Nathaniel S. Butler

Do-Over: 2009 NBA Draft

If we re-did the 2009 Draft with the knowledge we have today, with what pick would Stephen Curry be selected?

Too small. Not strong enough. An average athlete who will struggle to match up with opposing guards.

These were just a few of the knocks against Stephen Curry in the lead-up to the 2009 NBA Draft, a day that forever altered the course of the Warriors franchise. A darling of the NCAA tournament, everyone knew Curry could shoot the lights out, but many doubts persisted about his ability to make the same kind of impact at the NBA level. Almost exactly five years later, this much is for sure: not all scouting reports are created equal.

Whatever it took for Curry to slip to the seventh pick in that 2009 Draft, you can bet the Warriors aren’t complaining. They say hindsight is 20/20, and after watching Curry ascend to greater heights yet again this past season, culminating in his first-ever All-Star and All-NBA selections, there’s no doubt there’s numerous other current or ex-GM’s kicking themselves for missing out on one of the league’s most electric and promising young stars.

2009 Draft Class Statistical Leaders (Career)
Player PPG
Blake Griffin (LAC) 21.4
Stephen Curry (GSW) 20.3
James Harden (OKC) 18.0
Tyreke Evans (SAC) 16.8
DeMar DeRozan 16.7
Player APG
Ricky Rubio (MIN) 8.1
Stephen Curry (GSW) 6.7
Brandon Jennings (MIL) 6.1
Jrue Holiday (PHI) 6.0
Ty Lawson (MIN) 5.9
Player 3PTM
Stephen Curry (GSW) 905
Brandon Jennings (MIL) 699
James Harden (OKC) 676
Marcus Thornton (MIA) 562
Jodie Meeks (MIL) 561

Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. While every team would love to have Curry, that 2009 Draft also boasted the likes of fellow All-Stars Blake Griffin, James Harden, and DeMar DeRozan, who went first, third, and ninth overall, respectively. Furthermore, several quality starters and role players could be found later in the draft, such as Brandon Jennings, Gerald Henderson, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Darren Collison, Taj Gibson, DeJuan Blair, Patrick Beverley, Danny Green, and Patty Mills. Obviously certain players are expected to be better than others, hence the reason why they’re selected higher. But being successful in the draft isn’t about getting the top picks; it’s about making the best pick in a given scenario. Just ask the Spurs, who just won yet another Championship aided tremendously by that strategy.

That’s the situation currently facing the vast majority of NBA teams, with the draft merely four days away. The Warriors don’t happen to be one of them, or at least not to the same degree, given the fact that they do not possess a draft pick at this time. But in order to illuminate the cruciality of maximizing value in the draft, we thought we’d take a look back at the drafts of certain current Warriors to see what the drastic difference between a hit and a miss can mean. And where better to start than where everything begins with the Warriors: Curry, of course.

There’s no denying his superstar status anymore. That time came and went long ago. Whereas all conversations regarding Curry a couple years ago surrounded the status of his chronic ankle injuries, the sound of Curry’s three’s splashing through the net now drowns out any semblance of doubt. He’s firmly planted himself in the conversation of best point guard in the league on any given night, and his recent selection to the All-NBA Second Team only confirms that. There is no better shooter on the planet, and he’s rapidly improved as a facilitator and ball-handler, as well as on the defensive end. With each and every season that passes, the more it feels like the Dubs got away with highway robbery when they selected him with the seventh pick.

So where should he have been drafted? Higher than he was, that’s for sure. Obviously team needs certainly come into play, but if we’re simply attempting to rank the players according to who is the “best”, he’s going to be at or near the top. Now, I leave it to you.

The results of the 2009 Draft can be found below. Now, it’s your turn to play GM. If a re-draft were to take place today, where would Curry be picked? What would the top 10 look like? The lottery? Post your thoughts in the comments below and keep your eyes out for more re-draft hypotheticals in the coming days.

First Round
1. Blake Griffin (LAC) 11. Terrence Williams (NJ) 21. Darren Collison (NO)
2. Hasheem Thabeet (MEM) 12. Gerald Henderson (CHA) 22. Victor Claver (POR)
3. James Harden (OKC) 13. Tyler Hansbrough (IND) 23. Omri Casspi (SAC)
4. Tyreke Evans (SAC) 14. Earl Clark (PHX) 24. B.J. Mullens (DAL)*
5. Ricky Rubio (MIN) 15. Austin Daye (DET) 25. Rodrigue Beaubois (OKC)*
6. Jonny Flynn (MIN) 16. James Johnson (CHI) 26. Taj Gibson (CHI)
7. Stephen Curry (GSW) 17. Jrue Holiday (PHI) 27. DeMarre Carroll (MEM)
8. Jordan Hill (PHX) 18. Ty Lawson (MIN)* 28. Wayne Ellington (MIN)
9. DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 19. Jeff Teague (ATL) 29. Toney Douglas (LAL)*
10. Brandon Jennings (MIL) 20. Eric Maynor (UTA) 30. Christian Eyenga (CLE)
Second Round
31. Jeff Pendergraph (SAC)* 41. Jodie Meeks (MIL) 51. Jack McClinton (SAS)
32. Jermaine Taylor (WAS)* 42. Patrick Beverley (LAL)* 52. A.J. Price (IND)
33. Dante Cunningham (POR) 43. Marcus Thornton (MIA)* 53. Nando De Colo (SAS)
34. Sergio Llull (DEN)* 44. Chase Budinger (DET)* 54. Robert Vaden (CHA)*
35. DaJuan Summers (DET) 45. Nick Calathes (MIN)* 55. Patrick Mills (POR)
36. Sam Young (MEM) 46. Danny Green (CLE) 56. Ahmad Nivins (DAL)
37. DeJuan Blair (SAS) 47. Henk Norel (MIN) 57. Emir Preldzic (PHX)*
38. Jon Brockman (POR)* 48. Taylor Griffin (PHX) 58. Lester Hudson (BOS)
39. Jonas Jerebko (DET) 49. Sergiy Gladyr (ATL) 59. Chinemelu Elonu (LAL)
40. Derrick Brown (CHA) 50. Goran Suton (UTA) 60. Robert Dozier (MIA)
* Involved in draft-night trade following his selection.

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