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Players drafted before Steph Curry; Where are they now?
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Players drafted before Steph Curry; Where are they now?

SAN FRANCISCO (BVM) – Steph Curry was passed on six times before the Golden State Warriors selected him as the No. 7 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. 

So, what happened to the six players drafted before Curry? It’s been 15 years since the 2009 draft – and while some careers flourished, others experienced challenges along the way.

1. Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers) 

Career average: 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists in 13 seasons
Achievements: Six-time NBA All-Star, three-time All-NBA Second Team, 2011 NBA Rookie of the Year and 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion

Griffin last played with the Boston Celtics during the 2022-23 season – where he averaged 13.9 minutes and 4.1 points in 41 games. 

The soon-to-be 35-year-old could still rejoin the Celtics this season. 

“I think the whole team has been begging [Griffin] to (return to the Celtics),” guard Derrick White told “Pardon My Take” on Monday.

In response, Griffin briefly noted on “Pardon My Take,” “I’m just enjoying my life right now guys.” 

Griffin chose to sit out so far this season to spend more time with his family, MassLive reported. He currently has two teenage children. 

2. Hasheem Thabeet (Memphis Grizzlies) 

Career average: 2.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.1 assists in five seasons
Achievements: 0 All-Star games, 0 All-NBA team, 0 championships

This second-overall pick was quickly traded from Memphis to Houston midway through his second NBA season. One year later, the Rockets traded him to the Trail Blazers – only for Portland to release him just four months later. His fifth and final NBA season was in Oklahoma City for the 2013-14 season. 

The draft bust went on to play in the NBA G League, as well as overseas in Japan, Taiwan and China.

Today, the 37-year-old is playing with the Kaohsiung Steelers in Taiwan (a team he signed with in December 2023). 

3. James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder) 

Career average: 24.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 1051 games
Achievements: 2018 NBA MVP, 10-time NBA All-Star, six-time All-NBA First Team, 2012 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, three-time NBA scoring champion, two-time NBA assists leader

Harden is without a doubt the second-best player from the 2009 NBA Draft. The 34-year-old, who is in his 15th NBA season, is currently averaging 17.3 points with the Los Angeles Clippers. 

4. Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings) 

Career average: 15.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 10 seasons
Achievements: 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year

Evans’ future looked promising as a rookie who averaged 20.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds. Recently, even LeBron James listed Evans as one of the most impressive rookies he’s ever seen. 

Evans hasn’t played in the NBA since 2019 because he was temporarily banned for violating the league’s anti-drug program. He was reinstated to the NBA in February 2022, but no team has pursued him since. 

So, where is Tyreke Evans now? It was last reported in 2023 that he was playing for professional basketball teams in Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

5. Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Career average: 10.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.4 assists in 12 seasons
Achievements: 2012 NBA All-Rookie First Team

The Timberwolves had to wait two seasons for Rubio to make his NBA debut (since he was playing for FC Barcelona). Regardless, his NBA career never took off as expected.  

Rubio’s final NBA game was in April 2023; he retired months after he revealed that he was suffering from mental health issues – including chronic stress. So, he decided to return to his native country of Spain for a fresh start. 

In February 2024, the 33-year-old officially returned to play for FC Barcelona. Notably, Rubio continues to speak about mental health and how he’s in a better place now. 

6. Jonny Flynn (Minnesota Timberwolves) 

Career average: 9.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 163 games
Achievements: 2010 NBA All-Rookie Second Team

A hip injury doomed Flynn’s playing career. His third and final NBA season was in 2011-12. 

Flynn went on to play for an Australian basketball team in the following season. His last professional stint was with an Italian basketball team in 2014, but he played only two games due to injury. 

It’s not completely clear what Flynn is up to these days since he’s not very active on public social media. But, Sports Illustrated reported that he received his MBA from Harvard.