I can’t remember an era in the NBA (please feel free to offer some suggestions) where there were so many young and promising point guards flourishing before our very eyes. The 2009 NBA Draft was considered by most draft experts to be an off year in regards to elite talent. Yet, after two full seasons of watching this draft class, one thing is certain; the 2009 NBA Draft was the year of the point guard. In all, twelve point guards were selected in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft. Eleven of those players have already made some type of impact in the league (Ricky Rubio is still playing overseas). It’s extremely rare to have so many point guards make an impact who were all apart of the same draft class. Lets take a closer look of some of the point guards who were selected back in 2009:
Tyreke Evans (Selected 4th by Sacramento Kings)
Evans has produced from day one for the Sacramento franchise. In his rookie year, Evans became just the 4th player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists (Robertson-1960, Jordan-84, & James-03). These statistical achievements helped Evans earn the 2009-2010 NBA Rookie of the Year. Evans is already regarded as one of the premier playmakers in the league. His ability to break his man off the dribble and get into the lane is truly special. If Evans can ever develop a more consistent jump shot, he could certainly elevate his game for both himself and the Kings franchise. Evans averaged 17.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 5.6 APG during his sophomore campaign.
Stephen Curry (Selected 7th by Golden State Warriors)
Similar to Evans, Curry has made an immediate impact in the league. Coming into the draft, some questioned whether or not Curry could play the point guard position at the next level. Curry has certainly silenced his critics through his first two seasons in the league. Curry was exceptional during his rookie season with the Warriors. He averaged 17.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 5.9 APG. Curry has already developed into one of the deadliest shooters the league has. He increased his FG% (+ 1.8), 3P% (0.5%), and FT% (4.9%) over his rookie totals. Curry scored double figures or more in 63 out of 74 games this season.
Brandon Jennings (Selected 10th by Milwaukee Bucks)
Jennings was one of the first players who decided to play professional basketball overseas following his senior season in high school. And although many criticized his decision to play professionally in Italy, as opposed to playing at the collegiate level, you can’t question Jennings skill set and determination to succeed at the NBA level. On November 14th, 2009, the rest of the league quickly learned about this dynamic point guard out of Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. In a game against the Golden State Warriors, Jennings would score 55 points to break numerous franchise and NBA scoring records for a rookie. Jennings was an unanimous selection to the 2009-2010 NBA All-Rookie Team (1st Team). Jennings averaged 16.2 PPG and 4.8 APG during his sophomore campaign.
Jrue Holiday (Selected 17th by Philadelphia 76ers)
The 76ers saw a drastic improvement over last seasons win total (+14). Much of that success certainly can be attributed to the development of Jrue Holiday. Holiday slipped further then most expected during the 2009 draft. Although he certainly had all the tools to succeed at the next level, many critics questioned his decision to leave UCLA after just one season. Still, there was no denying the attributes that Holiday possessed on the basketball court, and the 76ers were thrilled to take him with the 17th pick. Holiday improved in just about every category this season (MIN, FG%, FT%, RPG, APG, STL, PPG). At 20 years of age, Holiday has the potential to develop into one of the premier point guards in the league in the coming years.
Ty Lawson (Selected 18th by the Minnesota Timberwolves, trade to Denver Nuggets)
The ultra speedy Lawson became the face of the Nuggets franchise (at least one of them) following the teams decision to trade Carmelo Anthony back on February 21st. Lawson might be the quickest point guard in the league today. Lawson really came into his own during the last couple months of this season. In the months of March and April (includes postseason series against Oklahoma City), Lawson averaged 15.3 PPG, 50.8 FG%, and 5.8 APG. In a game against Minnesota back on April 9th, Lawson showed the potential he brings to the court each and every night. Lawson filled the stat sheet by scoring 37 points, pulling down 7 rebounds, and distributing 6 assists. Lawson set an NBA record by connecting on his first 10 three point attempts of the game (finished 10-11 from three point range). Lawson increased his points per game by over three from his rookie season (+3.4)
Jeff Teague (Selected 19th by the Atlanta Hawks)
The Hawks might not have to wait much longer until Jeff Teague is considered an elite NBA point guard. Teague has waited patiently on the Hawks bench the last two seasons, receiving primarily back up duties to Mike Bibby and Kirk Hinrich. However, a late series injury to starting point guard Kirk Hinrich (hamstring) in the Hawks opening round win (against Orlando) thrust Teague into the starting role. Teague has shined during his opportunity against the Chicago Bulls. Considered heavy underdogs coming in, Teague and the Hawks are currently are tied with the Bulls 2-2. Teague has arguably been the Hawks most consistent player in the series. He is averaging 16.0 PPG, 52.0 FG%, 91.7 FT%, 3.8 APG, and 1.5 SPG thus far against the Bulls. Keep an eye on Jeff Teague the next couple of seasons. He looks like the real deal.
Darren Collison (Selected 20th by the New Orleans Hornets)
Collison was one of my favorite point guards coming into the league back in 2009. Although he didn’t possess some of the jaw dropping physical attributes of the other point guard prospects, he was a proven winner in college. Even more important, in my opinion, was the fact that Collison stayed in school for all four years at UCLA. He played in numerous big time games for the Bruins (3 Final Four appearances) and always seemed to produce. Although many draft analysts had projected Collison has a career back up in the league, Collison proved he could run an NBA team. Collison broke the Hornets rookie record for assists in a game with 20 against the Golden State Warriors last March. Collison finished the 2009-2010 exceeding all expectations by averaging 12.4 PPG, 47.7 FG%, 5.7 APG, and 1.0 SPG. He would go onto finish 4th in the Rookie of the Year voting. Collison was traded to the Indiana Pacers after just one season with the Hornets. Collison started 79 games for the Pacers this season (13.2 PPG & 5.1 APG) and led them to their first post season appearance since 2006.