It hasn’t even been 10 years since the 2009 NBA Draft, but about half of the players drafted that year no longer play in the NBA. But there is still a good chunk of guys from the 2009 draft that are still on NBA rosters. Here, we will rank them from worst to best.
There were a few absolute superstars coming out of this NBA Draft. There were also a very large number of duds. But all 30 first round picks this year could have been filled by a player who is still in the NBA. Of all the drafted and undrafted rookie signings, there are 30 players from the 2009 NBA Draft that still play in the NBA.
Sure, you’re not going to know all of the names who appear on this list. A good chunk of these guys have spent their careers riding the bench. But they’ve proved worthy enough to maintain a position on a NBA roster this late into their career. That’s not something that many guys who have been in the NBA can say. The average length of an NBA career is 4.8 years. These guys have nearly doubled that average, so even if they are unheard of bench players, they can look back on a successfully rare career.
But there are also a few superstars who top this list. There’s no doubting that the 2009 draft saw some of the best athletes to ever wear an NBA jersey. No one is doubting that Blake Griffin, James Harden and Stephen Curry are some of the best players in the league. But who is the best from the 2009 draft class? Read on to find out.
30 JONAS JEREBKO
If only Jonas Jerebko could have kept up the production he saw during his rookie season, he’d be much higher on this list and a more known athlete. Jerebko was named to the Rookie Team as part of the Rookie Challenge during All-Star weekend and finished the season among rookie leaders as he ranked third in rebounds, fourth in blocks, fifth in minutes, eighth in steals and 10th in scoring.
Unfortunately, Jerebko strained his Achilles tendon during a preseason game in October 2010 and he ended up missing the entire season. He re-signed with the Pistons to a four-year deal, but never seemed to produce the way he had prior to the injury. Since then, he hasn’t averaged more than 20 minutes a game after any of the following seasons and he continues to see his production trend downward.
29 TONEY DOUGLAS
This guy is barely hanging on as an NBA player. Toney Douglas has spent his entire career on and off rosters and has jumped all over the league. He’s proved to be worthy of a NBA roster spot, but only when teams are desperate. Douglas has been average, at best, during his time in the NBA. He’s not bringing much of an offensive threat as he averages about eight points and a couple rebounds and assists per game.
His most recent stint in the NBA came with the Memphis Grizzlies as he signed a 10-day contract with the team on Feb. 9, 2017. This season, Douglas has been active for just 14 games (last season he was active for 61 games and started 18 of those games).
28 ARON BAYNES
In 2009, Aron Baynes went undrafted and played for the Lakers Summer League team, but was unable to find a spot with an NBA roster. Baynes wouldn’t get signed to a NBA team until the 2012-13 season when the Spurs decided to give him a chance. Baynes, though, spent a good chunk of time in the D-League and had trouble breaking through to the NBA.
During his first year in the NBA, the center was active for just 16 games and averaged about nine minutes per game. He’s seen a slight uptick in production since. But still hasn’t been a consistent factor on the court. He rarely starts, and sees about 14 minutes per game. He currently plays for Detroit, where he was active for 81 games last season, while averaging about five points and four rebounds per game.
27 JORDAN HILL
So far, Jordan Hill has been all over the NBA since the Knicks drafted him with the eighth overall pick. After that first season, he played for the Rockets, Lakers, Pacers and Timberwolves. This season in Minnesota has been his worst season with the least production as he’s been active for just five games. But Hill has been a pretty good bench player for most of his career. Overall, he averages about 19 minutes a game with about eight points and six rebounds. Playing in just five games this season hurts Hill’s ranking on this list and it makes us wonder whether or not he’ll be able to continue a career in the NBA. But there’s always teams hurting for big men down low late in the season so there’s a good chance that Hill can find his way onto NBA rosters from time to time over the next couple of seasons.
26 GARRETT TEMPLE
Garrett Temple had a rough road to the NBA. He went undrafted back in 2009 and was initially with the Rockets for the 2009 Summer League, and in September of that year, he signed with Houston. But that signing was short lived as he was released soon after. By November, he was part of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers roster. Temple was pretty much an on and off again NBA player until the start of the 2012-13 season.
In 2012, he was part of the Wizards roster and was active for 51 games. Temple even started 36 games that season and averaged about 23 points per game. Throughout his career in the NBA, Temple has been active for 358 games and has started 116 contests and averages about 18 minutes per game on the court. He averages about five points per game, along with a couple rebounds and assists.
25 PATTY MILLS
Patty Mills doesn’t see much action on the court and almost never starts, but he still plays in the NBA, which is better than a lot of people who were drafted back in 2009. Mills was the 55th selection of the draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. While Mills was practicing that summer, he fractured his foot and needed surgery. But he was still signed by Portland that year.
He's been relatively quiet in the NBA as he averages about 17 minutes and eight points per game. But in the last two seasons, Mills has been seeing more playing time as he averages about 21 minutes per game. He’s also producing more on the court as he averages about nine points with three assists and two rebounds per game.
24 DANTE CUNNINGHAM
Dante Cunningham has seen an increase in production over the last five seasons and seems to be playing his best ball currently for the New Orleans Pelicans. Over the past three seasons Cunningham has started more games than he had in his entire career leading up to that point.
Cunningham was the 33rd overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers back in 2009. He then bounced around from the Grizzlies, then the Timberwolves, then finally to the Pelicans. For Cunningham’s career averages, he’s posted about 21 minutes a game with six points and four rebounds. Cunningham definitely hasn’t done much to make a name for himself in the NBA, but he has found his rhythm in New Orleans as he has become a fairly consistent starting forward for the Pelicans.
23 JODIE MEEKS
This second round draft pick has proved his worth in the NBA and proved he should have been a first round selection back in 2009. Back then, the Bucks drafted Jodie Meeks 41st overall. Meeks played just part of his rookie season in Milwaukee before moving on to Philadelphia (he’s also played with the Lakers, Pistons and currently is on the Magic roster).
During Meeks’ rookie season, he played less than 15 minutes a game and had no starts. But things quickly changed for the guard as he played in 74 games the next season and started in 64 of those games. He had four-straight seasons of quality production with both the 76ers and the Lakers. He has seen a steep drop in production with Detroit and Orlando, but he’s had a pretty good career to look back on.
22 ALONZO GEE
Alonzo Gee didn’t break right into the NBA as he was one of the undrafted players in 2009, but he played so good in the NBA’s D-League that he found a spot on the NBA roster since. That’s because Gee was a D-League star as was named the D-League Rookie of the Year and he was a D-League All-Star.
Gee’s longest stretch on one team in the NBA came when he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2010 to 2014. He’s currently playing for the Nuggets. For Gee’s career, he averages about 22 minutes a game with seven points, three rebounds and an assist. His best year was during the 2012-13 season when he started every game for the Cavs, and averaged 31 minutes and 10 points per game.
21 WAYNE ELLINGTON
Wayne Ellington is put on the court more often for his defense and not what he does offensively. Ellington is mostly a bench player who averages about 20 minutes per game. When he’s on the court he averages about seven points, two rebounds and an assist a game. Ellington currently plays in Miami, which comes after a career of moving around all over the place (he’s played for the Nets, Lakers, Mavericks, Cavs, Grizzlies and Timberwolves).
Ellington’s greatest recognition came for his actions off the court. While Ellington was playing for the Nets (2015-16), he was named the recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, which is selected by the Pro Basketball Writers Association. The award is given to a player, coach or staff member who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community.
20 MARCUS THORNTON
Marcus Thornton proved to us all that he should have been drafted higher than the 43rd pick. Thornton had one of the best rookie seasons out of the 2009 draft class and was named to the All-Rookie Second Team after his first season with the Hornets (who traded the Heat for the rights to their draft pick). That year, he broke into the league averaging almost 15 points and 26 minutes per game. In his third season in the NBA, Thornton played just 51 games, but averaged about 35 minutes and 19 points a game.
But over the course of his career, Thornton has been an average bench player who has seen declining playing time after the 2011-12 season. Thornton now plays barely more than 15 minutes a game and is scoring in single-digit totals on most nights. Though, he still averages about 12 points and 23 minutes per game for his career.
19 WESLEY MATTHEWS
After going undrafted in 2009, Wesley Matthews has turned himself into a consistent starting guard who will likely play in the league for years to come. Matthews played with the Jazz and the Kings Summer League squads and eventually signed a one-year deal with Utah. Matthews quickly found another team once he hit the market as he signed a five-year, $34 million contract with the Trail Blazers. In July 2015, Matthews signed a four-year deal with the Mavericks.
Matthews has been a consistent NBA starter since he joined the league. In 2009, he started just 48 games but has since been a consistent and reliable starting guard for the Trail Blazers and the Mavericks. Except for that first season, Matthews has averaged more than 30 minutes per game, while posting about 14 points, three rebounds and two assists.
18 PATRICK BEVERLEY
A lot of teams could really benefit from some of the defensive skills that Patrick Beverley brings to the court. Beverley, who was drafted in the middle of the second round, didn’t break into the league until the 2012 season. So, those early years spent playing out of the NBA really hurt Beverley’s ranking.
And Beverley may have grown into a better player if he were given the opportunity early on. Beverley, the Skills Challenge champion in 2015, was an all-defensive second team selection in 2014 and seems to getting more time on the court as he’s averaged about 30 minutes per game in the last four seasons. To this point in his career, he’s averaged about nine points, four rebounds and three assists in nearly 30 minutes per game.
17 DeMARRE CARROLL
DeMarre Carroll has really improved in the past four seasons compared to his start in the NBA. While playing for Atlanta and Toronto over the last four seasons, he’s been playing about 30 minutes a game and has averaged more than 10 points per game over the stretch.
That is, however, a significant bump in production to what Carroll saw during the first half of his career. During Carroll’s first four seasons in the league, he never played an average of more than 20 minutes per game and wasn’t seeing more than 15 minutes on the court most of the time. During that stretch he only had one season where he averaged more than five points per game. So, it’s a good thing that Carroll has completely turned things around in the last four years.
16 DANNY GREEN
Danny Green has been a consistent starter in the NBA after his first couple of seasons in the league. Green was the 46th pick by the Cavs and was waived after playing in 20 games during his rookie season. Things didn’t get much better as Green saw just eight games during his first season with the Spurs. But his NBA career trended upward from there.
Green went from barely seeing the court, to consistently starting in San Antonio. He has started 80 games twice (and last season he started 79 games). Overall, Green is averaging 25 minutes, nine points and three rebounds per game. Green has started every game he has been active this season, so he’ll likely have a spot on NBA rosters for at least a few more years.
15 BRANDON JENNINGS
After playing high school hoops at the famed Oak Hill Academy, Brandon Jennings went straight to the Pros. But league rules prevented him from going straight to the NBA, so Jennings played overseas for a year before entering the NBA Draft. But he still managed a top-10 spot as Milwaukee drafted him 10th overall. He would play with the Bucks for four seasons before getting traded. Since he’s played on the Pistons, Magic and Knicks.
Although Jennings hasn’t been a major factor in the past few seasons, he averaged about 35 minutes per game as a starter in his first five seasons with about 17 points and six assists. Since, though, he has been on the bench much more often and has seen a steep decline in production.
14 OMRI CASSPI
Omri Casspi has been consistently pretty good, though he’s only been active for 22 games this season and is having a down year compared to career averages. He averages eight points per game, four rebounds and one assist after the time he’s spent in the NBA. This season he’s scoring about six points a game with his usual four rebounds and one assist. He’s also only averaged about 18 minutes per game.
Compared to the rest of the guys drafted this year, it looks like the Kings made a really good decision in drafting Casspi with the 23rd pick. Originally, Casspi had declared himself eligible for the 2008 NBA Draft but withdrew from the draft after failing to receive a first-round draft guarantee from any organization.
13 GERALD HENDERSON
Except for Gerald Henderson’s rookie season and his one year in Portland, he’s been a relatively stable starter. He even had a three-year stretch where he started more than 30 minutes per game each season and averaged about 15 points per game during that stretch. For his career, he averages 26 minutes per game with about 11 points, three rebounds and two assists.
Henderson was originally drafted with the 12th pick by the Charlotte Bobcats and played with the team through the 2015 season. Henderson made a good choice back then as he decided to forgo his senior season to enter the draft. Henderson currently plays with the Philadelphia 76ers, which was a blessing after he played in one of his worst seasons the year before in Portland.
12 DARREN COLLISON
Darren Collison is a guy who can show up on any given night and produce well as a starting point guard. Collison has started about 65 percent of the game 544 games he’s been active for this far in his career. He’s averaged about 30 minutes and puts up about 13 points per game with five assists and a few rebounds.
Although his stats weren’t quite as good as other point guard’s selected in this draft, he’s proved to add a level of consistency that not many players are able to bring to the court. He was more of a bench player last season but has since returned to his starting role with the Kings and looks like he’ll be their point guard for at least the remainder of this season.
11 TY LAWSON
The past couple seasons have been tough for Ty Lawson, but a lot of teams like Detroit would have been happy to benefit from his production in those first six seasons (his rookie year was the down year in those early years but he was better quickly after). Lawson’s production began severely declining in the two seasons since playing for Denver. He went from averaging 31 minutes while scoring about 14 points and seven assists with three bounds, to less than 25 minutes and scored much less than 10 points, five points and three rebounds each season after playing for Denver. If Lawson were able to match that production he saw in Denver, he’d easily be much higher on this list. But his declining stat line makes us wonder how much longer he’s got left in the NBA.
10 TAJ GIBSON
Taj Gibson is a power forward that ended up splitting time with Chicago quite frequently, but would have been deserving a higher draft pick. He’s started about 40 percent of the games he’s been active and has still been producing very well at times. That’s 229 of the 562 games he’s been active for in his career. He’s averaged about nine points per game and six rebounds per game, and he’s consistently played about 25 minutes per game.
Gibson was picked 26th overall, but early on it was becoming obvious that he deserved to be picked higher. Gibson was named to the All-Rookie First Team after his rookie season and has been a reliable big guy for Chicago ever since. In 2014, Gibson finished second for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award.
9 JAMES JOHNSON
This season has been James Johnson’s best season in the NBA. Johnson hasn’t started any games this season, which is the first time this has happened in his career. He’s never really been a consistent starter throughout the entire season, but he had never played off the bench for the bench for the entire season, either. And playing off the bench really seems to be helping Johnson’s gameplay as he’s turning into one of the NBA’s best bench players and there’s no reason to think that this production will change.
But this season Johnson looks like he’s solely a bench player in Miami and it suits him well. He’s outmatching his career averages in each statistical category. He’s playing about 27 minutes a game and averaging 12 points with five rebounds and three assists.
8 TYREKE EVANS
Tyreke Evans burst into the league with an amazing first season. Back in 2010, he was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year and his future in the NBA looked very promising. During that first season, Evans looked like a star. He averaged 20 points a game with about six assists and five rebounds. It looked like the Pelicans had hit the jackpot with this pick.
But in the next four seasons, Evans production kept declining. He scored less and less each year and never came close to his rookie-year production. He improved a bit shortly after, but is having a really rough season this year as he’s been active for just 26 games and is only averaging about 10 points with three assists and rebounds.
7 RICKY RUBIO
The Timberwolves found their point guard when they drafted Ricky Rubio as he’s played for Minnesota since he’s been drafted. Rubio, though, wasn’t available in that first season back in 2009. There were issues in getting Rubio to the NBA and he played professionally out of the country until the next year. The major downside in Rubio’s career is that he has played in less than 50 games in three different seasons. Following the 2014-2015 season, he was active and started in just 22 games.
When he is on the court, Rubio is a fairly consistent point guard. He’s averages about 31 minutes per game when he’s playing and averages about 10 points a game with eight assists and four rebounds. Although Rubio may not be a star, he’s proved to be consistent on the court.
6 JEFF TEAGUE
Jeff Teague has been really consistent after his first couple of seasons in the NBA. During his first two seasons, Teague started just 10 games and didn’t produce much from Atlanta’s bench. In those first two seasons, he averaged about four points a game with two assists and a rebound. In those early years he played in about 12 minutes a game. Things have really turned around since then as he’s averaged more than 30 minutes per game in every season except for the 2016 season.
Teague hasn’t been among the league’s best players for long, but in 2015 he was an All-Star selection and if he can remain healthy, there can be more All-Star games in his near future. Either way, Teague has proven to be better than most of the guys on this list.
5 JRUE HOLIDAY
Jrue Holiday has been good, but not great during his time in the NBA. His best season came when he was selected to the 2013 All-Star game. That year he averaged about 18 points, eight assists and four rebounds. For his career, he’s averaged 14.3 points, 6.2 assists and 3.6 rebounds.
There have been a couple of seasons when he’s been active for just half of the regular season games, but for the most part, he’s ready to get on the court. But he’s been active in more than 70 games in just three seasons. After playing in nearly 500 games and starting about 400 of them, Holiday averages about 14 points a game with six assists and four rebounds. He’s proved to be a very good all-around point guard. Holiday just isn’t on the court enough to get any higher on this list.
4 DeMAR DeROZAN
DeMar DeRozan has been getting better over the years and has really started making a name for himself in Toronto over the last few seasons. DeRozan is a three-time All-Star selection (2014, 2016 and 2017). But DeRozan showed the league his talent early on. He was named the NBA All-Star Rising Star back in 2011. And since the end of the 2013 season, DeRozan has averaged more than 20 points per game.
This season, he’s averaging more than 27 points per game, bringing his average to about 19 points per game for his career. His recent production has made him one of the best guards in the NBA, and if he can continue this type of production, he’ll have a chance to jump even higher on this list.
3 BLAKE GRIFFIN
Although Blake Griffin missed what should have been his first season because of an injury, he broke into the league as the Rookie of the Year and was an All-Star selection for his first five years. Sure, injuries have kept him relatively quiet over the past two seasons, but Griffin is still one of the best post players in the NBA.
Griffin, who has started every game he’s been active (446), averages 35 minutes per game when he’s healthy. He also averages near a double-double each time he’s on the court. Throughout his career Griffin, on average, posts 21.5 points and 9.5 rebounds each game. And he even averages about four assists per game. Being able to get other guys involved is a nice additional skill for a big guy.
2 JAMES HARDEN
Sure, James Harden’s first few seasons weren’t as good as Griffin, but he was a solid sixth man while with the Thunder. In fact, he was named the Sixth-Man of the Year in 2012 during his last season with the Thunder. He started just two games that season, but has since started nearly every game for Houston. Harden has been an All-Star selection each year since joining the Rockets.
Although Griffin has posted great numbers during his career, injuries and missing games are what gives Harden the edge with these rankings. Griffin just isn’t as consistent of a producer for his team. Harden is the complete opposite. He started every game last season and has the chance to do the same this season, and he’s only had one season where he was active for less than 70 games.
1 STEPHEN CURRY
Stephen Curry might go down as the best shooter in NBA history and is one of the best players to ever play the game. No matter how good Griffin has been or will be, Curry has proved to be better. Curry, an NBA champion, is a four-time All Star and has been named the league’s MVP twice (2015 and 2016).
Last year was one of his best seasons yet. Curry led the league in steals and also was the league’s best scorer. Curry originally went to Golden State with the seventh pick, but his career is deserving of the top pick in the draft. Curry is, without a doubt, one of the best players in the league and will go down as one of the best players in NBA history.
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