July 3, 2012
The New Orleans Hornets just became championship contenders in 2016. The Houston Rockets crashed and burned in their attempt to trade for Dwight Howard. The Brooklyn Nets screwed up big-time when they traded their pick for Gerald Wallace, who is about to leave as a free agent. At least that’s what all the analysts were saying after last week’s NBA draft. Of course, we all know things will look much different a couple years from now. So let’s go back to 2009 and see who really won and lost on draft night.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers took Blake Griffin with the first pick in the draft. He has become one of the biggest stars in the NBA with his reckless style of play and ferocious dunks and according to reports he has just informed the team that he plans to sign a five-year extension.
Oklahoma City Thunder
With the third pick, the Thunder grabbed James Harden. He has turned into the NBA’s best sixth-man and one of the key players for a team that has been to the conference finals and NBA Finals in the last two seasons. Now they have to figure out how to keep him long-term to play alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
The Grizzlies had two first round picks and walked away with Hasheem Thabeet as the second pick in the draft and DeMarre Carroll at No. 27. Both players were sent down to the NBA Developmental League and eventually traded to Houston. Memphis has still managed to become one of the better teams in the league but it didn’t happen on draft night in 2009.
Nobody made more picks than the T-Wolves. With six picks they came up with a point guard who didn’t join the team until 2011 and then tore his ACL (Ricky Rubio), a point guard who had a promising rookie campaign but has only started nine games since and is now on his third team (Jonny Flynn), a point guard (noticing a pattern here?) that was traded to Denver for a future draft pick (Ty Lawson), a guard who has started just 12 games and averages six points a game (Wayne Ellington), a guard who was traded to Dallas and has never played in the NBA (Nick Calathes), and a forward (apparently there were no more guards on the board) who has never played in the NBA.
Orlando Magic – No picks
Houston Rockets – No picks