As excitement builds to see what additions teams will make in the 2015 NBA Draft, let us take a look back at the best draft picks over the past 10 years.
Typically, the No. 1 pick in the draft produces a franchise-changing player, and in some drafts there are multiple players that can be the foundation of a championship contender although those drafts are rare (think back to the 1984 and 2003 draft – Hakeem, Jordan, Barkley, Stockton, and LeBron, Carmelo and D-Wade, respectively). Out of the last 10 years, six of the No. 1 picks have gone on to be players that teams can build a contender around- Dwight (‘04), D-Rose (‘08), Blake Griffin (‘09), John Wall (‘10), Kyrie (‘11) and Anthony Davis (‘12). It remains to be seen if Andrew Wiggins will fall into the category of a franchise player, but we can agree that he has a better chance than his fellow Canadian countryman Anthony Bennett.
No. 1 picks aren’t a guaranteed success, and even the best execs make mistakes sometimes, which is what makes the NBA so inherently compelling; there’s always a chance that your team will find the diamond in the rough that somehow slipped down the draft ladder. For every year, I’ll outline the No. 1 pick, the best players in the draft and their draft position, and the best second-round pick. There needs to be a sample size for some players to really show what they got (ex. Danny Green), so I’ll be looking at the drafts from 2004-2010. (Other than obvious greats like Kyrie and Anthony Davis, there’s really not much use in speculating who could potentially be a sleeper from the 2013 draft given the small window they’ve been in the NBA.) Let’s begin.