I figured since I didn't do a playoff preview this season for each team as I did last year, I'll do a fun little countdown to this year's draft, since that's where my team is going to be instead of the postseason. Well after taking the weekend off, we jump back into the countdown this Monday with the #5 draft on our countdown. This draft looks really promising but as it just happened last year, it's too early to tell what's going to happen long term. In case I didn't yet give it away, the number 5 draft is the 2009 NBA Draft which produced a group of promising young players who all look to have nice careers in the NBA.
Top Ten Drafts of the Last Ten Years
#10: 2000 NBA Draft: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
#9: 2007 NBA Draft: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
#8: 2006 NBA Draft: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
#7: 2001 NBA Draft: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
#6: 2002 NBA Draft: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
#5: 2009 NBA Draft:
1) Los Angeles Clippers - Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma
2) Memphis Grizzlies - Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn
3) Oklahoma City Thunder - James Harden, SG, Arizona State
4) Sacramento Kings - Tyreke Evans, SG, Memphis
5) Minnesota Timberwolves - Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain
6) Minnesota Timberwolves - Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse
7) Golden State Warriors - Stephen Curry, PG, Davidson
8) New York Knicks - Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona
9) Toronto Raptors - DeMar DeRozan, SG, USC
10) Milwaukee Bucks - Brandon Jennings, PG, USA
Pretty impressive top ten list here. Griffin looked to be a sure thing going into the season but suffered an unfortunate knee injury in the preseason and wound up missing the entire season due to the stress fracture in his right knee. Time will tell how he recovers from that injury and adapts to the NBA game. Thabeet, meanwhile, had an awful rookie season, showing a very low basketball IQ and an extremely raw offensive game. He's still got a lot of talent, though, so the jury may wait to deliberate on him. Harden had a nice season as the Thunder's sixth man and showed a good ability to score the basketball. Evans took the league by storm in Sacramento, becoming only the fourth rookie in NBA history to average 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a season. The Timberwolves took what some thought to be the best prospect in the entire draft in Ricky Rubio but couldn't reach a buyout and he's still playing in Spain. They shocked everyone by still taking a point guard with their very next pick and while Flynn put up nice numbers, he had a quiet second half and committed a lot of turnovers. The jury's still out on him. Curry came into the league without a true position but showed that you had to get him on the court regardless. He really showed a terrific all around offensive game all season long. Hill didn't make it his entire rookie season with the Knicks as he was traded to Houston at the deadline and really didn't make a significant impact with either squad. Other than the fact that he could dunk and he was playing in Toronto, I never understood the Vince Carter comparison for DeRozan but he emerged as a solid player with a row offensive game but with a very promising defensive game to go with his fantastic athletic ability. Jennings shocked the league when he scored 55 points back in November and his decision to bypass college in USA to play professional overseas to please the one year rule may have set a trend that many after him look to follow.
11) New Jersey Nets - Terrence Williams, SG, Louisville
12) Charlotte Bobcats - Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke
13) Indiana Pacers - Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina
14) Phoenix Suns - Earl Clark, SF, Louisville
15) Detroit Pistons - Austin Daye, SF, Gonzaga
16) Chicago Bulls - James Johnson, PF, Wake Forest
17) Philadelphia 76ers - Jrue Holiday, PG, UCLA
18) Minnesota Timberwolves - Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina (traded to the Nuggets)
19) Atlanta Hawks - Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest
20) Utah Jazz - Eric Maynor, PG, VCU
Another impressive bunch of guys here. Williams really came on the last month of the regular season and showed he can handle either guard position in a pinch and may have a bright future in this league. Henderson never really caught on in Charlotte but cdracked the rotation a few times for a playoff squad. Hansbrough was the subject of much attention leading up to the draft, and his selection was thought to be a bit of a reach. He only played 29 games, but showed some flashes of being a good player if he were to remain healthy. Earl Clark is seen as a promising prospect in Phoenix but barely got ont he court this season. Austin Daye had a solid but, ultimately, forgettable rookie season in Detroit. The same can be said for Johnson in Chicago although there's still hope that he can produce eventually for the Bulls. Jrue Holiday eventually became the starting point guard for the 76ers as the season progressed. The Timberwolves shocked everyone when they drafted another point guard in Ty Lawson, but they soon traded his rights to the Nuggets where he became a very good back up point guard and looks to be the guy once Chauncey Billups retires. Jeff Teague showed flashes when put into the lineup in Atlanta but the jury's still out on him. Maynor ended up the season with the Oklahoma City Thunder and was good as their back up point guard. Time will tell what future he has as a starter in the league.
21) New Orleans Hornets - Darren Collison, PG, UCLA
22) Portland Trail Blazers - Victor Claver, SF, Spain
23) Sacramento Kings - Omri Casspi, SF, Israel
24) Dallas Mavericks - Byron Mullens, C, Ohio State (traded to the Thunder)
25) Oklahoma City Thunder - Roddy Beaubois, PG, France (traded to the Mavericks)
26) Chicago Bulls - Taj Gibson, PF, USC
27) Memphis Grizzlies - DeMarre Carroll, PF, Missouri
28) Minnesota Timberwolves - Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina
29) Los Angeles Lakers - Toney Douglas, PG, Florida State (traded to the Knicks)
30) Cleveland Cavaliers - Christian Eyenga, SF, Republic of Congo
The really solid drafting continues as Collison emerged as a fantastic point guard when given starter's minutes in place of the injured Chris Paul for New Orleans. As the season progressed, this particular poster developed a serious crush on him and his abilities and now Collison is a hot commodity this offseason. Claver and Eyenga, although drafted, did not play in the NBA this season while Byron Mullens might as well have not played considering he barely got on the court for the Thunder. Omri Casspi developed a strong fan base as the season prgoressed as a result of being from Israel and looks to be a solid player in the league. Beaubois showed flashes of being an explosive offensive talent when given the chance in Dallas and will see an expanded role next season. Gibson made a big splash in Chicago and eventually became the team's starter at power forward, eventually making the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Carroll was a concern due to some health issues that were revealed prior to the draft, but he was still a first rounder and a regular in Memphis' rotation, although his contributions were few and far between. Ellington was a nice player off of Minnesota's bench this season if nothing else while the same can be said for Douglas in New York, where they hope he can eventually be the point guard of the future.
Since this draft just happened last season, when I do the 2nd Round notables, I'm just going to name players who were regulars in the rotation for a good portion of the season. It's too early to see who will and won't make an impact and who will or won't stick around in the NBA. So here goes.
Round Two Notables:
33) Portland Trail Blazers - Dante Cunningham, SF, Villanova
36) Memphis Grizzlies - Sam Young, SF, Pittsburgh
37) San Antonio Spurs - DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh
39) Detroit Pistons - Jonas Jerebko, SF, Sweden
41) Milwaukee Bucks - Jodie Meeks, SG, Kentucky
43) Miami Heat - Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU (traded to the Hornets)
44) Detroit Pistons - Chase Budinger, PF, Arizona (traded to the Rockets)
This was actually a deep second round as well. Cunningham was a semi-regular in Portland's rotation although he didn't produce as much as others in the second round notables did. Sam Young wound up being a nice find for Memphis off of the bench and definitely has a future in the league. Blair was once thought to be a lottery pick, but concerns about his knee caused him to slip all the way to the second round where the Spurs quickly grabbed him at 37. He had a really nice rookie season off the bench for San Antonio as the season progressed. Jerebeko, meanwhile, showed a lot of versatility for the Pistons all season long and even started for the team a good portion of the season. Jodie Meeks is a really talented shooter and ended up the season in Philadelphia where he may start to produce off of the bench. Marcus Thornton had a huge impact for the Hornets, becoming the team's starting shooting guard and actually led all rookies in scoring following the all star break. Budinger was a solid rotation player all season for the Rockets and showed a terrific shooting touch and an underrated ability to finish around the basket.
Notable Undrafted Players:
Wesley Matthews, SG, Marquette - Signed with the Utah Jazz
Matthews impressed so much during the offseason as an undrafted free agent in Utah that they let Ronnie Brewer go so that Matthews could get an increased role at the shooting guard position. He wound up playing in all 82 games for Utah and continued his stellar play in the postseason as well, giving Utah hope for stability at what has been an unstable position for their lineup.
2009-2010 NBA Rookie of the Year: Tyreke Evans
All Stars from the 2009 NBA Draft: None Yet
2009-2010 NBA All-Rookie First Team
2009-2010 NBA All-Rookie Second Team