2009 NBA Draft: Franchise Players vs. Role Players

Timber WolfAnalyst IIAugust 10, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 25:  Jonny Flynn looks on prior to the 2009 NBA Draft at the Wamu Theatre at Madison Square Garden June 25, 2009 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

First off, let me break down the difference between a franchise player, an All-Star, and a starter.  There's one more level higher than that of a franchise player, and that is a megastar (not the official term).

This year's NBA draft was considered just okay.  Although there were no megastars in this draft in my personal opinion, there's always a chance that I could be wrong.  However, I do believe that there were some franchise players selected in this draft.  I will be listing the notable rookies and ranking them on their caliber type.  I will give explanations to their respective ranks that I have chosen for them.


  1. Megastars: Extremely rare in the NBA game.  One of a kind, a man among boys.  A player completely above the competition, a player that prides themselves in being the absolute best in any way, shape or form.  A record breaker, a face of the NBA, and the complete player.  They are the ticket sellers, the ones that hype up the crowd, the buzzer beaters, the ones that everyone aspires to be like.  They are megastars because of the simple fact of their team always has a good chance of winning games due to this player being there.  Examples: LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Garnett, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, and Kobe Bryant.
  2. Franchise Players: Players in this category can be considered megastars in some aspects.  The franchise player is considered the go-to guy on the team if there's no megastars.  There are maybe 10 of them. They excel in almost every stat and category. Examples: Brandon Roy, Gilbert Arenas, Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, Dirk Nowitzki, etc.
  3. All-Stars: The main difference between All-Stars and franchise players (and I stress this a lot), is that an All-Star does not win games as much as franchise players.  An All-Star-caliber player can be with a team for six years, yet they never win more than 35 games each season.  Franchise players and megastars always puts their team in positions to win almost all the time.  All franchise players could be considered All-Stars, but not All-Stars are franchise players.  Examples: Al Jefferson, Kevin Martin, Danny Granger, Kevin Durant, Carlos Boozer, Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joe Johnson, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, etc.
  4. Starters: A solid all-around player, a player needed for more specifics than a role player, whether it be scoring in small amounts of minutes, leadership, defense or other intangibles.  Starters are not All-Stars in the respect that they are just good players, and will always have a future in the NBA, but as far as making the All-Star cut, they probably will never make it. Nevertheless, their value to NBA teams should  always be respected. Examples: Ron Artest, Trevor Ariza, Mo Williams, Jamal Crawford, Richard Jefferson, Jason Richardson, Emeka Okafor, etc.
  5. Role Players: Some role players are starters, but most are not.  Some are used for their specific strengths in tight situations.  A respected player who develops in other areas to eventually become starter.  Examples: Ryan Gomes, Shane Battier, Chris Anderson, Corey Brewer, Ryan Hollins, Shannon Brown, Eddie House etc.
  6. Bench Warmers: Speaks for itself.  For my purposes, this classification won't be important.

Now let's move onto the 2009 NBA Draft.  I will not go into depth if I feel that it's a pretty agreed upon rank and I will only go into the top 15 picks.

  1. Blake Griffin: All-Star/Starter.  This deserves an explanation. It's rare that PFs become franchise players, i.e. KG and Tim Duncan.  I don't think that Blake Griffin has the tools to become a franchise player.  He will be just another Amare Stoudemire, but a well-respected player, no doubt. But a PF becoming anything more than an all star these days, are slim to none.
  2. Hasheem Thabeet: Role Player.  This deserves an explanation.  Did you see the summer league?  Well he sucked...badly. Averaging 8 points and 4 rebounds in 25 minutes per game is horrible considering that he is 7'3''. Even when it came to blocking, the most he had in a game was 2, and yet the most fouls he had was 8.   He'll be lucky to even be a role player.
  3. James Harden: Starter.  He does not really excel in any category yet, but he's not too shabby, either. A good shooter, good ball handler, good aggresiveness and good athleticism do not make a GREAT player. James Harden will be a starter, not the most solid, but he will be a starter.
  4. Tyreke Evans: Starter.  As a PG, he's going to look to score first, but the way that the NBA is going, he's going to have to turn himself into a distributor, which I think that he won't be able to do as well as the other top PGs in the class. As a SG, he probably will do a little worse considering that he would be facing guys on average of 6'6''. A good defender and tenacious to point guards with a penetrating ability will lure Tyreke Evans to be a starter.
  5. Ricky Rubio: N/A.  Rubio has to show he'll be willing to play in the NBA anytime soon before I even begin to classify him.
  6. Jonny Flynn: Franchise Player.  The most charismatic player, the only player to get praise from a lot of NBA staff excluding his team.  Amazing court vision, athleticism, and a great performance during the summer league, and commanded respect from his teammates.  Shooting over 50% in the summer league showed that he has a knack for shooting, while taking contact like a running back slashing through the lanes. Jonny Flynn is the first franchise player since KG for the Timberwolves.
  7. Stephen Curry: Starter/Role Player. He can shoot very well. He shot around 30% in the summer league. If your not shooting a high percentage in the summer league, than how can you do it in the NBA? Stephen Curry is not the greatest distributor or defender, but he does have above average athleticism. He can be a starter that can be replaced, or a role player that can shoot the lights out.
  8. Jordan Hill: Role Player/Starter. I don't see Jordan Hill on Blake Griffin's level considering the fact that they play both positions. He has a hard work ethic which could propel him to starting status
  9. DeMar DeRozan: Role Player. Not a great shooter but highly athletic. A developing defender and highly aggresive. DeMar DeRozan does not have the skills to be a starter right now.
  10. Brandon Jennings: Franchise Player/Starter.  I expect to get hell for this.  But, yes, he is a franchise player.  The best point guard in the summer league arguably, a floor general, extremely athletic, and he is kind of arrogant in a good way.  He's going to be in the talk for Rookie of the Year with Griffin and Flynn.
  11. Terrence Williams: Starter.  I expect him to be a very solid starter in the NBA.  Extremely tenacious and one of the hardest work ethics in the draft.
  12. Gerald Henderson: Role Player. He has potential, but failed to do anything during the summer league. He has virtually no range outside of the mid range despite being able to create his own shot. Gerald Henderson could become a bust at the twelfth pick, but I could be 100% wrong. I've said worse things.....
  13. Tyler Hansbrough: Starter.  All the intangibles and four years of college experience will propel him upwards. One of the best college players of all time, and a true leader on the court. A championship mentality and hard work ethic will put Tyler Hansbrough above the rest.
  14. Earl Clark: Starter.  6'10'' and versatile.  Anyone hear Hedo Turkoglu or Rashad Lewis comparisons? Absolutely does everything you could think of. He's has an NBA body, and could possibly be a top 5 talent in the draft, but also could be a top 10 bust in the draft.
  15. Austin Daye: Role Player/Starter.  He's a 6'11'' Stephen Curry, exact same weight and everything...(joke). Although he has to put on some weight, he does very much of everything. He has good range and finesse with above average defensive skills. Austin Daye could be a steal at the 15th pick.

Thanks for reading!