"With the fourth pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings select..."

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As it pertains to the 2009 NBA draft, the consensus (agh…the “C” word!) around StR is that if we don’t get a top two pick, we’re basically screwed. It’s Griffin/Rubio going 1-2 or 2-1, with the 3rd pick being of such reduced quality that even Kevin Pritchard wouldn’t finagle for it. And I’m pretty much in that camp, even though guys like Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings certainly intrigue me.

Because none of you out there in StR land have decided to argue how/why we will be alright with the 3rd or 4th pick, it is left up to me to argue with myself. There is a benefit to this – I always win the argument. The downside is that sometimes my arguments with myself get rather contentious, and as a result I won’t talk to myself for days.

It will be a couple of years before we truly know the depth of this draft. Last year, it was all about Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley, until O.J. Mayo worked his way into the conversation a few weeks before the draft. The year before that, it was Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. But ask Atlanta how happy they are with Al Horford, whom they selected with the third pick. Horford may be just outside the range of “franchise player,” but he was a very nice add for the Hawks at #3.

OK, we know that we have a top four pick, as well as the #23 and #31 selections. Let’s take a look at what these picks could have provided us with over the past five years. Since we still don’t know our lot at the top of the draft, we’ll list the top four plus a wild card within the lottery for each year. We’ll show the best player from each year that was drafted between #23 and #30, as well as the best 2nd round talent.

2008 – Rose, Beasley, Mayo, and Russell Westbrook. Wild Card is Eric Gordon (chosen 7th). Nicolas Batum was chosen 25th, Mario Chalmers 34th. If we walked into this draft with #4, #23 and #31 and walked out with Westbrook, Batum and Chalmers, we’d be pretty happy, yes?

2007 – Oden, Durant, Horford, Mike Conley, Jr. WC = Jeff Green (5th). Rudy Fernandez went 24th, Aaron Brooks 26th, Marc Gasol 48th and Ramon Sessions 56th.

2006 – Andrea Barganani, LaMarcus Aldridge, Adam Morrison, Tyrus Thomas. Brandon Roy 6th, Kyle Lowry 24th, Sergio Rodriuguez 27th, Boobie Gibson 42nd, Paul Millsap 47th.

2005 – Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, Deron Williams, Chris Paul III, Andrew Bynum 10th, David Lee 30th (we selected Francisco Garcia 23rd that year), Brandon Bass 33rd, Monta Ellis 40th.

2004 – Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Shaun Livingston, Devin Harris 5th, Andre Iguodala 9th, Kevin Martin 26th, Anderson Varejao 31st.

The good news? There is a load of talent on that list. A load. The bad news? There are a few misses on that list, and a lot more that are not listed as you pick through each draft.

This is where Geoff Petrie’s performance as a draft guru comes in. As has been chronicled here before, GP has had tons more hits than misses. The fact that you have to hang your hat on Quincy Douby when speaking of Petrie’s draft failures speaks volumes about his extended period of success (Brian Grant, Corliss Williamson, Peja Stojakovic, Jason Williams, Hedo Tukoglu, Gerald Wallace, Kevin Martin Francisco Garcia, Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson – and for you 2nd round fans, Michael Smith, Lawrence Funderburke, Tyus Edney, Anthony Johnson).

When you look at the talent that was available over the past five years and couple that with Petrie’s acumen as a draft prognosticator, you can’t help but get a little excited about the upcoming draft. I have enough confidence in this draft pool that it will be at least four players deep in all star talent, and that GP will grab one of them, as well as at least one guy later that will help this team. Yep, everything is going to be just fine.

“Gosh, 214. I feel much better now. Bring on May 19th! How do you feel?”

“Up yours, section. Take your half-full glass of Petrie’s Kool-Aid and go Natt yourself.”

Hmm. It’s going to be awfully quiet between me and myself over the next couple of weeks.


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