The 2009 draft was believed to be one of the weakest draft in NBA history but it turns out there are a lot of diamonds in the rough slowly emerging as good prospects slowly showing there incandescent glitter as we close the season.
Blake Griffin – His rookie season still has not started yet because of a stress fracture on his left knee the first overall pick will have to play next year when his knees are fully recovered.
Hasheem Thabeet – The number 2 overall draft pick had a slumping year averaging only 3.3 rebounds and 2.9 points per game. He was the former NABC Defensive player of the year (2008) and Big East Player of the year (2009) but the Memphis send Thabeet to the D-league making him the highest drafted player ever to play in the developmental league. It was already mind boggling when the Memphis Grizzlies drafted him considering the number of 7-footers on their lineup including their starting center Marc Gasol.
Jordan Hill – He was very promising when he played 5 games in the summer league averaging almost a double-double with 14 points per game and 8.2 rebounds but Mike D’Antoni seldom used the 6-foot-10 forward playing only 24 games averaging 4 ppg and 2.5 rebounds before he was traded to Houston for Mcgrady. The Knicks had all intentions in drafting Stephen Curry but Golden State went for the steal. They went for the next big thing available unfortunately they forgot about Brandon Jennings and went for Jordan Hill in the end.
Special Mentions: Ricky Rubio, Terrence Williams and Earl Clark
Darren Collison – the 21st overall pick Darren averages almost 12 points and 6 assists per game. When Chris Paul got injured he took Chris’s role and handed out a Hornets record of 18 assists with 17 points last January then broke his own record with 20 assists against Golden State. I wonder why it took him to number 21.
Omri Casspi – It was understandable to see an Israel born player slid down to number 23 in fact it’s already a feat to see an unheard of player like Casspi to be drafted in the first round. At 6-foot-9 Casspi is a decent three point shooter who reminds me more of Rudy Fernandez he has good defense and is a good passer. His 12.1 points and 5 rebounds per game are definitely enough to get him notice.
Rodrique Beaubois- Nobody expected Rodrique to excel this season having a healthy Jason Kidd and backup point guard Jose Barea there is hardly enough room for him to squeeze some playing time. I thought he will be a D-league player this season but when Rick Carlisle gave Rodrique some confidence it converted to instant offense and some nifty assists. Last March 27 Beaubois scored a career-high of 40 points with 9 out of 11 from beyond the arc.
DeJuan Blair-He stands among a number of second round draft picks this season having some double-double nights and standing his ground among the best power forwards in the NBA today. A good steal from the Spurs and still has a lot more coming from the 6-foot-7, 277 lbs. forward.
Special Mentions: Jonas Jerebko, Chase Budinger, Tony Douglas, Ty Lawson,Taj Gibson and James Johnson.
The Rookie Of the Year
Tyreke Evans – At first teams were doubtful on drafting Evans because he was not natural on his position having played small forward in highschool then went to shooting guard in college then converted to point guard until he was drafted. But when he single-handedly outscored the Bulls in the 4th quarter during their December 21st meeting being down by 35 points Evans answered all the doubters and made him an instant Rookie of the year candidate. His first career triple-double against Toronto isn’t a fluke actually Evans has been going at it since his college days. What gives Evans an edge on all ROY candidates is that he has the consistency.
Brandon Jennings- He has the confidence and the right arsenal to be a scoring point guard in the league. He scored 55 points against Golden State and became the second rookie to score 55 points behind Earl Monroe’s 56 points way back in 1968. He may be erratic at times and had problem with consistency. The only dilemma Jennings is facing after scoring that much is that every game people expect him to be dominant. He is the clear definition of an unpolished rock give him two to three years and will see a diamond in the making.
Stephen Curry- He shoots like his dad but he is far more talented than his father. I describe Stephen as the younger version of Steve Nash. He shoots the ball well and he passes the ball well. He is slowly turning into a perennial point guard in the NBA.
Special Mentions: DeMar Derozan, James Harden and Jonny Flynn