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The all-time best NBA Draft classes: Fan’s take
These are the best draft classes in NBA history. In some years the talent level in the NBA Draft is just astronomical. In other years its ordinary at best. The 2011 NBA Draft is not considered by most to be great. But time will tell.
I'm a fan of the New Jersey Nets in the NBA. Twice we have had the first overall pick in the draft. In 1990 we took Derrick Coleman with the first pick. That was not a great draft, and Coleman has the highest career scoring average of any player from 1990. In 2000, we had the first pick and drafted Kenyon Martin(notes), in what was another very weak draft year. It stinks when you have the number one overall pick in a weak draft year.
It would have been great to have had the first overall pick in any of the five best NBA Draft classes listed here.
The All-Time Best NBA Draft Classes (listed in chronological order)
2003 NBA Draft
When it's all said and done, the 2003 NBA Draft could go down as the best ever. In many NBA Draft classes there are no players drafted who average, or averaged, 20.0 more points per game or better. The 2003 class has four.
LeBron James(notes) (27.69 points per game) has the third highest scoring average in NBA history, Dwyane Wade(notes) (25.43) has the 10th highest, Carmelo Anthony(notes) (24.84) has the 13th highest and Chris Bosh(notes) (20.0) has the 58th best scoring average all-time.
The fact that three of the four players now play together with the Miami Heat is also unprecedented in NBA history. If the trio keeps scoring and starts winning championships in Miami, the class of 2003 will be the best of all-time.
1996 NBA Draft
The 1996 NBA Draft class contains two of the highest scorers in NBA history, the league's all-time leader in three-point field goals, a five time assist leader, a Defensive Player of the Year Award winner who averages double-double figures, and six other players who were all-stars in their careers. A great draft loaded with quality and depth.
The 1996 NBA Draft includes Allen Iverson(notes) (26.66), who has the sixth best scoring average in NBA history, and Kobe Bryant(notes) (25.27), who has the 11th highest scoring average in NBA history. Ray Allen(notes) (20.22), who is the all-time leader in three-point field goals and the 51st best scorer in history, Steve Nash(notes), who has led the league five times in assists including 2011, and Marcus Camby(notes), who was Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 and has career averages of 10.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
Other great players who were all all-stars from 1996 include Stephon Marbury(notes), Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Antoine Walker(notes), Peja Stojakovic(notes), Jermaine O'Neal(notes) and Zydrunas Illgauskas. The only player from the 1996 draft who averaged double-figures in scoring and did not make the NBA All-Star Game is Kerry Kittles (14.1), who was drafted by my Nets.
1985 NBA Draft
The 1985 class includes four Basketball Hall of Fame Players. Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin and Joe Dumars.
Other great players from the 1985 draft who were all-stars include Xavier McDaniel, Michael Adams, Detlef Schrempf, Terry Porter, Charles Oakley and A.C. Green. Spud Webb, who stands 5' 7" tall and won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1987, was also drafted in 1985.
1984 NBA Draft
The 1984 NBA Draft has the greatest scorer in NBA history in Michael Jordan. Three other Basketball Hall of Fame players in Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and John Stockton. Other 1984 draftees who were all-stars include Otis Thorpe, Kevin Willis and Alvin Robertson.
In the history of the NBA, only four players have ever officially recorded quadruple-doubles. Two of those players were in the 1984 NBA Draft class.
On February 18, 1986, Alvin Robertson had 20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in a game. On March 29, 1990, Hakeem Olajwuon had 18 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists and 11 blocks in a game. (The other two players with quadruple-doubles are Nate Thurmond and David Robinson.)
1970 NBA Draft
The 1970 NBA Draft is considered by many to be the best in NBA history because it contained six Basketball Hall of Fame players. Pistol Pete Maravich, Dan Issel, Bob Lanier, Nate Tiny Archibald, Calvin Murphy and Dave Cowens were all drafted in 1970, and all made the hall of fame.
Geoff Petrie was also in the 1970 class. He averaged 21.8 points per game in his first six years in the NBA, but then suffered a career ending knee injury. He could also have put in a hall of fame career, but is known today as the first NBA player to wear Nike sneakers.
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