Live 2009 NBA Draft Notes
Welcome to the 2009 NBA Draft, taking place Thursday night at the theatre in Madison Square Garden. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner is fifth row from the stage, about five feet to the left of the player/family section and updating this page with notes all evening as picks/trades are made. Bookmark this page and reload it regularly all evening.
These notes are unedited. InsideHoops.com will post additional draft reviews over the next few days.
David Stern started the NBA Draft with an opening speech. It was not microphoned very loudly, but Stern did make sure to give praise to the champion Los Angeles Lakers, prompting chants of "Lakers suck!" from rowdy fans in the crowd.
As expected, the Los Angeles Clippers selected Blake Griffin with the first pick. Now the Clippers have Griffin, Zach Randolph, Marcus Camby and Zach Randolph up front. Not enough room for all of them.
With the second pick, the Grizzlies took center Hasheem Thabeet. He'll give them some much-needed defense.
At #3 the Thunder took James Harden, who will fit in with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
At #4 the Kings took combo guard Tyreke Evans. It'll be interesting seeing him and shooting guard Kevin Martin play next to each other.
At #5, the Timberwolves took young point guard Ricky Rubio, from Spain. They needed a point and he'll have plenty of time to develop alongside young Kevin Love and Al Jefferson.
With the #6 pick, the Timberwolves selected undersized point guard Jonny Flynn. Why did they select two point guards? Perhaps they took the best players available, or they'll trade one of them.
At #7 the Warriors selected Stephen Curry. That's who the Knicks wanted, and Curry wanted to be in New York. So the Warriors now have two undersized scoring guards, Curry and Monta Ellis. Which of the two will play point? Or will they both just work the same way, not worry about positions and just score, baby, score.
And now, the hometown Knicks at #8 select Jordan Hill, an athletic big forward. Will he fit next to David Lee? Tough to say whether Lee is kept around or not. And they always could trade Hill. Maybe the Warriors took Curry just to trade with the Knicks or something.
At #9 the Raptors took Demar Derozan, an athletic shooting guard (or undersized small forward) with big-time hops. He's a high-flyer who every now and then may remind some of Vince Carter. The good Carter. The one Toronto liked.
At #10 the Bucks, who needed a point guard, selected Brandon Jennings. A statement was actually handed to the media just before the Draft started with a statement from Jennings' agent, Bill Duffy, who said that because they do not have a strong grasp of Brandon's draft position, the player and his family decided to enjoy the evening in a private setting. So, he's the first player to be taken in Draft who is not here.
At #11 the Nets, who earlier today traded shooting guard Vince Carter to the Magic, drafted versatile Terrence Williams, who has far less offense than Carter but is terrific at a lot of the other stuff, including defense. Assuming Williams pans out and is a legit baller, the Nets core is now him, Devin Harris and Brook Lopez.
At #12 the Bobcats selected shooting guard Gerald Henderson, who will fit in nicely as their future in the position. He's good at pretty much everything. This pick has been expected, at least these last few days.
At #13 the Pacers took power forward Tyler Hansbrough, who I believe will have a very solid NBA career. He'll be a nice building block next to Danny Granger. If Troy Murphy sticks around he and Hansbrough would make an undersized yet interesting frontcourt.
And, in an interesting move that certainly will generate publicity, Brandon Jennings, who was drafted earlier but decided not to attend the draft, showed up and came onto stage to hold his hands up and then do the traditional hand-shake with David Stern. This dude certainly is an entertainer!
At #14 the Suns, who have been steadily breaking up their team and just traded Shaquille O'Neal, select forward Earl Clark. Seems like a good pick. He can play next to Amar'e Stoudemire, who may or may not remain with the team.
At #15 the Pistons took skinny bean pole forward Austin Daye, who can provide shooting. He's far too lanky to play power forward, though. He can come off the bench behind the also-skinny Tayshaun Prince.
With Louisville's Clark gone, the university's head coach Rick Pitino, who was sitting nearby, has left.
With the #16 pick the Bulls took James Johnson, a big tweener whose best NBA position might be small forward. Initially I assume he'll come off the bench, filling in at both forward spots. If he's ever good enough to start it'll probably be at the four, since Luol Deng is already there at small forward.
At #17 the 76ers, in need of a point guard in case aging veteran Andre Miller goes elsewhere, selected Jrue Holiday. He didn't do much as a college freshman but showed enough NBA potential to make the leap and go mid first round as projected.
At #18 the Timberwolves, with their third of four first round picks, selected their third straight point guard, Ty Lawson. This is extremely strange. The guys they've selected aren't combo guards. They're pure points... A few minutes after the pick, ESPN reported that the Wolves will probably trade Lawson to the Nuggets.
At #19, the Hawks, who could lose point guard Mike Bibby, selected PG Jeff Teague, who is quick but more of a combo guard than a pure point.
At #20 the Jazz, seeking to upgrade their backup to point guard Deron Williams, took the experienced Eric Maynor, who I think could provide immediate decent bench minutes. Pretty good pick.
DeJuan Blair remains undrafted so far. Sam Young and BJ Mullens are also still available, as is Chase Budinger.
At #21 the Hornets took point guard Darren Collison, who will help prevent the team from falling apart when superstar Chris Paul takes an occasional brief rest.
At #22 the Trail Blazers took Victor Claver, a tall, very skinny forward from Spain. I haven't seen him enough to have a strong opinion about how good he'll be but will ask my international guys about him tomorrow and share what they say. But I had thought he was going second round, not here.
At #23 the Kings selected Omri Casspi, a versatile forward who, assuming he comes to the NBA, will be the first Israeli player in the league. He was expected to be selected somewhere around here. A bench-level player, probably.
DeJuan Blair, Sam Young, BJ Mullens and Chase Budinger are still available.
At #24 the Mavericks took center BJ Mullens, who isn't ready to start, but then again Erick Dampier has been around for a while and he hasn't been too starter-worthy either. Mullens has big hops and an undeveloped game. Good pick here.
At #25 the Thunder took a trip to France and selected Rodrigue Beaubois. Everyone says he has big upside.
At #26 the Bulls took lanky power forward Taj Gibson, who provides bench depth. Actually, most of the picks in this draft, above and below this one, are about bench depth.
At #27 the Grizzlies selected DeMarre Carroll. He plays basketball.
At #28 the Timberwolves added some guard depth with Wayne Ellington. Decent pick.