Blake Griffin, James Harden and Four Other Players Who Were Drafted Before Steph Curry

Published 02/24/2021, 2:45 AM EST
Jan 8, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) returns to defense after a three point basket against the Los Angeles Clippers during the third quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


Steph Curry is arguably the greatest shooter the NBA has ever seen. He has established the Golden State Warriors as one of the best teams in the last decade by winning three championships.

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Steph was an exceptional shooter in college, too. Playing for Davidson College, Curry averaged an insane 25.3 points, 3.7 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 41.2% from the three-point line. Despite Curry’s insane statistics, he was not seen as the top prospect of the class.

Scouts doubted whether the then 21-year-old could be this efficient from the three-point line. Thus, Steph Curry slipped to the 7th pick in the 2009 NBA draft and was picked by the Golden State Warriors.

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Take a look at the six players drafted before the Baby Faced Assassin.

The six players drafted before Steph Curry

6) Jonny Flynn

Jonny Flynn was touted to become one of the most explosive point guards in the league before the draft. In his pre-draft report, the 6’0 guard was considered a top guard with great handles and was especially one of the fastest players in the class.

Flynn was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 6th pick of the 2009 draft. Unfortunately, he suffered from a hip injury which pretty much derailed his career. Without the explosiveness, Flynn fizzled out in offense.

After spending three seasons in the league, the 6’0 guard was waived off by the Detroit Pistons. He hasn’t played a single game in the NBA since 2012.

5) Ricky Rubio

The Spaniard Rubio was seen as a pure point guard in the draft and was a pass-first guard. He was also a solid player on defense and had the potential to be a franchise cornerstone. The Timberwolves were convinced that the duo of Rubio and Flynn was going to be a mainstay and drafted the Spaniard with the 5th pick of the draft.

The Spaniard did not live up to the hype, however. He was decent as a starter, adding around 10 points and 8 assists in his rookie season, and showed the potential to be a star. But ultimately, he couldn’t take the next step and remained a decent role player.

After a solid season with the Suns, Rubio is back with the Timberwolves. He is averaging 7.6 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game. Minnesota will hope that he can maintain this form and remain impactful coming off the bench.

4) Tyreke Evans

Tyreke Evans was arguably the best rookie of this class. Drafted as the fourth pick of the draft by the Sacramento Kings, Evans proved to be an explosive all-round player and averaged an insane 20.1 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per game as a rookie.

He was head and shoulders above other rookies and was awarded the Rookie of the Year trophy. After a blistering rookie season, Evans saw a significant decrease in usage rate due to the emergence of other rookies like DeMarcus Cousins and Isiah Thomas. He also suffered from multiple injuries in the next two seasons, which led to the Kings trading him.

Over the years, Evans remained a solid player but could never replicate his form from his rookie season. Evans last played in the NBA for the Pacers in 2019 before being suspended for violating the terms of the NBA/National Basketball Players Association anti-drug program.

3) James Harden

James Harden was considered as a crafty wing player prior to the 2009 draft. At 6’5, Harden was an all-round offensive threat worth the pick. OKC Thunder drafted Harden with the third pick. The 6’5 guard had a decent rookie season averaging 9.9 points, 1.8 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game.

He continued to progress in the next two seasons. 2011-12 was the game-changer for ‘the Beard.’ He was the sixth man in a loaded Thunder team and averaged an insane 16.8 points, 3.7 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA MAY 14, 2012-Lakers Kobe Bryant and Thunders James Harden battle for a loose ball in Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference semifinal in Oklahoma Monday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

His performances off the bench propelled the Thunder to their first Finals appearance. It was just the start for Harden, who became the star player in the Houston Rockets.

Since then, the 31-year-old has cemented himself as one of the best players in the league and arguably one of the best scorers the NBA has ever seen.

2) Hasheem Thabeet

At 7’2, coming out of UConn, Thabeet was touted to be a top center in the league and was compared to legends like Dikembe Mutombo in his pre-draft scouting report.

Given his size and athleticism, he dominated college basketball. Because of his skill set, he was seen as a top two-pick of the 2009 draft class, and the Memphis Grizzlies took the gamble on the Tanzanian.

This did not pay off for the Grizzlies, as Thabeet was nowhere near as dominant in the NBA and was clueless once he had the ball. After just four seasons in the league, the 7’2 big was let go by the OKC Thunder.

In the 224 games, he played he averaged a miserable 2.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks per game. He is probably one of the biggest busts in league history.

1) Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin was one of the most athletic rookies in the class and was considered the perfect forward for a team to be built around. A dominant rebounder, Griffin’s explosiveness, and impressive skill set made him the favorite to be drafted as the number 1 pick.

The Los Angeles Clippers were convinced with the star’s workout, and they drafted him as the number one overall pick, and the 6’10 forward turned around the Clippers’ organisation.

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With a guard like Chris Paul and a forward like Griffin, the lob-city Clippers were one of the most entertaining teams in the league. Over the years, the 6-time All-star also worked on his game and developed a reliable jump shot.

But at 31, Griffin’s game has certainly declined. He is no longer the athletic forward he once was, but can be a solid role player.

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The 2009 draft class was full of great players like James Harden and Blake Griffin, but none of them have been as successful as Steph Curry. Teams like the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves must have certainly regretted not taking Curry with their picks.

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Aditya Mohapatra

870 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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