Reexamining the Point Guard Crop from the First Round of the 2009 NBA Draft

Remember three years ago, seven (7) point guards were selected in the First Round of the 2009 NBA Draft?  With Ricky Rubio debuting this season with Minnesota, we can revisit that Draft and see if the “experts” got it right.

Here is the Crop’s Marginal Win Score win production for this season, projected out over the entire 66 games:

R Rubio 10.79 3.74 3.52 1.099 9.6__(-0.9) 5.3 14.9
T Lawson 8.73 2.95 2.89 0.993 8.7__0.1 4.3 12.9
J Holiday 5.45 2.81 1.32 0.726 7.1__2.7 2.2 9.3
Jennings 7.04 8.02 -0.49 0.419 4.1__5.8 -0.8 3.3
S Curry 9.44 8.06 0.69 0.619 1.9__1.1 0.4 2.3
T Evans 5.77 6.79 -0.51 0.416 4.0__5.7 -0.9 3.1
J Flynn 2.06 11.28 -4.61 -0.279 (-0.3)__1.6 -0.9 -1.2

The Chart from this season suggests that Ricky Rubio could be the best player from the Crop.  If he can maintain his fantastic start, he could also be the one “elite” player.

Here is the “Career to Date” chart for the Crop, projected to the end of this season:

T Lawson 8.94 4.81 2.07 0.848 19.6__3.5 8.1 27.7
S Curry 9.09 7.67 0.71 0.624 15.8__9.5 3.1 18.9
J Holiday 6.69 6.39 0.15 0.527 15.4__13.8 0.8 16.2
R Rubio 10.79 3.74 3.52 1.099 9.6__(-0.9) 5.3 14.9
T Evans 6.61 6.83 -0.11 0.483 14.1__15.1 -0.5 13.6
B Jennings 5.16 5.78 -0.31 0.453 13.6__16.4 -1.4 12.2
J Flynn 2.88 9.38 -3.25 -0.048 (-0.8)__15.9 -8.4 -8.8
7.166 6.3714 0.397 0.5694

The Chart suggests that the second best PG from that Draft, or possibly the best, has been Ty Lawson, the player selected last among the Crop.  I never understood how it was possible that he could go so low.  Lawson played against high level collegiate competition for three seasons and excelled.  In his final season at UNC, he did not have a single poor game.  He was as close to a “sure thing” as you will find in the modern NBA Draft. And yet he was somehow perceived to be the 7th rookie Point Guard.

The third best PG appears to be Stephen Curry of Golden State.  I was skeptical about Curry coming out of college because he played poorly in his senior season against the top competition.  I also thought he would have to play mostly two guard, and he appeared to small and frail to play that position.  But, his very effective jump shot has made up for those shortcomings.

Now, the next best PG is hard to say.  It appears that Jrue Holiday might be moving into that role, but based on the entire body of work, the fourth best PG from that Draft is probably Tyreke Evans of Sacramento, the first PG chosen.  Actually, Evans is more of a PG/SG, as he splits time between the positions.  Evans started his career well, but now he has settled into a slightly below 0.500% player.

In the next position I think it is a toss up between Holiday and Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks.  Holiday appears to be surging for the rejuvenated 76ers, but I am not buying it.  I think he and Jennings are essentially the same player, or thereabouts.  Remember how everyone thought Jennings would be such a superstar just because he scored 54 points in one of his first games?  It was an aberration, and it may have been his undoing.  Jennings has never really settled into the classic PG role.  He is a shoot first player, not a playmaker.

The unmitigated “bust” of the Draft was PG Jonny Flynn, who was the third PG taken, and the second one taken by Minnesota.  Flynn now resides on the bench in Houston.  Flynn’s college career suggested he could be slightly below average, but I am beginning to be skeptical of all graduates of the Syracuse system (Wesley Johnson, for instance).  The Orangemen alum cannot play defense, and they seem to use the College 3pt shot to make themselves appear more efficient than they actually turn out to be.

That said, I still do not understand how anyone could have valued Jonny Flynn ahead of Ty Lawson.  Each player has about the same stature, and Lawson was clearly the more accomplished.  Again, I cannot figure that one out.



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