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2009 NBA Draft Grades

Thu, 06/25/2009 - 10:47pm

This year's NBA Draft was supposed to be boring. The 2009 class was considered the least talented since the dreadful class of 2000. We knew exactly who was going first for months, and there were no crazy trade rumors involving that top pick.

Things don't always play out as they should, though.

The 2009 draft will be known for the plethora of major trades leading up to it. In a very short span, we saw Shaquille O'Neal, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson all land on teams that were already contenders. We also saw the fifth pick of the draft being traded and a bevvy of other, smaller deals. 12 point guards went in the first round with 3 of them taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

So who won? Who lost? It's a year where no team earned an F, but only one earned an A+. And hey, the Los Angeles Clippers even got an A for passing a multiple choice test with only one possible answer.

Note: These grades reflect the dealings of the NBA Draft. No trades that did not involve a draft pick are included.


Atlanta
Draft Grade
Additions Comments



B+
Picks:
(19th) Jeff Teague,
(49th) Sergey Gladyr

Teague is a great fit for the Hawks system. With Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford, the Hawks can afford to take a score-first point to replace Mike Bibby. The Hawks are a fast-paced team and the former Demon Deacon should only help that. They could have added more immediate help in the second round though.
Boston
Draft Grade
Additions Comments
B
Pick:
(58th) Lester Hudson
The Celtics didn't have a lot of options with the third-to-last pick in the draft, but they got some instant value in the 24-year-old Hudson. There may have been better players on the board than the former Tennessee-Martin via Michigan product, but Hudson also could have gone earlier.
Charlotte
Draft Grade
Additions Comments
A
Picks:
(12th) Gerald Henderson,
(40th) Derrick Brown
These are two great, ready-to-play picks for a team that desperately needed some help on the wings. Henderson should be a long-term starter and Brown provides great versatility, capable of guarding three positions. They also sold Oklahoma City the rights to the No. 54 pick, Robert Vaden.
Chicago
Draft Grade
Additions Comments
A-
Picks:
(16th) James Johnson,
(26th) Taj Gibson
In need of a back-to-the-basket scorer and some defensive help, Chicago brings in two guys capable of just those things. There were more talented options available at each spot, but you have to like a team knowing what it needs to succeed. And Johnson may end up a star in his own right.
Cleveland
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

C-
Picks:
(30th) Christian Eyenga,
(46th) Danny Green
The biggest surprise of the first round came at the end of it: Eyenga received little hype coming into the draft. But he's an athletic project who could turn into something special. Green should be an instant role player. But disregarding their cap situation, the Cavaliers should have taken someone ready to contribute in the first.
Dallas
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

C+
Picks:
(25th) Rodrique Beaubois (from Oklahoma City),
(45th) Nick Calathes (from Minnesota),
(56th) Ahmad Nivins (from Portland)
Beaubois could end up being an excellent pick in a few years. He's an athletic point guard with incredible length and the potential to be a solid starter, at least. Trading away BJ Mullens may come back to haunt them. Calathes is a skilled, big combo guard suited for Europe. Nivins might be a nice reserve if he makes the roster.
Denver
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B
Pick:
(18th) Ty Lawson (trade)
Lawson is a very good pick (sent to Denver to honor an owed 1st round pick by Minnesota) who might have been a lottery talent but slipped in a draft loaded with point guards. He might be the fastest player in the draft and should provide a great change of pace to Chauncey Billups. The Nuggets sold Houston the rights to the 34th pick, Sergio Llull.
Detroit
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

C-
Picks:
(15th) Austin Daye,
(35th) DaJuan Summers,
(39th) Jonas Jerebko
Detroit Pistons

Analysis: The Pistons made the three best picks of the second round in Summers, Jerebko and Chase Budinger. They then traded Budinger, the steal of the draft, to Houston. And Daye (promised early in the process) was an exceptionally poor first-round choice with so many better fits and better players available.
Golden State
Draft Grade
Additions Comments




A-
Pick:
(7th) Stephen Curry

Curry is an outstanding fit for the Warriors, a combo guard who plays in contrast to Monta Ellis and should work pretty well with him on offense. Neither will play defense, but that hasn't been a big priority in Golden State. Word is the Curry choice may have been made by Phoenix and the Warriors may ship him off with promising forward Brandan Wright and center Andris Biedrins, (which would be a bad trade for them).

Houston
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

A+
Picks:
(32nd) Jermaine Taylor (from Washington),
(34th) Sergio Llull (from Denver),
(44th) Chase Budinger (from Detroit)

The team with no picks of its own made a major splash in the second round. The Rockets got two ready-to-play wings and a nice project point for three cash packages and a future second rounder. Three possible first round talents in the second round, that's called great maneuvering, especially in the Budinger steal.

Indiana
Draft Grade
Additions Comments




C-
Picks:
(13th) Tyler Hansbrough,
(52nd) A.J. Price
Indiana remained true to their conservative ways, which has to be frustrating for fans hoping for a contender. Hansbrough has the chance to be a nice player for years. His heart and knack for scoring should keep him in the league for a long time. But the 13th pick just seems about 10 spots too high. Price probably would have went undrafted and wasn't the best point guard on the board.
LA Clippers
Draft Grade
Additions Comments


A
Pick:
(1st) Blake Griffin
How do you grade this? On one hand, the Clippers didn't mess up. They took the future stud. Griffin was the only player in this draft who looked like a sure thing. On the other hand, it can't be an A+ because they didn't make any other moves and Griffin can't be called a steal.
LA Lakers
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

C-
Pick:
(59th) Chinemelu Enolu
The defending champs sold the 29th pick, Toney Douglas, to the Knicks. Then they traded the 42nd pick, Patrick Beverly, to the Heat for a future second rounder and cash. They could have used one of those combo guards. Instead, they end up with the raw, underwhelming Texas A&M forward.
Memphis
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

A-
Picks:
(2nd) Hasheem Thabeet,
(27th) DeMarre Carroll,
(36th) Sam Young

The Grizzlies wanted to improve their rebounding, defense and overall toughness. In those regards, this was a great draft. Thabeet certainly makes a lot of sense here and has tremendous potential. Carroll and Young will compete for playing time but each brings something to the table.

Miami
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

C+
Picks:
(42nd) Patrick Beverly,
(60th) Robert Dozier
Both players are pretty solid fits for what the Heat need, but neither was a great pick by any means. Beverley is a combo guard who just got done with a year in low level Ukraine. Dozier, a former Memphis Tiger, can defend. Both players may play in Europe next year. The Heat also got two future second rounders for the 43rd pick, Marcus Thornton.
Milwaukee
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B+
Picks:
(10th) Brandon Jennings,
(41st) Jodie Meeks
Jennings was a great value pick at 10th. He's got the potential to develop into one of the best point guards in the league, and his stock was hurt by his decision to eschew college in favor of Europe. Meeks, on the other hand, wasn't even close to the best shooting guard available.
Minnesota
Draft Grade
Additions Comments


B+
Picks:
(5th) Ricky Rubio (via Washington),
(6th) Jonny Flynn,
(28th) Wayne Ellington,
(47th) Henk Norel

The least-talked about storyline of the draft is that Rubio may stay in Spain for a year or two, which won't please Minnesota fans. Esteve Rubio (Ricky's father): "With this pick, it's possible Ricky plays a year or two more in Europe." Marca.com ... But he's still a tremendous value at 5th, and Flynn and Ellington are also very solid picks. Trading Randy Foye is part of this grade, but it was still a very good draft.

New Jersey
Draft Grade
Additions Comments
C
Pick:
(11th) Terrence Williams
For starters, the Vince Carter blockbuster isn't part of this grade. Williams has the look of a very good NBA role player. But you have to wonder if Gerald Henderson wouldn't have been a better fit for a team that is going to need scoring next year. The Nets' youth movement is nice to see, though.
New Orleans
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

C+
Picks:
(21st) Darren Collison,
(43rd) Marcus Thornton (via Miami)
Your best player is a lightning-quick 6-foot point guard. You're a playoff team near contention. Why would you draft a lightning-quick 6-foot point guard? With that said, Collison is a nice backup, and Thornton's scoring ability is almost enough to look the other way on the first rounder.
New York
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

A-
Pick:
(8th) Jordan Hill
(29) Toney Douglas
The fans booed, but Hill is a great value here, a true power forward who is an upgrade from Al Harrington at the position. He's got the ability to become an absolute stud, and at the least should be a poor man's Jermaine O'Neal. The Darko Milicic trade was nice, though not included in the grade. Douglas gvies them an excellent defender in the back court coming off the bench.
Oklahoma City
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

A
Picks:
(3rd) James Harden,
(24th) B.J. Mullens,(trade)
(54th) Robert Vaden (via Charlotte)
The Thunder came into the night with two open spots in their future starting lineup: shooting guard and center. So they filled them. This is a case where a team drafts for need but gets two really good values in the process. Even Vaden may make the roster.
Orlando
Draft Grade
Additions Comments
N/A
Picks: None

We're not factoring in the Vince Carter trade because it didn't involve a pick, but if we were, the grade here would be an A.

Philadelphia
Draft Grade
Additions Comments


D
Pick:
(17th) Jrue Holiday

Holiday was expected by many to go several spots higher than this. But there wasn't any real reason for it. While he does have potential, Holiday is a true project who seems to have bust written all over him after doing very little with plenty of opportunity at UCLA last season.

Phoenix
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B-
Pick:
(14th) Earl Clark,
(48th) Taylor Griffin,
(57th) Emir Preldzic
The Suns got one of the 10 most talented players in the draft with the 14th pick. The concerns over Clark's intensity seem to be a stretch. But drafting Griffin 48th seemed a little odd, as Blake's older brother probably shouldn't have been drafted.
Portland
Draft Grade
Additions Comments




A-
Picks:
(22nd) Victor Claver (from Dallas),
(31st) Jeff Pendergraph (from Sacramento),
(33rd) Dante Cunningham,
(55th) Patrick Mills
The Blazers already had a loaded roster, so they weren't looking to add much right now. Claver has a lot of talent and won't require a contract for a few years. Pendergraph and Cunningham are both solid value prospects to stow away in the NBDL. Mills should have been taken 20 spots higher.
Sacramento
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

C-
Picks:
(4th) Tyreke Evans,
(23rd) Omri Casspi,
(38th) Jon Brockman (from Portland)
On one hand, the trio adds much-needed toughness to a very soft team. On the other hand, Evans isn't a true point guard and will struggle to get shooters like Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia involved. They should have went with Rubio. Casspi should be a nice addition on the wing, though. Brockman: NBA, really?
San Antonio
Draft Grade
Additions Comments



A
Picks:
(37th) DeJuan Blair,
(51st) Jack McClinton,
(53rd) Nando De Colo

How do these guys just fall into the Spurs' lap? Blair is a perfect fit alongside Duncan and could start next season. That alone deserves an A. But then you factor in McClinton, a potential Eddie House clone, and De Colo, a brilliant passer with potential, and you have an A draft with no first rounders.

Toronto
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B+
Pick:
(9th) DeMar DeRozan
You can't fault a team for taking the best player available at a position of need. But DeRozan may not be the ideal fit. The Raptors can win as soon as next year if they resign Marion, and DeRozan may still be a year or two away. Then again, his athleticism might translate quicker than expected.
Utah
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

C+
Picks:
(20th) Eric Maynor,
(50th) Goran Suton
The Jazz failed to address their need for help on the wings and took two players with very limited upside. Maynor is a nice player who should be a nice backup, but they could have afforded to gamble on a small forward with big potential. Suton lacks NBA-level athleticism and quickness.
Washington
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B-
Picks: None The Minnesota trade that gave away the fifth pick and three bigs for Randy Foye and Mike Miller is looking less desirable now that we know Rubio would have been available. But the Wizards did what they needed to do to win now. Selling the 32nd pick, Jermaine Taylor, also might have been foolish.
j_hughes53
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bucks

I think the bucks should have gotten an A. Jennings looks like a great pick for the 10 spot and Jodie Meeks is very underrated.

xbadgerhustler
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Aran, you were right about Jrue

and how can you not give the Spurs that A+? I would have guessed that Nando and McClinton would go around the Spurs 1st pick (37), but instead they got both guards AND added Blair.

I think Blair is a top 10 guy who just (along with RJ) made the Spurs contenders again

Coherent
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Rockets, Spurs, And Thunder

The rockets spurs and Thunder had the best drafts by far. I'm glad we got Budinger and Taylor... Taylor could start in another year... and Budinger will be a nice role player for many years

Spurs getting Blair is ridiculous.... all he has to do is rebound the ball and he will play a huge role for this team right off.

And OKC, well they got two starters and the rookie of the year in James Harden

fatbastard
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Sacramento draft better than Chicago's

Rodriguez is a steal (Rubio-lite) in the right system, Evans was best available, and Casspi/Brockman bring their hardhats and lunchpails to work everyday. Meanwhile, Johnson is a tweener, Taj hasn't improved much since freshman year and is too skinny and weak for the 4. Gordon now must be resigned and has more leverage. I'd reverse your grades.

Poor Heytvelt - Just say no to shrooms!

mc0827
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I hate Don Nelson!

nelson is such an &$#%#&@!. He took Curry just to screw the knicks over! They needed Jordan Hill and he took curry when they just acquired 2 backup pgs. With no first rounder next year we are destined for a horrible record with no pick in a far deeper draft.

fatbastard
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Nelson

He probably had nothing to do w/ pick. Rumored to be included in Stoudemire deal anyway, If that happens Stoudemire > Hill.

zruc57
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This site hates Jrue Holiday to a ridiculous degree

It seems like the writers have a personal vendetta against the guy or something. I have never seen one positive word written about him. you gave the sixers the worst grade in the draft because they selected a guy at about 10 spots after he was thought to go. getting holliday at 17 is incredible value. Almost every other websites gave them one of the highest grades. don't you think there is something wrong with your analysis? Really the sixers had the worst draft in the NBA? I don't like holiday as a top 10 pick, but you guys got to stop hating. Holliday could have went 45th and you guys would have said its a bad pick.

rastashlomo
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Holla at the Clipp'sssssss

The Clipper's choice was an act of genius, I mean, I knew we'd either get Blake Griffin or Taylor Griffin so I was a happy camper................ Nah shotty but in a real way Derozan is the second coming of t-mac: his fisrt 2 years will be all athletic stuff like dunks and transition blocks but by his 4th year he'll be as good Jefferson at shooting and will prove to be an excellent addition. Jennings is Gary Payton reborn, but with less D.

Everyone saying how great Blair is doesn't have a clear understanding of how many busts have had his skill set and body frame. Just to name some recent ones: Jahidi White, Tractor Traylor, and um..... well u know wat i mean sun!

O.K. don't sleep on Danny Green specifically in PHX cuz they are going to need athleticism and nash needs someone to alley-oop to, so within 3 years he'll get into double digit scoring.

dtmfr
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Pistons grade????? Suton drafted...HA! HA!

Budinger the steal of the draft???????? He'll be in Europe until they figure out he can't play.

Daye a bust?

I tried to set you straight on how talented Goran Suton was but you didn't listen.

As usual, you were DEAD WRONG all along.

japochoboi
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lakers deserve a better grade

they did what they wanted in acquiring cash to pay for the contracts of ariza and odom. this far outweighs anybody they couldve gotten in this draft.

zruc57
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rastashmalo

u named 2 guys comparing them to blair. Jahidi white is not like blair. There are many players with his frame who are succesful. Paul Millsap, Brandon Bass, anthony mason, even boozer. maxiell

The Hoops Manifesto
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A-Plus

A+ for Harden's bow tie. A rather weak draft in terms of suit style. I was expecting Terrence Williams to bring it style-wise and he disappointed.

Jeff Fox
www.hoopsmanifesto.blogspot.com

gta9225
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Mitch Kupchak is truely a moron when it comes to drafts

.

Evan_Milberg
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Pretty Good

Just a few things,

You forgot Toney Douglas to the Knicks' list of additions.

I'd say the only things I disagree with you here is on the Thunder's draft, which I didn't think was worth an A. James Harden was an excellent pick at 3, but the move for Mullens was terrible, and at the same time predictable. Remember, this is the same franchise that's taken risks on Robert Swift, Johan Petro, and Mouhammed Sene. Mullens belongs in the same category of project centers that won't have any impact on their team as failed draft picks. Vaden was a decent pick, though. I would've given them a B+, not an A.

mc0827
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ok

ok fat&$#%#&@! hes just the partime gm along with the coach of the team but he had nothing to do with the pick he also coached the knicks and has every reason to be biter towards them... cmon man know what ur talking about

rtbt
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Lakers and Sacramento with the same Grade?

I'm mystified by the grade that a usually sharp Adi Joseph gave to Sacramento. He gave them a C-, the same rating he gave the Lakers, who essentially picked up nobody in the draft. Are you kidding?

Here are the 3 players selected by Sacramento and my comments.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(4th) Tyreke Evans - He could evolve into an All Star and should become a big time scorer as a shooting guard.

(23rd) Omri Casspi - He might become an outstanding small forward.

(38th) Jon Brockman - A poor man's version of Paul Milsap who might be an excellent role player coming off the bench for 10-15 minutes per game, providing the kind of rebounding boost Sacramento needs. Brockman wasn't too shabby for the 38th pick.

With the players mentioned above, plus Sergio Rodgriguez, who came in a draft day trade, SAC has 4 new guys who completely change the dynamics of their team.. How could anyone give Sacramento the same grade as the Lakers?

I would give Sacramento an A minus. Whatever grade you personally give them, they certainly did far better than LA.

IndianaBasketball
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Fire Larry Bird

You're on point about the Pacers' draft. While other teams are making moves & being aggressive, Bird is being CONSERVATIVE. For a franchise facing bankruptcy & struggling w/ attendance, I just don't think Bird is getting the job done. This city needs some excitement & a playoff appearance! Bird was a great player, but that doesn't mean he's a great judge of talent. That doesn't mean he has ALL that it takes to build a championship team. I've lost confidence in his decision making.

I like Hansbrough, but not well enough to pay him lottery pick money. I feel that we could've gotten him lower in the draft. If Bird wanted him THAT bad, he should've traded down, saved money & possibly picked up another asset. I just don't get it. We also already have a player that brings basically the same thing to the table that Hansbrough will... Jeff Foster. Once again, I think Hansbrough will be a good pro, but there were better players & w/ more upside still available. I also think Hansbrough is undersized & not athletic enough for his position... He will be nothing more than a role player in the NBA. The way he overpowered guys in college won't happen in the NBA anymore. The NBA is a completely different, bigger, meaner & more vicious animal compared to college!

Then he drafts AJ Price. I was speechless. 1st, he wouldn't have gotten drafted. 2nd, he wasn't the best point guard available. 3rd, Bird has talked a lot about getting good character guys. Um, did he forget about Price's brush in w/ the law at UConn?

What's funny is I KNEW Bird would be the idot who took Hansbrough in the lottery. The NBA is about speed, size & athleticism... We now have Rasho Nesterovic, Travis Diener, Josh McRoberts, Jeff Foster, Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy & Tyler Hansbrough... A team full of unathletic & slow white guys. What is Bird trying to build here? The Pacers will be in the lottery next year. We'll get the #1 pick & just watch Bird draft Luke Harangody over John Wall!

RomanG
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Yeah honestly. It was the

Yeah honestly. It was the perfect pick for the Sixers because they have an aging Andre Miller at point guard right now and Holliday can learn from him and get decent minutes as well. Jrue was the hughest rated prospect coming out of high school, it seems like this website has forgotten that. I wonder what theyll say when hes a superstar in a few years...

nickstinger
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Nice Commentary

I agree with 90% of the draft observations Adi, but the Timberwolves received way too generous a grade. Why take 2 point guards back to back in the Top 6 unless you have a beneficial trade in the works at the time. It seems that Kahn is either gonna sit on Rubio's rights while he plays overseas for a year or two and hope some great trade offer comes along. That really sucks for the fans and the players they have for next season that would like to develop and win. Why not take Rubio or Flynn and DeRozan or Henderson since you have no shooting guards there anymore? I think this move will come back to bite them at somepoint, otherwise Kahn is the smartest guy around.

Adi Joseph
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Couple thoughts

First of all, Nick, I agree. Knowing Rubio may not come over this year would have dropped the Timberwolves' grade to a D.

To all the Holiday fans, keep in mind this website never particularly liked Holiday. So I guess we'll see.

As far as Meeks goes, I would argue undrafted players such as Jerel McNeal and Dionte Christmas are better.

But that's the fun part of the draft. We get to wait and see. Thanks for reading. 

mmichnowicz1
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Sixers

Why is Drafting Jrue Holiday so good or bad every site thinks differently of the pick, espn, and si have it as a great pick.
I will have to agree it was bad, because miller will probably leave, and i do not think Holiday is read to contribute yet.
You take 2 point guards because u need Europe insurance, if Rubio does not play you have Flynn. If Rubio Plays you have trade bait.

naganigi
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Just a few things, You

Just a few things,

You forgot Toney Douglas to the Knicks' list of additions.

I'd say the only things I disagree with you here is on the Thunder's draft, which I didn't think was worth an A. James Harden was an excellent pick at 3, but the move for Mullens was terrible, and at the same time predictable. sikiş
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siyah peynir Remember, this is the same franchise that's taken risks on Robert Swift, Johan Petro, and Mouhammed Sene. Mullens belongs in the same category of project centers that won't have any impact on their team as failed draft picks. Vaden was a decent pick, though. I would've given them a B+, not an A.

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