There has been a great deal made about how weak the 2009 draft class is. I actually do not think it is that bad of a group. The real issue is the top of the class is lacking in star power.
There is no top three or four players in this draft. In fact a lot of analysts believe that you can get just as good of a player at 18 or 20 as you can at four or five. That does not reflect well on the top of the class, but I think there is some depth here. Players such as Earl Clark, Eric Maynor, Ty Lawson, DeJuan Blair, Jeff Teague, Chase Budinger and Nick Calathes are all good prospects. There may not be a superstar in the group, but there are a lot of potential starters out there.
The other observation I will make about this draft is I actually think Blake Griffin is overhyped because he is head and shoulders above the rest of the group. Working off that analogy if the average height of the top players in this class is 6’0″ tall, then Griffin is 6’5″. Griffin looks great righ now, but the typical draft class has an average height of say 6’4″ and when Griffin gets out among those players he may not be such a sure thing after all.
Kind of reminds me of a guy out of Cincinnati named Kenyon Martin.
One thing I think Nuggets fans should be concerned about is despite having to worry about the Jazz and Trail Blazers, the Timberwolves and Thunder are both in a position to really help themselves tonight. The Thunder are drafting third and I expect them to add another nice piece to their collection of young talent. If they land Ricky Rubio, look out. There are reports that Russell Westbrook is telling the team, or at least his agent is, that he does not want to be shifted to shooting guard and not to draft Rubio. General Manager Sam Presti cut his teeth in San Antonio. I do not think he is going to let the desires of a second year player prevent him from doing what he thinks is best for his team. In addition to the third pick they have selection number 25 too. That is right in the range where some undervalued players will be waiting to be snatched up.
Minnesota has four first round picks. I know it is difficult to think of Minnesota drafting well, but if they manage to pull out two starters and two rotation players, that will put them well on their way back to respectability.
I will leave you with three lists.
Players I like: Blake Griffin, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, Earl Clark, Eric Maynor, Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough, DeJuan Blair, Jeff Teague, Chase Budinger, Nick Calathes and Toney Douglas.
Players I do not like: Hasheem Thabeet, Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Gerald Henderson (Dahntay Jones part two), Terrence Williams, Austin Daye and Sam Young.
Players I do not know what to think about: Jonny Flynn, Jordan Hill, James Harden, Jrue Holiday, James Johnson, B.J. Mullens, Omri Casspi, Taj GIbson and Darren Collison.
Second round value: Patrick Mills, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, A.J. Price, Paul Harris, Lester Hudson and Jon Brockman.
Coming up next, the ESPN/TrueHoop Network draft live blog/chat.