The 2009 NBA Draft: A GM Killer

After the first pick, this draft is a crapshoot.

By Kurt Helin
|  Thursday, Jun 25, 2009  |  Updated 4:01 AM EDT
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Every NBA draft, there is a guy chosen around 20 who pans out better than a guy taken 8 spots or so earlier. That prompts fans to jump all over their GM for missing such an obvious choice (even though it was anything but obvious at the time).

The 2009 draft is one big version of that. It’s a GM killer.

After the obvious choice of Blake Griffin for the Clippers — because they need to shoehorn a rookie into an already overcrowded frontcourt — every remaining guy has big questions about him. A couple of guys are going to answer those questions in a few years and develop into stars, but good luck figuring out today who those guys will be.

Spain’s Ricky Rubio has uncanny court vision and feel for the game, is a walking YouTube highlight reel, and is a kid who at 17 hung with the best in the world as a key point guard on the Spanish national team that won the silver medal in Beijing Olympics. But he can’t shoot. He went 28 percent from the field in the Olympics and was 2 of 12 from three.

What about UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet — you can’t teach 7’2”. He can block shots and rebound at the NBA level right now. The problem he is offensively limited — his low-post repertoire makes Dwight Howard look like Hakeem Olajuwon.

It goes on and on. Arizona State’s James Harden can score in traffic at the college level, but he is not an exceptional athlete so can that transfer to the next level (he was shut down in the NCAA tournament)? Stephen Curry can shoot the ball, but at 6-2 and not very quick can he defend at the NBA level. Syracuse’s Johnny Flynn has rocketed up the draft boards lately, but he has an inconsistent outside shot and played nothing but zone defefense in college.

And those are the guys expected to go in the top 10. The holes get much bigger as you work your way down the list. The thing is, some guy like point guards Eric Maynor or Jrue Holiday will put it together in a few years.

When they do, you can be sure fans and radio talk show hosts will howl — “How could you have passed this guy up?”

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