Where are they now? The players drafted before Stephen Curry in the 2009 NBA Draft

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
AP: Curry Named 2015's Top Male Athlete


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, whom they chose instead, and where those players are now.

1. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Position: Power forward

All-Star games: 5

All-NBA team: 2nd team (3 times), 3rd team (1 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

2009 NBA Rookie Portraits

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

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Position: Shooting guard

All-Star games: 3

All-NBA team: 1st team (2 times), 3rd team (1 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 3-pointers and driving to the basket. Harden finished second in the MVP voting for the 2014-15 season.


4. Tyreke Evans, Sacrament Kings

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for 40/40 Club

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. However, 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 Pelicans and is now a 15-point, 7-assist per-game player.


5. Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

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. Now in his fifth season, Rubio is averaging 9.7 points and 8.8 assists per game.


6. Jonny Flynn, Minnesota Timberwolves

2012/13 NBL Portrait Session

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. However, that stint lasted just two games as he was released after getting injured.


7. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Position: Point guard

All-Star games: 2

All-NBA team: 1st team (1 time), 2nd team (1 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 Warriors Amar'e Stoudemire. Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter that Monta 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, Curry has actually elevated his game even further this season as the NBA's best shooter, a cunning handler of the basketball, and an underrated defender who is third in the NBA in steals.


(BONUS) 8. Jordan Hill, New York Knicks

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 10.0 points per game. But it is hard not to think about what could have been.


Now check out how much each team pays their highest-paid player.

33 PHOTOS
Highest paid player on every NFL team 2015
See Gallery
Where are they now? The players drafted before Stephen Curry in the 2009 NBA Draft

32. Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns — $9,000,000

Position: Left tackle

2015 earnings breakdown: $8.8 million salary, $200,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Thomas has started every game of his 9-year NFL career.

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

31. TY Hilton, Indianapolis Colts — $11,000,000

Position: Wide Receiver

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary.

One thing to know: Hilton's spot on this list will be short-lived as quarterback Andrew Luck is due for a new contract that will likely challenge the all-time records.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

30. Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals — $11,719,114

Position: Cornerback

2015 earnings breakdown: $11.6 million salary, $100,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Peterson's $70.1 million contract is nearly identical to the one signed by Darrelle Revis with the Jets.

(Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

29. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers — $12,800,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.4 million salary, $2.0 million roster bonus, $400,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Colin Kaepernick's $114 million contract was never as good as it sounded and chances are he will never see the end of it.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

26t. DeAndre Levy, Detroit Lions — $13,000,000

Position: Linebacker

2015 earnings breakdown: $12.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary.

One thing to know: Levy's $33.8 million contract is a distant fourth when ranking the total value of contracts for Lions players, but he has the benefit of a signing bonus this year. Over the next four years, his salary is a more reasonable $5-7 million per year.

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

26t. Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs — $13,000,000

Position: Linebacker

2015 earnings breakdown: $12.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary

One thing to know: Houston's 6-year, $101 million is $35 million bigger than any other linebacker's contract, but $8.5 million of his $20.5 million signing bonus was deferred until next year.

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

26t. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings — $13,000,000

Position: Running Back

2015 earnings breakdown: $11.0 million salary, $2.0 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: After missing nearly the entire 2014 season, Peterson is back and already leading the NFL in rushing through the first four weeks. His 3-year, $42 million contract did not come with a signing bonus, so it is basically a year-to-year deal.

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

24t. Byron Maxwell, Philadelphia Eagles — $13,500,000

Position: Cornerback

2015 earnings breakdown: $6.5 million roster bonus, $6.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary.

One thing to know: His 6-year, $63 million is fourth among cornerbacks in terms of total value.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

24t. Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Bucs — $13,500,000

Position: Defensive Tackle

2015 earnings breakdown: $6.5 million roster bonus, $5.0 million salary, $2.0 million option bonus.

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

23. Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens — $14,000,000

Position: Cornerback

2015 earnings breakdown: $13.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary

One thing to know: Smith's contract is a distant second on the Ravens in terms of total value, behind quarterback Joe Flacco, but Flacco will only make $8.8 million this year.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

22. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots — $15,000,000

Position: Tight End

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.0 million signing bonus, $4.75 million salary, $250,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: With the Patriots locking up Gronkowski to a 6-year, $54 million contract in 2012, they got one of the best steals in the NFL. Gronk will have salaries of $2.25 million and $4.25 million the next two years.

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

22t. Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos — $15,000,000

Position: Quarterback and Wide Receiver

2015 earnings breakdown: Manning: $15 million salary; Thomas: $6.5 million roster bonus, $4.5 million salary, $4.0 million signing bonus.

One thing to know: Manning can also earn a $2 million bonus if the Broncos reach the Super Bowl and another $2 million if they win. Thomas recently signed a 5-year, $70 million contract with exactly half of that ($35 million) fully guaranteed.

(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

20t. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers — $15,100,000

Position: Wide Receiver

2015 earnings breakdown: $13.0 million signing bonus, $1.2 million salary, $500,000 roster bonus, $400,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Randall Cobb signed a 4-year, 40.0 million extension this off-season.

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

20t. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars — $15,100,000

Position: Tight End

2015 earnings breakdown: $6.0 million signing bonus, $9.0 million salary, $100,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Thomas signed a 5-year, $46.0 million contract with the Jags as a free agent this summer, but has yet to play in a game because of a hand injury.

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

19. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders — $15,177,266

Position: Wide Receiver

2015 earnings breakdown: $14.7 million signing bonus, $435,000 salary.

One thing to know: Amari Cooper is already looking like he is ready to be the next great wide receiver in the NFL.

(Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

17. Robert Quinn, St. Louis Rams — $15,788,756

Position: Defensive End

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.2 million roster bonus, $5.6 million salary.

One thing to know: After recording 19 sacks in 2013, Quinn signed a 4-year, $57.0 million extension. He had 10.5 sacks in 2014.

(Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)

16. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets — $16,000,000

Position: Cornerback

2015 earnings breakdown: $16.0 million salary.

One thing to know: No player has gambled on himself more than Revis, and it keeps paying off, turning a nonguaranteed contract into $68 million.

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

15. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans — $16,305,164

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $15.9 million signing bonus, $435,000 salary.

One thing to know: Mariota is actually the highest-paid rookie this year, as top pick Jameis Winston had 35% of his $17.0 million signing bonus deferred until 2016.

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

14. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys — $17,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $16.0 million restructure bonus, $1.0 million salary.

One thing to know: Romo's 6-year, $108 million contract originally called for a $17 million salary this season. By turning $16 million of that into a bonus, the Cowboys are able to spread the impact to the salary cap over several years. The downside is that he will count $21 million against the cap next season despite just an $8.5 million salary, so another restructuring will likely be done.

(Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)

13. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints — $19,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $18.75 million salary, $250,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Drew Brees is now in Year 4 of his 5-year, $100 million contract, and the back-loaded deal is starting to kill the Saints' salary cap. Brees will take up $26.4 million against the cap this year, more than $5 million more than any other player in the NFL.

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

12. Ryan Kerrigan, Washington Redskins — $19,038,000

Position: Linebacker

2015 earnings breakdown: $16.0 million signing bonus, $2.8 million salary, $250,000 roster bonus.

One thing to know: Kerrigan is going to be a one-hit wonder on this list, having just signed a 5-year, $57.5 million contract. His total earnings in 2016 will be just $5.3 million.

(Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

11. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans — $19,969,000

Position: Defensive End

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.0 million restructure bonus, $9.97 million salary.

One thing to know: In just the second year of his 6-year, $100 million contract, Watt has already restructured the deal once, converting his $10 million roster bonus this season into a restructure bonus, spreading the cap hit out over the next five years.

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

10. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears — $20,500,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $15.5 million salary, $5.0 million restructure bonus.

One thing to know: Jay Cutler has already earned $75.7 million heading into the 2015 season, and he has played in just two playoff games, winning one.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons — $23,500,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $12.0 million signing bonus, $11.5 million salary.

One thing to know: Ryan still has four years remaining on his 5-year, $103.75 million contract extension.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

8. Ndamukong Suh, Miami Dolphins — $26,500,000

Position: Defensive Tackle

2015 earnings breakdown: $25.5 million signing bonus, $985,000 salary, $15,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Despite all the big contracts for quarterbacks, Suh was arguably the biggest winner, getting a megadeal worth $114 million over six years, including $60 million guaranteed. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the contract is going to become a nightmare after the second year.

(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

7. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals — $26,750,000

2015 earnings breakdown: $15.0 million signing bonus, $11.75 million salary.

One thing to know: Green signed a 4-year, $60 million contract just prior to the start of the season. The $15.0 million-per-year average is second only to Calvin Johnson among wide receivers.

(AP Photo/AJ Mast, File)

6. Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills — $27,823,530

Position: Defensive Tackle

2015 earnings breakdown: $25.0 million signing bonus, $2.8 million salary.

One thing to know: Dareus cashed in just before the start of the season with a $96.6 million contract that includes $60 million guaranteed. However, as has become the norm in the NFL, the "real guarantee" is really just his earnings this year with the rest only guaranteed against injury.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

5. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers — $31,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $22.5 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary, $7.5 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: Cam was one of several quarterbacks to cash in this summer, getting a 5-year, $103.8 million deal. It was his deal that set the tone for all the others.

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks — $31,700,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $31.0 million signing bonus, $700,000 salary.

One thing to know: Russell Wilson is finally going to get paid, but his contract was not the game changer many were expecting.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

3. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers — $35,250,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $31 million signing bonus, $1 million salary, $3.25 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: At $87.4 million, the contract signed this off-season by Big Ben doesn't sound as sexy as the other deals signed by quarterbacks. However, it was better than most as he got more than $35 million in Year 1 and a whopping $53 million over the first two seasons.

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

2. Eli Manning, New York Giants — $37,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $31.0 million signing bonus, $5.5 million salary, $500,000 workout bonus.

One thing to knowEli Manning finally agreed to his long-anticipated contract extension that includes an NFL-record-tying $65 million guaranteed and a whopping $37 million in the first year.

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

1. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers — $37,500,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $22.5 million signing bonus, $15.0 million salary.

One thing to know: While everybody was focused on Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, and Ndamukong Suh, it was Rivers who got the surprise monster contract of the off-season. Like Roethlisberger's deal, at $83.3 million, Rivers' new extension doesn't sound as sexy. But he got an NFL-record $65 million in guaranteed money and $54 million over the first two seasons.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

The highest-paid player on every NBA team


See Also:

Read Full Story

From Our Partners