The 2009 Draft Class Could Go Down As The Best Ever

By: 03.23.10  •  31 Comments

Blake Griffin (photo. Nicky Woo)

Your immediate reaction after reading the title is “absolutely not,” and as of right now, it’s the right one. In fact, how can anyone compete with a ’96 lineup of Kobe, A.I., Ray Allen and Steve Nash or a ’03 lineup of LeBron, D-Wade, ‘Melo and Chris Bosh. Although we’ve seen how well Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings and Darren Collison have played so far, it’s doubtful that any of them will be Hall of Famers. Still, my friend over at NYKBlog makes a very compelling case about the potential of this year’s draft as the best ever. The argument comes down to this: Would your rather have four Hall of Famers and a big drop off after that, or 20 guys who can be All-Stars and good role players for a long time?

Forget about star power for a second. I understand there will never be a draft that has 4 superstars in the 1st 5 picks. But you have to see past that with this years group. This draft will make the league better all around for a decade. Teams are going to become deeper because of the excess talent. There are so many rookies making an impact that almost every team has one. This class holds its own against the 2003 draft and the 1996 draft classes without its best player and #1 pick. Its 2nd pick is a bust and the 2nd best player (potentially) is overseas. The fact that I can even make an argument for this year’s class with all these missing pieces says it all. It’s about depth. And no draft comes close in that regard.

Besides the four standouts so far from this year’s Draft, there are guys making big impacts on playoff contenders, as well as contributing nicely for bad teams. These are guys like Jonny Flynn, DeJuan Blair, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Ty Lawson, Eric Maynor, Omri Casspi, Rodrigue Beaubois, Jonas Jerebko, Marcus Thornton, Jrue Holiday, Chase Budinger, Taj Gibson, Jordan Hill, Terrence Williams, Tyler Hansbrough, Austin Daye and Toney Douglas.

When I first read the article I wasn’t convinced. As a diehard Fantasy Basketball player, though, I put this year’s class to a test I conceived for this article: How many rookies are currently on Fantasy rosters? This test isn’t decisive, but it’s a good indication not only that the guy is playing big minutes for his team, but that if the NBA consisted of only 12 teams of 13 players, rookies would make the rosters. Using this rubric, I don’t remember seeing so many rookies’ on rosters this late in the season. And remember, Blake Griffin or Ricky Rubio haven’t even played a game.

Of course, we see four Hall of Famers in a Draft Class and think it is impossible to top, but in both fantasy and reality, the most stacked teams don’t always win (the most recent example being the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers). If one considers depth over talent, the Draft Class question becomes much more difficult.

Entering this season, Chris Paul was pretty much the consensus No. 1 point guard in the League. And now? Rumors are floating that Paul (and his contract) are dispensable in light of rookie Collison’s play. A few weeks ago, we questioned whether Paul was truly great or if it was the system he was playing in. Either way, Collison has proved to be a sure starter, and he’s not even the best player in the Draft.

Do you think this class has the potential to be the best ever or one of the best ever? Has this class exceeded all expectations?

Other Articles About 2009 Rookies:
NBA Sophomore Class vs. The Rookies: Who’s Better?
Tyreke Evans Is In A Class Of His Own (Even Better Than LeBron)
Brandon Jennings Will Protect This House

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