Ricky Rubio tops NBA ’09 Draft Rankings in PG position, Calathes at #7

ImageThe Point Guard (PG) class is the strongest position group in the 2009 NBA Draft.  It’s a good thing too because good guards are the key to success, they are the guys driving the bus.  Every year it is proven that guard play is a key factor in determining NCAA Tournament success.

The NBA is an open floor, pick & roll, shot making game & you need guard play to flourish.  Even if you have a quality big man, you still need the guys to get him the ball and make shots when defenses double team the post.  Team USA went ’small’ to win gold in the ‘08 Olympics carrying 3 PG’s (Kidd, Paul, Williams) and several other combo-guard & shooting guard types (Kobe, Wade, LBJ, Redd) to apply constant pressure on the defense.

The overall depth, variety, and quality is there compared to other positions where there are a lot of question marks.  Of course nothing is ever guaranteed and one day we may look back and say this group flopped, but coming out of college and through the early stages of workouts, PG looks like the best position in the draft.

POINT GUARDS:

1. Ricky Rubio – 6′4 180 PG – DKV Joventut (Spain): Leader, smart kid with great court sense.  Creative passer, lanky long armed defender.  Magnetic personality, teammates respond to him.  Stroke needs work.  Off court, his club sold his ~$6.5M buyout to Spain’s “IRS” to settle an old debt.  NBA squads can only pay up to $500k to assist and Rubio made about $97,000 last year.  I suppose Nike can pay it.
2. Stephen Curry – 6′3 180 CG – Davidson: Best shooter at the position and in the draft.  Great range.  Uses picks & creates space well, crafty finishes off bounce.  Good hoops IQ, poised, & sneaky quick.  If all else fails, he has a career as a spot up 3-pt. shooter.  Dad had lengthy NBA career, brother at Duke.
3. Jonny Flynn – 6′0 194 PG – Syracuse: Strong, quick, & explosive PG, best off the bounce.  Good in Pick & Roll, needs to become consistent from distance.  Smart kid, good personality, solid leadership skills.  Has climbed in my view after Big East tourney, NCAA’s, and recent work.
4. Ty Lawson – 6′0 195 PG – North Carolina: Great in transition, ball speed is outstanding.  Should develop into good Pick & Roll guy although UNC didn’t run it much.  Not thought of as a shooter but his TS% is very good.  Has won ACC & National Championships, works for me.
5. (tie) Jeff Teague – 6′2 180 CG – Wake Forest:  Scorer, can play off the ball.  Needs some fine tuning as lead PG but has tools.  Very long & wiry strong.  Good instincts & a gamer.
6. (5 tie) Brandon Jennings – 6′1 170 PG – Lottomatica Roma: Based entirely off potential, basically did nothing in Europe.  Lanky & very athletic but you may need to wait a bit for development & maturity.  Definitely has flash & a flair for the game.
7. Nick Calathes – 6′5 185 CG – Florida: Size to play either guard spot but best passer in the draft.  Great vision and utilizes R or L extremely well.  Shoots it with confidence but stroke could use some work.  Dual passport, signed with Panathinaikos in Greece, the Triple Crown winners of the Greek League, Cup, & EuroLeague Championship.
8. Eric Maynor – 6′3 167 PG – Virginia Commonwealth: True PG.  Very smooth, quick & shifty with the ball.  Can get into the lane, good passer.  Made big shots in college & scored but would adapt to role on NBA club.
9. Patty Mills – 5′11 170 PG – St. Mary’s: Very quick, had great freshman year and Olympic Games for Australia not as great of a sophomore season due in part to hand injury.  Great leader, very competitive.  More of a scoring PG & plays off the ball a lot at SMC.  Shooting consistency needs improvement, another year with the Gaels would be good.
10. Darren Collison – 6′1 165 PG – UCLA: Great speed and quickness.  Good leadership & has won a lot of games with the Bruins.  Solid team defender.  Over dribbles some.

Others:

1. Toney Douglas – 6′2 195 CG – Florida State: Best individual defender, really competes.  Strongest PG in Chicago testing and fastest guy there.  Not a full time PG in college, will need to learn the position.
2. Jrue Holiday – 6′4 199 CG – UCLA: Up, down, up, down.  Crazy talent coming out of HS but inconsistency isn’t good.  Has size and athletic ability but not a pure PG & would be a smallish average shooting SG.  Needs a position & time.
3. Sergio Llull – 6′3 190 PG – Real Madrid (Spain): Good young guard (21) on high level team in Spanish ACB and EuroLeague.
4. Rodrique Beaubois – 6′2 182 PG – Cholet (France): Freakishly long arms (6′10 wingspan) and tremendous athleticism.  Max vertical jump (39″) second to Flynn (40″).  Also boasted some of the best speed & quickness measures of those tested.  Plays with Nando De Colo 6′5 G on Cholet.

Not To Mention:

* AJ Price – UConn
* Jeremy Pargo – Gonzaga
* Greivis Vasquez – Maryland
* Tyrese Rice – Boston College
* Dominic James – Marquette
* Curtis Jerrells – Baylor
* Daniel Hackett – USC (will play in Italy)
* Lester Hudson – TN Martin