NBA: Looking back at the two point guards drafted ahead of Steph Curry in the 2009 NBA Draft

NBA Utah Jazz Ricky Rubio . (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
NBA Utah Jazz Ricky Rubio . (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /

Looking back at the two point guards that were drafted ahead of Stephen Curry in the 2009 NBA Draft

Don’t you love it when people make you feel old by telling you how long your favorite NBA player has been in the league? Well, let me say that it’s been 10 years since Stephen Curry was drafted out of little ole Davidson in the 2009 NBA Draft.

From that point in 2009, Curry has developed into a two-time MVP, multiple time All-Star, three-time champion and, oh yeah, maybe the greatest shooter of an orange striped ball ever. Although it would be hard to believe that six players were drafted ahead of him. It’s probably more shocking that two point guards were selected ahead of him.

And probably just mind-blowingly stunning is that those two point guards were drafted by the same team. Those two men are Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn.

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Wow, now who would be the geniuses behind that one? Let’s see, they just made the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, last season (an eighth seed but they were in). They wasted the talents of Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love. Nothing yet? Oh, they a grand total of one division title. You know, you love them, the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It’s June 25, 2009, a hot summer evening in the mecca of sports, Madison Square Garden. The Timberwolves were coming off of another lousy season and needed to rebuild in the draft for what seemed like the fortieth time. They pick a Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio. He had been playing professional basketball since he was 14 flipping years old. He was an Olympian, an MVP, a champion, everything is to do.

However, like many Europeans before him, he burned under basketball’s spotlight. But this piece isn’t so much about Ricky Rubio. Yeah, he never an All-Star and was horribly overpaid but at least the guy is still in the NBA being a contributing member of the Utah Jazz. The other guy can’t be found.

The story of Jonny Flynn is a classic miss of NBA drafts. Flynn was an absolute stud at Niagara Falls High School where won the New York State Mr. Basketball. His accomplishments would earn him a ride to the hoops dynamo of the Syracuse Orangemen.

There, he scattered Carmelo Anthony’s record for most points for a freshman in their first game. During that year he would earn co-Big East Rookie of the Year and named All-Big East the following. The 2009 Big East tournament, he was stellar. Playing the iconic six overtime game where he was an ironman for his long minutes and sending the Orangemen to their first Sweet Sixteen since 2004.

Fun fact, Syracuse was knocked out by Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks in the first round of the NCAA Tournament that year. Feeling satisfied at Syracuse, Flynn entered into the NBA Draft. After selecting Rubio with the fifth pick, Flynn was selected right after. Things seem good at first. Flynn, in his debut, would score 13 points in the fourth quarter to lead a huge comeback against the Nets.

Two months later, Flynn would earn his first career game-winning shot against Utah.

The young Wolf would be selected to the All-Rookie second team but that would be the height. Sadly, during the summer of 2010, Flynn would need hip surgery and with that, the promise was gone. The quickness that helped established Flynn as a top guard had vanished faster than Jason Momoa’s beard. Flynn would only average 5.3 points a game as he never fully recovered from the bad hip.

Only two years was the time needed for Minnesota to cut bait with the former blue-chip prospect. The rumors of bad attitudes and stubbornness were just more fuel on the fire.

The Houston Rockets would trade for him at the 2011 NBA Draft but would only see 11 games before Houston had seen enough, shipping him to Portland. He wouldn’t last much longer there either before signing with Detroit and trying out for the Summer Leagues of the Pacers and the Clippers.

With the NBA seemingly out of the picture and a love of basketball stilling beating in his heart. Flynn would go to the land down under to play for the Melbourne Tigers where he would have a solid bounce-back year, earning a trip to their All-Star game. However, as he tried China and Europe, the injury bug kept biting his way.

Flynn hasn’t stepped on a professional court since 2014. The once-promising prospect would just fall in the long line of draft busts that fans wonder why it didn’t work. Well, compare environments. Mark Jackson grooming Steph or Kurt Rambis grooming Flynn. Rambis was not a good coach and an even worse executive, while Jackson helped mold the Warriors dynasty you see today.

It can be argued that Flynn just needed more time to mature, to get healthy and to improve his overall game. But when you have lottery picks, the sad truth is that people expect the second coming of Magic or else. Sadly, we will never find out what would’ve happened had Flynn not gotten that drastic hip surgery. Once the NBA labels you as injury prone, it is stamped on you like barbeque sauce on a white shirt. Impossible to erase.

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The Timberwolves have still not fully recovered as more bad draft picks would follow and losing would become the norm. Flynn has seemingly disappeared from the public eye. Orange fans will remember that sharp, quick kid from Niagara, while Wolves will just remember him as another lotto ticket with the wrong numbers.