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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Taj Gibson, Minnesota Timberwolves
Taj Gibson, Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

player. 86. . PF. USC Trojans. Taj Gibson. 6

Re-drafting the 2009 NBA Draft: 2) Taj Gibson, Minnesota Timberwolves

Most draft experts projected USC Trojans forward Taj Gibson to get drafted either in the late first round or the second round. A quick perusal of his draft profile will tell you why. He possessed a limited post-up game, was stuck between power forward and center, and was entering the league at 24 years old, making him a relative dinosaur among the crop of one-and-done pups.

In our timeline, the Chicago Bulls took Gibson with the 26th overall pick and with Tom Thibodeau’s guidance, he became an essential cog on some excellent defense-first Bulls teams.

While the skepticism of his remedial offense on the block proved to be accurate, Gibson’s calling card as a pro was his switchability on defense and his ability to somewhat space the floor with a sturdy mid-range stroke. He eventually became so dependable that it allowed Chicago to use the amnesty provision to unload Carlos Boozer’s contract.

In this alternate timeline, Gibson would’ve gone to the team he currently plays for. Like Jrue Holiday, he wouldn’t have singlehandedly brought Minnesota to prominence, but he would’ve been far more impactful for them than Johnny Flynn was.

I’m sure that if the Timberwolves got another chance in this draft, they would’ve relished at taking a player with 49.8 career win shares compared to one who finished his NBA tenure with -1.1.

But that’s what happens when you make draft decisions based on one Big East Tournament game. It ends up setting your franchise back for at least several years.