[Poll] Who goes first in a 2009 NBA Draft re-do?


Applying 20-20 hindsight vision, the 2009 NBA Draft is most known for what the Minnesota Timberwolves did and didn’t do (hi! Jonny Flynn) and helping shift the league into what’s becoming a guard-driven NBA. But on draft night, the show was all about one man: the then-Oklahoma star one-and-done and unanimous number one pick, Blake Griffin.

Fast forward six years and the 2009 draft class is responsible for injecting the league with three undeniable superstars, in Los Angeles, Griffin, in Houston, James Harden, and in Golden State, Stephen Curry.

Buying time until the regular season begins, a look back on the ’09 draft class begs of a question that may not be easy to answer, at least depending on the interviewee: if given a chance to do it all over knowing what you know in 2015, who would you select with the number one overall pick; Griffin, Harden, or Curry?

With all arguably being top-10 players, you can’t go wrong with any answer, but if given a chance which superstar are you going with?

Stipulations: who knows how anything plays out if Griffin isn’t selected first so let’s assume five years down the road following this hypothetical re-draft, each of the three players named become what they have become in real life. Also, due to the caliber of player of the superstars, position overlap when attempting to factor in the Clippers’ roster at the time of the 2009 draft means zero (that means if you’re a Harden person, Eric Gordon is probably getting traded).

The Case for Blake Griffin

Dec 29, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) warms up prior to the game against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Career averages: 21.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steal, 22.8 PER

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  • History tells us a dominant big man often leads to a NBA championship. In the 60s it was Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain; in the 70s, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton; in the 80s, again Jabbar, this time featured on the Lakers; in the 90s, Hakeem Olajuwon; and in the 2000s, Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal. While Griffin may not be those players in a 1-to-1 comparison, he’s shown more than enough in five years to be good enough to eventually will a team to a championship.

    This past playoffs showed us what peak Griffin — an insane playmaker, dominant scorer, and elite rebounder (averaged 25.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, 6.1 assists). There aren’t too many players in the NBA who can do all of this, and a bit effortlessly might I add.

    An issue with Griffin? How he ages as most of his game relies on the ability to out-athletic whomever stands in front of him. Due to an improving jump-shot and being one of the league’s best non-guard playmakers (arguably the best), there are traits that’ll guarantee he’s good past his prime. But during his prime? Outside of his inconsistencies as a defender, you’re getting the best big man in the league not named Anthony Davis that can do anything you ask him on offense (pass, shoot, post, pick-and-roll, etc.) for 10 to 12 years barring injury.

    The Case for James Harden

    Apr 21, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) is introduced before playing the Dallas Mavericks in game two of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Rockets won 111 to 99. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    Career averages: 19.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 21.5 PER

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  • Harden’s transition from Sixth Man of the Year to regular season Finals MVP has been a fun ride, especially if you see fit to often remind fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder that they gave away the future league-best shooting guard for Steven Adams and Jeremy Lamb — I remember calling his the next-generation Joe Johnson somewhere after the trade; guess you could say I was wrong.

    A man of few weaknesses (the one weaknesses being a laughable knack for not trying to defend at times), with Harden on your team you’re blessed with the best non-Kevin Durant scorer in basketball. And unlike Durant, you’ve one of the best playmaking guards in the world, giving defenses two teams they have to keep an eye on when the ball is in his hands.

    With Harden a ‘special’ case in comparison to Griffin and Curry, it’s interesting to see Harden come up without being to develop under very little pressure as he was brought in as a third wheel behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Though we’ve seen Harden prove to be a viable no.1 option, the road taken could alter his trajectory as a player. Who knows. But if it doesn’t affect anything and, instead speed up the path to superstardom, Harden is one hell of a player to help lead a rebuild.

    The Case for Stephen Curry

    Jun 16, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) talks to the media after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game six of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    Career averages: 20.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.8 steals, 21.7

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  • No one had a better year than Steph last season. The driving force behind the Golden State Warriors winning 67 wins, Curry helped will the Dub’s to its first championship since the Rick Barry-led W’s won it all in 1975.

    In year 6, he’s shown to be the best guard in the league, a willing improvement on the defensive end, and one of the three best offensive players — as far as impacting defenses, none is better — in the NBA. No player is more exciting when he’s in peak form. If All-Star votes are telling the story, no player was more popular last season. And in a league shifting toward high-powered guards, Curry is an excellent bet to rely on toward a goal to win it all, especially considering he’s proven to do so in real life.

    The only question mark about Curry’s rise to the top is the ankle injuries that plagued him for a year and a half but in this particular scenario they don’t deter him from reaching the point arrived at in 2014-15. Outside of that, you can’t get any closer to perfection than the NBA’s new Golden Boy.


    Let us know who you’d take number one overall in a 2009 NBA Draft re-do in the poll below.