I’ve done so many rankings of NBA players, now its time for draft picks as well.
For those who don’t know, every year the NBA goes through a lottery process for teams to select players, either high school or college, that want to play in the NBA. Because NBA teams are world renowned, the first draft pick usually tends to be the best player out of all available players in the world. So its kind of a big deal, and while most number one picks end up busting, there are alot that lived up to the hype too. So here’s the top 10 number one draft picked players of all time!
1. Magic Johnson
Selected in 1979 by the Los Angeles Lakers
Magic is the greatest #1 pick of all time. How many rookies can say that they won Finals MVP? He won 3 Finals MVPs in his career, 3 MVPs, 5 championships, and led the Lakers to NINE NBA Finals. All he did was win, be the greatest point guard of all time, and average 20/8/12 in the playoffs. Yeah, he lived up to the hype.
2. Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Selected in 1969 by the Milwaukee Bucks
Kareem is one of the greatest players ever. He won 6 MVPs, 6 Championships, 2 Finals MVPs, Rookie of the Year, the NBA’s #1 in points scored, #3 in rebounds and #3 in blocks. He won Rookie of the Year and led the Bucks to a championship in his second season. That’s what I call instant success.
3. Tim Duncan
Selected in 1997 by the San Antonio Spurs
The greatest power forward of all time, Duncan has led the Spurs to 5 championships split between 3 different decades, the 1990s,2000s & 2010s. He’s just a winner. 5 championships, 2 MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, Rookie of the Year, Needless to say, the Spurs made a good pick on this one.
4. Lebron James
Selected in 2003 by the Cleveland Cavaliers
Lebron is either the best small forward or second best small forward of all time depending on where you rank Larry Bird. But either way he’s one of the greatest players of all time. 4 MVPs, 2 championships, 2 Finals MVPs, and Rookie of the Year, he’s the modern day Oscar Robertson, able to score, rebound and pass well. Cleveland definitely didn’t mess up this pick.
5. Hakeem Olajuwon
Selected in 1984 by the Houston Rockets
Even though the 1984 draft had Michael Jordan in it, Hakeem wasn’t a bad pick either for Houston. He ended winning 1 MVP, 2 championships, 2 Finals MVPs, and the all time leader in blocked shots. Probably the most versatile center ever, he also had a quadruple double once and is the only center who is top 10 in steals.
6. Shaquille O’Neal
Selected in 1992 by the Orlando Magic
Shaq was the most dominant center to play since Wilt Chamberlain. He was Rookie of the Year, beat Jordan’s Bulls and led the Magic to the Finals in his third season. He also had 4 championships, 1 MVP, 3 Finals MVPs, including a dominating 3-peat with the Lakers later in his career.
7. Elgin Baylor
Selected in 1958 by the Los Angeles Lakers
This Rookie of the Year was one of the most dominating players of the 60s along with West, Oscar, Russell and Wilt. He averaged 27/13.5/4.5 for his career, which is astounding, and shot 61 points in a Finals game before, still an NBA record. He led the Lakers to 8 Finals appearances, co-captaining the team along with Jerry West.
8. David Robinson
Selected in 1987 by the San Antonio Spurs
David Robinson was one of the greatest centers of all time, captaining the Spurs for 10 years until he teamed up with Duncan. He won 2 championships, 1 MVP, Rookie of the Year, scored 71 points in a game before, and had a quadruple double in a game before.
9. Allen Iverson
Selected in 1996 by the Philadelphia 76ers
Along with Isiah Thomas and Tiny Archibald, the greatest 6 footers to ever play the game, Allen Iverson won an MVP and led the Sixers to the Finals almost by himself. He also had Rookie of the Year, 4 scoring titles, and holds the second highest playoffs scoring average in NBA history at almost 30 points a game, second only to Michael Jordan.
10. Patrick Ewing
Selected in 1985 by the New York Knicks
While he didn’t win a championship like that other Knicks center legend Willis Reed, Ewing is probably the second greatest Knick to play, winning Rookie of the Year, and captaining the Knicks to 2 Finals appearances during the 1990s.
8 out of the top 10 #1 draft picks of all time won Rookie of the Year. Note that I left out Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson because they were territorial picks, but could’ve been number one as well