Which NBA Draft class was the best in history? Michael Jordan, LeBron James or Kobe Bryant’s?
The 58 players drafted last week are just starting their NBA journey. This class was stacked, they’ll have their work cut out catching up to these classes.
For the newest class of 58 rookies, the dream of getting drafted has come true and now it’s time to get to work. Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren and the rest of the players drafted last week will start their NBA journey looking to leave their mark in the league.
Who out of this draft class will end their career as a legend of the league? And where will this class stack up against some of the best draft classes ever?
Instead of ranking them, we will leave a list of details and leave it up to you to decide.
The NBA hasn’t been the same since the 1984 Draft. One Mr. Michael Jeffery Jordan was taken by the Chicago Bulls with the third pick of the first round and changed the course of the league forever. Now we’re are very familiar with MJ and his career achievements, but if you look at the rest of the draft class it was stacked.
Hakeem Olajuwon was taken first overall that year, and while you may question the Rockets for passing on Jordan, they did get a future MVP and two time Champion.
MJ’s nemesis for the final part of his era in Chicago was a part of that class as well. John Stockton was taken by the Utah Jazz. He would go on to be named to 10 All-Star Games and lead the NBA in assists nine times.
Charles Barkley was taken by the Philadelphia 76ers with the fifth pick. He won the MVP with the Phoenix Suns in 1993, and would make the NBA First-Team five different times.
You may have seen the video floating around the internet of former NBA commissioner David Stern introducing himself to the ‘96 Draft class before they went out to the Green Room. Seeing that video is what inspired this article.
The class was loaded with talent that would go on to help shape the history of the NBA. Three different winners of the NBA MVP were taken in the first round of the draft.
Allen Iverson was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the first overall pick. He would go to win the Rookie of the Year, be named to 11 All-Star Games, and win the MVP in 2001.
Kobe Bryant was coming out of high school, and it was always thought he’d be a great player, but no one could have predicted that the high schooler out of Philly would turn into one of the greatest players of all time. The five-time champion won the Finals MVP twice, an MVP in 2008, and was named to 18 All-Star Games.
Kobe went to the Hornets with the 13th pick, and two picks later Steve Nash was taken by the Phoenix Suns. It’s crazy to think about, but Nash actually has more MVP awards than Bryant. He won it in ‘05 and ‘06 and went on to 8 All-Star Games while leading the NBA in assists five different times.
Two of the greatest shooter in the history of the league came out in that year as well. Peja Stojakovic and Ray Allen were taken in the first round and would become two of the most deadly long range specialists ever. The Serbian won a title with the Mavs in 2011 and went to three All-Star Games. Allen would win two titles, get named to 10 All-Star Games, shoot 40% from downtown and until Steph Curry broke his record, he had made the most threes in NBA history.
It’s crazy to think that 2003′s first overall pick, LeBron James, has played with three of the top five picks in that draft class. LeBron was a sensation out of high school and a lock to be the first pick of the draft. The four time champion, four time league MVP and 18 time All-Star is one of two players still playing from this class.
Dwayne Wade was taken second overall by the Miami Heat and would go on to win three title, a Finals MVP and was named to 13 All-Star Games.
After Darko Milicic, who might be the biggest flop in NBA history, Carmelo Anthony was taken by the Denver Nuggets at number three. While he didn’t have the team success that Wade or James had, he developed into one of the best out-and-out scorers the game has ever seen. He was a 10 time All-Star and won the scoring title in 2013 when he averaged 28.7 ppg.
Chris Bosh went to the Toronto Raptor with the next pick. He was one of the best power forwards the game had ever seen before joining Wade, James and the Miami Heat. Miami is where Bosh went from a top scorer in the league to an NBA Champion. He won two titles in Miami, and was named to 11 All-Star Games.