WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The players drafted before Stephen Curry in the 2009 NBA draft

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Stephen Curry is arguably the greatest basketball player in the world right now.

While it is not unusual for an all-time great to slip past the first pick in the NBA draft, it is strange to see a talent like Curry not be drafted until six other players have come off the board.

Below, we take a look at the six teams that passed on Curry, who they chose instead, and where those players are now.


1. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

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Position: Power forward

All-Star games: 5

All-NBA team: 2nd team (three times), 3rd team (one time)

Championships: 0

What was said at the time: “Griffin has some holes. He’ll be beat defensively. He isn’t the sturdiest in the low post, as he tends to fall to his left or right when he should be jumping straight up for jump hooks. The same glitch hurts his jump shot. He isn’t 7-feet tall, either. And that’s about it. The guy is a stud.” –Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo Sports

Where he is now: Not all of the picks ahead of Curry were busts. In fact, there are a couple that can be argued were not mistakes at all, including Griffin, a perennial All-Star on a championship contender.


2. Hasheem Thabeet, Memphis Grizzlies

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YouTube/D-League

Position: Center

All-Star games: 0

All-NBA team: 0

Championships: 0

What was said at the time: “I am not a huge fan of Thabeet but understand why the Grizzlies went that way. Ricky Rubio wasn’t cooperating, and Thabeet can help the Grizzlies, who needed a big, athletic shot-blocker. He is limited offensively, but he can change the game on defense.” –Chad Ford of ESPN.com

Where he is now: Thabeet played for four NBA teams in five years, and that doesn’t even include his two stints in the D-League. Out of the NBA completely during the 2014-15 season, Thabeet played in the D-League and was last seen being ejected from a Summer League game.


3. James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder

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Position: Shooting guard

All-Star games: 3

All-NBA team: 1st team (two times), 3rd team (one time)

Championships: 0

What was said at the time: “While I thought the Thunder might be able to use Ricky Rubio as a trade asset, if nothing else, it’s hard to fault Sam Presti. Harden is a better fit in the backcourt with Russell Westbrook.” –Chad Ford of ESPN.com

Where he is now: After being traded to Houston, Harden has thrived in the Rockets’ offense, which emphasizes three-pointers and driving to the basket. Harden finished second in the MVP voting for the 2014-15 season.


4. Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings

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Position: Shooting guard

All-Star games: 0

All-NBA team: 0

Championships: 0

What was said at the time: “Evans is a talented guy and one of the most NBA-ready guards in the draft, a terrific, physical slasher who knows how to score … On the other hand, I think the Kings chose the safest route, picking now over the future. Ricky Rubio was a better fit than Evans, who is a not a point guard.” –Chad Ford of ESPN.com

Where he is now: Despite all of the other great talent in this draft, it was actually Evans who won Rookie of the Year. But after averaging 20.2 points as a rookie, his scoring numbers have regressed a bit. Still a very good starter in the NBA, he has since been traded to the New Orleans Pelicans and is now a 15-point, 7-assist-per-game player.


5. Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves

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Position: Point guard

All-Star games: 0

All-NBA team: 0

Championships: 0

What was said at the time: “Processes the game a step ahead of everybody else. Anticipation makes him a prolific distributor and ball thief. Sets up his teammates for easy baskets by leading them to the ball. Creates his own angles to open up passing lanes. Superb ball-handler.” –NBA.com.

Where he is now: This is where things started to get wonky in the draft. With doubts about whether Stephen Curry could play the point in the NBA, the Timberwolves drafted Rubio, a good passer and solid defender, but terrible shooter. On top of that, he spent two more years in Europe before coming to the NBA. Rubio just completed his fifth season, averaging 10.1 points and 8.7 assists per game this year.


6. Jonny Flynn, Minnesota Timberwolves

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Position: Point guard

All-Star games: 0

All-NBA team: 0

Championships: 0

What was said at the time: “Rubio and Flynn might have been the two best point guards in the draft. But to fall in love with them both and actually take them both amounts to point guard polygamy.” –Chad Ford of ESPN.com

Where he is now: The Timberwolves then doubled-down on point guards not named Stephen Curry. Flynn was demoted to the D-League mid-way through his second season and hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2011-12 season, when he suited up 18 times for the Portland Trail Blazers. He was last seen playing for a team in Italy in 2014. But that stint lasted just two games, as he was released after getting injured.


7. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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Position: Point guard

All-Star games: 2

All-NBA team: 1st team (one time), 2nd team (one time)

Championships: 1

What was said at the time: “Curry may or may not (rumors lean toward the latter, at this point) be on his way to Phoenix in a deal that would net the WarriorsAmar’e Stoudemire.Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter thatMonta Ellis might be unhappy with Golden State selecting a player with a frame similar to his. If Monta Ellis has enough sway in your organization to call shots, then your organization is shot. Curry can play. Figure the rest out later.” –Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo Sports

Where he is now: Curry is now arguably the greatest basketball player on the planet. After winning the MVP and a championship last year, he elevated his game even further this season as the NBA’s best shooter, a cunning handler of the basketball, and an underrated defender. That led to his second MVP award and being on the brink of winning his second ring.


(BONUS) 8. Jordan Hill, New York Knicks

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Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Position: Power forward

All-Star games: 0

All-NBA team: 0

Championships: 0

What was said at the time: “The fans booed, but Hill is a great value here, a true power forward who is an upgrade from Al Harrington at the position. He’s got the ability to become an absolute stud, and at the least should be a poor man’s Jermaine O’Neal.” –NBADraftNet.com.

Where he is now: We include Jordan Hill here because it was believed at the time that the Knicks wanted to draft Stephen Curry and Curry wanted to play for the Knicks. Instead of trading up, the Knicks made the mistake of staying put, only to see Curry go one pick before they were on the board. Hill was later part of the trade that sent Tracy McGrady to the Knicks. Hill has since become a good role player off the bench, playing now with the Indiana Pacers and averaging 8.8 points per game. But it is hard not to think about what could have been.


Now check out where Stephen Curry ranks among all athletes:

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Samantha Lee/Business Insider

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