

I question if we will see any Hall of Famers develop from this class, even Blake Griffin will have to beat expectations to get there.

Of this class, I see Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, DeMar Derozan, Brandon Jennings, and Terrence Williams battling for the Rookie of the Year Award.

But, before the season starts, a few rosters could thicken and thin-out before we will know who is going to get the biggest opportunity to help their team.

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