NBA

Stephen Curry 10 years on: The six players drafted before the Warriors star

By Sports Desk June 25, 2019

It seems incredible now that Stephen Curry could have been the seventh pick in any NBA Draft, but that was the case in 2009.

Ten years on, Curry is a two-time MVP and three-time champion with the Golden State Warriors.

But on draft night, there were six players picked before him - with the Minnesota Timberwolves somehow selecting two alternative point guards ahead of Curry.

Such decisions now look foolish as we look at the mixed bag that is the top six picks of the 2009 NBA Draft.

 

1. Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)

Griffin may not have lived up to Curry's standards, but he has still enjoyed a strong NBA career that might have been even better had not missed his entire debut season with the Clippers with a knee injury. The power forward returned to be named Rookie of the Year and has since made five All-NBA teams, continuing to star with the Detroit Pistons since a trade last year.

2. Hasheem Thabeet (Memphis Grizzlies)

This one definitely did not work out. Center Thabeet was selected by the Grizzlies but failed to impress, leading to a switch to the D-League before he was traded to the Houston Rockets. Further stints followed with the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder, before he was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers and the Pistons. He has not played in the NBA since 2013-14.

 

3. James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Harden enjoyed a solid spell as the Thunder's sixth man, before his career took off in Houston. The 29-year-old could now be considered one of the game's modern greats, winning the 2018 MVP award and making five All-NBA First Teams while turning the Rockets into genuine contenders in the West. There have been some mighty tussles with Curry in the past 10 years.

4. Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings)

It was Evans who earned the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year award, leading the draft class, but the Kings star failed to build on this excellent first season. Instead, he bounced around the league until last month when the NBA dismissed him for violating its anti-drug programme. Evans will not be able to apply for reinstatement until 2021.

5. Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Rubio was not blessed with Curry's shooting talent, but he was considered a reasonable enough selection for the Timberwolves at number five. However, the pick quickly became far from straightforward, with the Spaniard remaining in Europe for a two-year stay with Barcelona before finally joining Minnesota. His NBA career has never really subsequently taken off.

6. Jonny Flynn (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Selecting two point guards in succession was one thing, Selecting two point guards and leaving Curry on the board was quite another. How the Timberwolves must now rue this decision. Flynn was in the D-League by 2010, starting just 10 NBA matches after his debut season. He left the NBA in 2012 and has not returned. Oh dear.

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