NBA Draft: Re-drafting the historic 2009 NBA Draft

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons
Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

3. player. 149. . PF. Oklahoma Sooners. Blake Griffin

Re-drafting the 2009 NBA Draft: 3) Blake Griffin, OKC Thunder

Blake Griffin was the unquestioned projected No. 1 pick heading into this draft. If you watched any Sooners game or highlight reel in the two seasons he spent at the University of Oklahoma, you’ll quickly understand why.

Not only did Griffin earn that distinction with his unbelievable athleticism, but he also flashed glimpses of a quality face-up game, ball handling in transition and footwork in the post that eventually became fully realized midway through his pro career.

Griffin’s early career with the Clippers was spent as the recipient of Chris Paul lob passes for SportsCenter-worthy slams. But as time went on, Griffin worked improved at shot creation, passing and shooting to become one of the best all-around stretch forwards in the league.

That said, it’s hard to view Griffin’s career as anything other than a slight disappointment. He has seldom been the best player on a playoff team. His uneven team success, combined with his spotty health will always be a detriment to his Hall of Fame career.

Given what we know about these players now, Griffin would’ve remained in Oklahoma courtesy of this draft for at least the first seven years of his career. Would he have gotten the chance to flesh out his skills playing alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook?

The development of players like Serge Ibaka suggests, yes. It could have also been the difference between Oklahoma City winning a title, at least before the Thunder theoretically traded him to forgo a luxury tax bill like they did with James Harden.