I’ve done so many rankings of NBA players, now its time for draft picks as well.
Edit: I’ve made a video about it here
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. Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Selected in 1969 by the Milwaukee Bucks
Kareem Abdul Jabbar is the NBA’s all time leading scorer
Kareem is greatest #1 pick of all time and arguably the greatest player 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.
2. Lebron James
Selected in 2003 by the Cleveland Cavaliers
Lebron James is the most dominant player in the game today
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, 3 championships, 3 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.
3. Magic Johnson
Selected in 1979 by the Los Angeles Lakers
Magic Johnson is considered by many to be the greatest passer of all time
Magic is a top 5 player 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.
4. Tim Duncan
Selected in 1997 by the San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan has won championships in 3 different decades
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.
5. Shaquille O’Neal
Selected in 1992 by the Orlando Magic
Shaq was the most dominant center in the 2000s
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.
6. Hakeem Olajuwon
Selected in 1984 by the Houston Rockets
Hakeem Olajuwon is the all time leader in blocked shots
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.
7. David Robinson
Selected in 1987 by the San Antonio Spurs
David Robinson led the Spurs for 10 years
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.
8. Allen Iverson
Selected in 1996 by the Philadelphia 76ers
Allen Iverson has the second highest playoffs scoring average in NBA history
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.
9. Elgin Baylor
Selected in 1958 by the Los Angeles Lakers
Elgin Baylor captained the Lakers to 8 Finals appearances
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.
10. Dwight Howard
Selected in 2004 by the Orlando Magic
D Howard led the Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals
While he didn’t win a championship yet, Dwight Howard is the greatest Orlando Magic player, their all time leading scorer, and one of the greatest defenders ever. a 3 time defensive player of the year, 5x rebounds leader and 2x blocks leader.
7 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