What’s up, everybody? Hope all has been well.
I haven’t made a post since April 10, and I apologize to those who enjoyed my columns. I also apologize to those who criticized the columns, despised my analysis, because now you’re reading another one, wondering why I’ve come back.
Anyway, I’ve been covering The University of Alabama the past six or seven months (mainly football, basketball and recruiting) and I’m now focusing on the homestretch of my senior year at the Capstone, as I’m graduating in December.
I mainly covered football and recruiting during my Bleacher Report absence, so I’ve been itching to write some type of basketball article, college or pro.
All that time to think, and no solid ideas came to mind. I could post my college basketball preseason top 25, but I’m sure you’ve seen enough of those by now to want to gouge your eyes out, a tactic recently perfected by Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes.
Or I could write which NBA teams I think are going to make a run at the title this season, but you know the contenders.
Then, I looked back to that April 10 article, and it hit me: I would take the actual results of the 2009 NBA draft and offer analysis in the same way: objectively, offensively and seriously. So there you go. Enjoy.
1. Los Angeles Clippers took Oklahoma F Blake Griffin: I sympathized with the family of Michael Jackson on June 25, the day of his sudden, untimely death. Everyone had the Jacksons on their minds and in their prayers. The Clippers did, too, on this day, the same day as the draft. Los Angeles selected Griffin, a pick that was easy as A-B-C, 1-2-3.
2. Memphis Grizzlies took Connecticut C Hasheem Thabeet: I said bust then, and I say bust now. He did have four blocks in 12 minutes in a game this November, but also fouled out.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder took Arizona State G James Harden: Good pick for the Thunder. This team is putting together some very solid pieces.
4. Sacramento Kings took Memphis G Tyreke Evans: Another good top-five pick, and not too surprising. Ricky Rubio was still on the board, but apparently these teams knew something we didn’t. Spoke too soon, the Timberwolves didn’t know.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves took Italian G Ricky Rubio: Weeks after the draft, Rubio chose to stay in Spain to play. Details about his contract were problematic, sure, but I wouldn’t want to be in Minnesota, either.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves took Syracuse G Jonny Flynn: He’s been one of the best rookies so far, though the season is in its infancy stage. Guess Minnesota redeemed itself from that Rubio pick ASAP.
7. Golden State Warriors took Davidson G Stephen Curry: After Curry was drafted, he “tweeted” that he was “gonna catch some Zs” on the flight to California. I’ll catch some Zs watching the Warriors try to play defense this season.
8. New York Knicks took Arizona F Jordan Hill: Coach Mike D’Antoni said at the time of the draft that Hill reminded him of Amare Stoudemire. Ha! Hill has played just 1:45 clock time more than me so far this season. I’ve also scored as many points as Hill.
9. Toronto Raptors took USC G DeMar DeRozan: He’s a project, for sure, but it’ll be worth it for Toronto in the end. I really like DeRozan’s upside as a scorer and defender.
10. Milwaukee Bucks took Italy G Brandon Jennings: Jennings got grilled pretty good for going overseas to pursue the big bucks instead of enrolling at Arizona, even if for one year. Now, he’s making his critics pay.
11. New Jersey Nets took Louisville G Terrence Williams: It feels good to be right about at least one player. I praised Williams enough for two people during his senior season leading up to the draft, and he was even taken higher than I expected. Good for him.
12. Charlotte Bobcats took Duke G Gerald Henderson: The good news is Henderson didn’t have to relocate very far from where he played in college. The bad news is that place is, indeed, Charlotte.
13. Indiana Pacers took North Carolina F Tyler Hansbrough: I understand the Pacers wanted a tough, interior presence. But with a lottery pick, I have to question taking Hansbrough this early.
14. Phoenix Suns took Louisville F Earl Clark: Another understandable pick in the first round. Clark brings athleticism and a defensive presence to a Suns team that definitely needs it. Thought he’d go sooner, though.
15. Detroit Pistons took Gonzaga F Austin Daye: Who better to be Tayshaun Prince’s understudy at small forward? Daye is a seemingly famished player that can bury the outside shot, just like Prince.
16. Chicago Bulls took Wake Forest F James Johnson: I said in April that Wake players understand the first round, and first round only (see 2009 NCAA Tournament). Well, guess I was wrong, as Johnson has done nothing.
17. Philadelphia 76ers took UCLA G Jrue Holiday: Still a very young player, but I think he’ll be Philly’s starting point guard for a long time to come.
18. Denver Nuggets (from Miami and Minnesota) took North Carolina G Ty Lawson: I said in April Lawson should be one of the first five picks. I stand by that pick, but I’m sure the Nuggets don’t mind him slipping to No. 18.
19. Atlanta Hawks took Wake Forest G Jeff Teague: See pick No. 16. Kidding aside, I think Teague will be a solid playmaker at point guard.
20. Utah Jazz took VCU G Eric Maynor: I like this pick for Utah. Deron Williams needed a backup, and the Jazz got him in Maynor. It’ll take a while, as it does with most rookies, but Maynor should be a solid backup.
21. New Orleans Hornets took UCLA G Darren Collison: Um, why?
22. Portland Trail Blazers took Spanish F Victor Claver: Bet Portland wishes it would have selected DeJuan Blair now.
23. Sacramento Kings took Israeli F Omri Casspi: Would have never thought Casspi would already be getting the minutes he’s playing. Then again, it is Sacramento.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Dallas and Portland) took Ohio State C BJ Mullens: At least the Thunder went ahead and got a legitimate first-rounder in Harden.
25. Dallas Mavericks (from Oklahoma City and San Antonio) took French G Rodrigue Beaubois: I’m gonna be honest, I have no idea what to say. Not because this was an outlandish pick, but because I don’t know much about Beaubois. Not even how to pronounce that name.
26. Chicago Bulls (from Oklahoma City and Denver) took USC F Taj Gibson: Ready or not, Gibson is set to be a starter for the Bulls with Tyrus Thomas out with a broken arm. Gibson has been a really good backup thus far, so expect his numbers to skyrocket, perhaps as much as some former USC athletes were paid.
27. Memphis Grizzlies took Missouri F DeMarre Carroll: The better of the two first-round picks for the Grizzlies. Yes, that’s a shot at you, Hasheem Thabeet.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves took North Carolina G Wayne Ellington: Management had to replace an overrated shooting guard from North Carolina, right? Exit Rashad McCants, enter Ellington.
29. New York Knicks (from LA Lakers) took Florida State G Toney Douglas: Oh, how things can turn for the worse so quickly, thinking you’re a Laker and ending up a Knick. Did I say worse? I meant worst.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers took Congo F Christian Eyenga: D’oh! Blair, Sam Young and Jeff Pendergraph were still on the board. Well, the first round started out with intelligent selections, but didn’t close the same way.