2009 NBA Draft Grades: Round One

steve xiongContributor IJune 26, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 25:  NBA Commissioner David Stern speaks prior to the start of the 2009 NBA Draft at the Wamu Theatre at Madison Square Garden June 25, 2009 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Hello everyone. This is my first article ever so bear with me here as I offer my opinions on the NBA Draft.

1. L.A. Clippers—Blake Griffin

Grade: No brainer, A+

Was there really any doubt that Blake Griffin would go number one? I guess even the Clippers couldn't screw that up. Thank you, Clippers, for wasting five minutes of my life, by the way.

2. Memphis Grizzlies—Hasheem Thabeet

Grade: B-

I would have preferred the Grizzlies move this pick for whoever wanted Ricky Rubio that badly, but obviously they didn't get an offer they couldn't refuse. While Hasheem Thabeet has incredible defensive abilities, I doubt he will ever be a low post scorer.

He somewhat reminds me of Tyson Chandler. I hope Memphis is prepared to play four on five on offense.

Also, what do you do with Marc Gasol now?

3. Oklahoma City Thunder—James Harden

Grade: B+

James Harden actually complements Russell Westbrook's lack of shooting quite well. I feel like he is going to be a solid pro with decent upside. However, I still feel they could have made it work with Rubio and Westbrook in the back court together.

I wonder how much influence Westbrook being adamant about playing point guard and not moving to the two had on OKC not drafting Rubio?

4. Sacramento Kings—Tyreke Evans

Grade: C+

The first pick I really didn't like with Rubio on the board. The Kings started the legendary Beno Udrih last season and they're due for an upgrade.

I am not convinced that Evans is a point guard.

He isn't a great passer as a point guard and not a good shooter as a two. Furthermore, the two is pretty crowded with Kevin Martin and Rashad McCants needing minutes. However, he is a talented scorer as a slasher who will relentlessly attack the basket.

I still feel Rubio should have been the pick here.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves—Ricky Rubio

Grade: A

A steal for the Wolves. Washington must be kicking itself for giving up Rubio for Randy Foye, Mike Miller, and a salary dump.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves—Johnny Flynn

Grade: D to Incomplete

Flynn is not a bad player. This is not a bad pick if he's traded.

I don't care what Timberwolves GM David Kahn says—you can't start the tiny Rubio and Flynn together in the back court. One of the two has got to go. Period.

This only makes sense if Khan does not think he can get Rubio to play for the Wolves because of buyout issues and only drafted Rubio as a trade chip.

7. Golden State Warriors—Stephen Curry

Grade: A

New York fans were really, REALLY mad about this pick. On the flip slide, this is perfect for Golden state. The best shooter in the draft for the shot-happy Warriors? That is a match made in heaven.

What, you say Stephen Curry is too small to pair with Monta Ellis in the backcourt and can't play defense?

That's ok, Don Nelson really doesn't care about that anyway.

8. New York Knicks—Jordan Hill

Grade: B-

Yikes, the New York fans hated this pick even more than the previous pick.

Jordan Hill was definitely the safe pick here. There were still several high-upside prospects left, but Hill is simply safe. He will likely be solid and maybe even make an All-Star Game some day, but star power he does not have.

9. Toronto Raptors—DeMar DeRozan

Grade: A-

The Raptors swung for the fences here. DeMar DeRozan is just oozing with talent and star power, but is very raw. At this point in the draft, he was simply the best talent left. But I am not sure that would be acceptable for Chris Bosh to stay in 2010.

10. Milwaukee Bucks—Brandon Jennings

Grade: C+

Even Brandon Jennings didn't know he would go so high, as he turned down the invite to the green room. Again, another team swung for the fences. However, Jennings did next to nothing in Italy.

This was a riskier pick than DeRozan, who actually played decent at USC. Nonetheless, Jennings is a physical freak and is being taken based on that alone. In addition, this makes Luke Ridnour or Ramon Sessions expendable.

11. New Jersey Nets—Terrence Williams

Grade: B

Terrence Williams is talented, but inconsistent. With the Nets in full rebuilding mode, he will be allowed to learn slowly without pressure (and lose a lot of games in the meantime).

12. Charlotte Bobcats—Gerald Henderson

Grade: B

The commentators joke too much about the college connections. I would fire my GM immediately if college loyalty came before the franchise. With that said, Gerald Henderson is the perfect pick for Larry Brown—he plays defense. However, I liked the upside of Earl Clark here more.

13. Indiana Pacers—Tyler Hansbrough

Grade: C

This is not an attack on Tyler Hansbrough—he should be solid. The Pacers definitely reached for him and it's easy to understand why.

Ever since the Ron Artest brawl, things have not been good in Indiana ticket-sale-wise.

The best way to solve that problem? Pick a good guy who is a winner with a national following after four years at UNC. This pick was used to sell tickets and there were better talents on the board (Earl Clark).

14. Phoenix Suns—Earl Clark

Grade: A-

YES! I know, I like this guy.

This was a pretty easy pick as he was the best talent left on the board. However, with the Shaquille O'Neal trade and other rumors, this pretty much means it's over for Amar'e Stoudemire in Phoenix.

15. Detroit Pistons—Austin Daye

Grade: D

Jesus, Austin Daye is so skinny he would be posted up on by Ty Lawson and still get scored on. Seriously, the dude is 6'11" and 192 pounds. He isn't very athletic either. They say he is skilled, but this kid has bust written all over him.

16. Chicago Bulls—James Johnson

Grade: C

I don't think he is the post scorer Chicago has needed for so long. Johnson is another undersized four that may or may not develop, and I don't like all the chatter about Tyrus Thomas being done in Chicago. Johnson is not nearly as talented as Tyrus.

17. Philadelphia 76ers—Jrue Holiday

Grade: A-

While it's true that Jrue Holiday did nothing at UCLA, he had the most talent left on the board. The Sixers get a steal and insurance for when Andre Miller bails.

18. Denver Nuggets—Ty Lawson

Grade: B+

Great situation for Ty Lawson and a value pick for the Nuggets. He can do well as a change-of-pace guard behind Chauncey Billups.

19. Atlanta Hawks—Jeff Teague

Grade: B+

Can you say, "See you later, Mike Bibby?" First Jamal Crawford, now Jeff Teague, Bibby is done in ATL. Teague is a project with some upside. Good value pick again at this point.

20. Utah Jazz—Eric Maynor

Grade: D

So Utah takes a mediocre point guard who isn't great at anything in the first round to play five minutes a game as Deron Williams' backup with so many other needs?

21. New Orleans Hornets—Darren Collison

Grade: D

See above.

22. Portland Trail Blazer—Victor Claver

Grade: B

So you already have a roster full of young talent and no one on the board is that great anyways?

No problem!

Pick a talented Euro guy and stash him in Europe for a while.

23. Sacremento Kings—Omri Casspi

Grade: B-

See above, except the roster full of young talent part.

Also, the Kings basically traded Artest to the Rockets for Donte Green and this kid. Yep, the Rockets came out way ahead.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder—BJ Mullen

Grade: B+

Yes, I know BJ Mullen did nothing, but it's the 24th pick and OKC could do worse than gamble on an athletic seven-footer when all you have at the five are Nenad Krstic, Nick Collison, and the amazing Robert "not-so" Swift.

25. Dallas Mavericks—Rodrigue Beaubois

Grade: C

See above, as in No. 23. Are the Mavs really wasting Dirk's best years with projects such as this kid? There had better be a trade in the works.

26. Chicago Bulls—Taj Gibson

Grade: C-

Chicago's draft plan: Draft as many fours as you can and one of them has got to pan out as a post scorer. Taj Gibson also has no real upside—he is old and is what he is, not a lot of talent. OK, so Tyrus Thomas' job is looking like it might be lost.

By the way, how can he still be a junior at age 24?

27. Memphis Grizzlies—Demarre Carroll

Grade: C+

Great energy guy who has some skills. At 27, what more can u ask for? Oh, I don't know, maybe Dejuan Blair for God's sake?

28. Minnesota Timberwolves—Wayne Ellington

Grade: A-

Good value pick. After trading Mike Miller, this team could use a shooter considering both the point guards they took are not strong shooters.

29. New York Knicks—Tony Douglas

Grade: B+

So the Knicks spent $3 million just to talk to Tony Douglas? Well, that not a bad deal for Knicks standards. Douglas is definitely a good value pick at 29.

I wonder if Isiah Thomas is still doing draft scouting for the Knicks and whether or not this is an Isiah pick. He always had a good eye in the draft at least.

30. Cleveland Cavailers—Christian Eyenga

Grade: C

See above, as in No. 23. At least they got Shaq, because this kid isn't stopping Lebron James from leaving. Again, like Dallas, there should be a trade in the works with this kid, as he will not contribute before 2010(AKA Doomsday or The second coming depending on your zip code)