Top 10 No. 9 draft picks of all time
Top ten No. 9 picks in NBA history
The NBA's revamped lottery system produced some unlikely winners and losers, the Wizards being the latter. They had a 96.3% chance of picking higher than No. 9, but that's the hand they were dealt. However, history has been kind to the ninth pick, so maybe the Wizards can land a high caliber player. Let's take a look at some of the gems that were found at the ninth spot in the NBA Draft.
10. Gordon Hayward (2010 Draft)
Kicking off our list is Gordon Hayward, the one-time All-Star out of Butler University. Since coming into the league in 2010, Hayward increased his scoring average every year until he broke his ankle in 2017. He's working his way back into form, but there were some ups and downs in his first season back. Hopefully, he'll regain his All-Star status in his second year removed from his ankle injury.
9. Andre Drummond (2012 Draft)
Seventh all-time in rebounds per game, Andre Drummond cleans glass like maid service. A two-time All-Star and three-time rebounding champ, he was third-team All-NBA in 2015-2016, averaging 16.2 points and 14.8 rebounds at only age 22. Despite his monster numbers and youth, his game is outdated in the modern NBA and he has a limited ceiling.
8. Joakim Noah (2007 Draft)
At his peak, Joakim Noah was a top-three MVP candidate. At his nadir, he was waiting by the phone hoping to get picked up off the waiver wire. His physical style of play, combined with Tom Thibodeau's starter-heavy minute distribution, drove Noah into the ground before his time.
During his prime, however, Noah was arguably a top-10 player in the NBA. When Derrick Rose went down (again) at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season, Noah transitioned into a point forward and averaged 5.4 assists per game, won Defensive Player of the Year and led the Bulls to a four-seed. Combine that with two All-Star selections, and he's clearly outperformed his draft position.
7. Kemba Walker (2011 Draft)
Coming into the NBA, Kemba Walker had just finished up one of the all-time great college seasons. He won the NCAA championship with UConn and was the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, yet he wasn't predicted to be a top-five pick. The main knock on him was his size, but he's living proof of the phrase "heart over height."
A walking bucket, Walker's increased his scoring average every year he's been in the league sans 2014, where it decreased .4 points per game. Walker had a career year in 2018-2019, starting in the All-Star Game and landing on the third team All-NBA. A three-time All-Star with probably more in his future, the best has yet to come for Kemba Walker.
6. Andre Igoudala (2004 Draft)
Andre Iguodala's 15 years in the NBA is the tale of two careers. For the first 10 years, he was considered a franchise player, averaging 15 points, 4.9 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game while making an All-Star team and an All-Defense second team. It's a solid resume for a ninth pick in the draft.
As Iguodala has gotten older, he's transitioned into a role player. Not just any role player, however, but a crucial piece of the Warriors dynasty. In the 2015 NBA Finals, he was the difference maker and took home MVP honors. His defense on opposing scorers like Kevin Durant, James Harden and Lebron James over the Warriors' five-year run has been invaluable. He's a member of one of the most offensively devastating lineups of all-time in the "Hamptons Five." Without Iggy, you could argue the Dubs aren't winning all three championships.
On paper, he's only made one All-Star team and hasn't averaged more than 20 points in a season. That being said, there are some players whose impact can't be quantified; they just play basketball the right way and it shows. If you made me pick between Iguodala's career and that of any of the guys already mentioned, I'm taking Iggy.
5. DeMar DeRozan (2009 Draft)
One of four All-Stars from the 2009 NBA Draft, DeRozan at the No. 9 pick was a good value for the Toronto Raptors. Coming out after one year at USC, he was an elite athlete with All-Star potential.
10 years later, and DeRozan has made good on that potential. He's a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA player, even leading the Raptors to the first seed in the Eastern Conference in 2017-2018. A 20 point-per-game scorer each of the past six years, he peaked in 2016-2017 with 27.3 points per game. A great player with an even better work ethic, DeRozan created a winning culture in Toronto. His lack of a three-point shot, however, put a ceiling on his game and contributed to his trade to San Antonio.
4. Shawn Marion (1999 Draft)
One of the most unique players in NBA history, Shawn Marion looked like Gumby with a thirty-five inch vertical. His athleticism and motor paired nicely with Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni's "seven seconds or less" offensive philosophy. With a lengthy frame and quick feet, he was an elite defender who could guard multiple positions on the floor.
Marion made four All-Star games and two All-NBA teams over his 18-year career, the same amount in both categories as DeRozan. What separates Marion from DeRozan is Marion's championship with the 2011 Dallas Mavericks. Although he averaged worse statistics with the Mavericks than the Suns, his defense on Lebron James and Dwyane Wade in the Finals were imperative to their victory.
3. Amar'e Stoudemire (2002 Draft)
Before his career was derailed by injuries, Amar'e Stoudemire was one of the most dominant players in the NBA. Drafted directly out of high school, Stoudemire's insane athleticism made him the ideal pairing with Steve Nash in the pick and roll. In only his third year in the league, he was averaging 26 points and 9 rebounds for a 62-win Suns team. In the years that followed, Stoudemire made six All-Star games and five All-NBA teams, including one first team in 2007. During the mid-2000s if you were in the way of Stoudemire rolling to the rim, you had better get out of the way.
His career took a downturn, however, due to nagging knee injuries. They started in 2006 with microfracture surgery on his right knee and resurfaced after signing with the New York Knicks. From 2011-2016, Stoudemire never played more than 65 games in a season. Despite the disappointing second half of his career, his peak was probably enough to earn him a spot in the Hall of Fame.
2. Tracy McGrady (1997 Draft)
The only current Hall of Famer on the list, Tracy McGrady is one of the greatest scorers of all-time. If you took George Gervin and gave him elite athleticism and an outside shot, you'd end up with something similar to McGrady. Drafted directly out of high school, McGrady spent three years with the Toronto Raptors before signing with the Orlando Magic.
After winning Most Improved Player in 2001, McGrady went on an incredible run. He made seven All-Star teams, seven All-NBA teams and won two scoring titles. His signature season was in 2002-2003 when he averaged 32.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists.
To put his offensive prowess into perspective, Kobe Bryant said of McGrady, "he could do everything I could do but he was taller." Not bad company to be in.
1. Dirk Nowitzki (1999 Draft)
Was there any question? One of the greatest players of all time, Dirk Nowitzki is a 14-time All-Star, 12-time All-NBA player, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, member of the 50-40-90 club and the 2007 MVP. The list goes on and on, but there are two huge accomplishments that immortalized Nowitzki in NBA lore.
For roughly the first ten years of his career, Nowitzki was labeled as a stat sheet stuff who couldn't get it done when it mattered. In the 2011 postseason, however, he completely flipped the script. In 21 games, he took out the Lakers, Thunder, and Heat while averaging 27.7 points and 8.1 rebounds, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot en route to a championship.
Secondly, he revolutionized the role of the "big man" in the NBA. Prior to his arrival, power forwards were bulky behemoths regulated to either the block or as the roller in the pick and roll. Nowitzki's ability to shoot forced bigger defenders to guard him on the perimeter, where he had the quickness and ball handling to take them off the dribble. If you guarded him with a smaller defender, he had the size and footwork to grind into the paint and finish around the basket. In today's NBA landscape, the stretch four is common, but it all started with Dirk.
A no brainer-first ballot Hall of Famer, Dirk Nowitzki is without a doubt the best ninth pick in NBA history.