Imagining how previous NBA drafts would play out in hindsight is always fun, an instant debate starter for basketball fans. I’m sure we’ve all wasted a countless hours analyzing questions like:
- Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh No. 3 behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in 2004?
- Do half the top-eight picks in 2013 remain in the top eight in a re-draft?
- Where would DeMar DeRozan, originally selected No. 9, go if the 2009 picks were re-chosen?
That last question interests even DeRozan, who’s apparently a basketball fan just like the rest of us.
DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:
“I think Chuck [Hayes] brought it up. We were saying that if we did my draft class over, where would guys [be picked] now,” DeRozan said on Sunday evening. “Chuck brought it up. It was kind of funny and made me think about everybody in my draft class and what they’re doing now. There are not too many that are … playing and getting a lot of minutes.”
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Stephen Curry (No. 7 in the actual draft), Blake Griffin (No. 1) and James Harden (No. 3) would definitely remain ahead of DeRozan, and Ty Lawson (No. 18) would pass him. That puts DeRozan in the 5-9 tier with Taj Gibson, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Ricky Rubio.
It would come down to team need and fit.
At minimum, DeRozan wouldn’t fall – which is a credit to how much he’s progressed this season. An All-Star, he’ll be a strong candidate for Most Improved Player.
But the draft – despite Hasheem Thabeet (No. 2) and Jonny Flynn (No. 6) being high-profile busts – wasn’t quite as weak as DeRozan implies. Just getting minutes doesn’t mean he’d necessarily move up.
Several players in the draft have put together a single strong season, and DeRozan joined that group this year. Whichever player(s) in his tier consistently produce impressive seasons will jump above the rest.
When DeRozan is re-drafting his class next year, if he’s having as strong a season as this one, he can safely put himself higher. Until then, where he belongs in the 5-9 range is up to debate.