Greatest Draft Ever

Everybody’s talking about how great this year’s crop is going to be, led by Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. The 2007 draft, let experts tell it, is full of can’t miss stars. But can these guys collectively stack up to some of the greatest drafts of all time?
I scoured through NBAdraft.net to look at some of the great drafts in history. Here are the top ones. So, which year was the greatest draft ever?

1970: Bob Lanier (No. 1), Rudy Tomjanovich (No. 2), Pete Maravich (No. 3), Dave Cowens (No. 4)
Second-round jewels: Calvin Murphy (No. 18), Nate Archibald (No. 19)

1976: John Lucas (No. 1), Adrian Dantley (No. 6), Quinn Buckner (No. 7), Robert Parrish (No. 8), Sonny Parker (No. 17)
Second-round jewels: Alex English (No. 23), Dennis Johnson (No. 29)

1984: Hakeem Olajuwon (No. 1), Michael Jordan (No. 3), Sam Perkins (No. 4), Charles Barkley (No. 5), Otis Thorpe (No. 9), Kevin Willis (No. 11), John Stockton (No. 16).
Second round jewels: Jerome Kersey (No. 46)

1985: Patrick Ewing (No. 1), Xavier McDaniel (No. 4), Chris Mullin (No. 7), Detlef Schrempf (No. 8), Charles Oakley (No. 9), Karl Malone (No. 13), Joe Dumars (No. 18), A.C. Green (No. 23), Terry Porter (No. 24).
Second-round jewels: Manute Bol (No. 31), Gerald Wilkins (No. 47)

1996: Allen Iverson (No. 1), Marcus Camby (No. 2), Shareef Abdur-Rahim (No. 3), Stephon Marbury (No. 4), Ray Allen (No. 5), Kobe Bryant (No. 13), Peja Stojakovic (No. 14), Steve Nash (No. 15), Jermaine O’Neal (No. 17), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (No. 20)
Second-round jewels: Malik Rose (No. 44), Shannon Anderson (No. 54)

1999: Elton Brand (No. 1), Steve Francis (No. 2), Baron Davis (No. 3), Lamar Odom (No. 4), Richard Hamilton (No. 7), Andre Miller (No. 8), Shawn Marion (No. 9), Jason Terry (No. 10), Corey Maggette (No. 13), Ron Artest (No. 16), Andrei Kirilenko (No. 24).
Second-round jewels: Manu Ginobili (No. 59)

2003: LeBron James (No. 1), Carmelo Anthony (No. 3), Chris Bosh (No. 4), Dwyane Wade (No. 5), Kirk Hinrich (No. 7), T.J. Ford (No. 8), David West (No. 18), Boris Diaw (No. 21), Leandro Barbosa (No. 28), Josh Howard (No. 29). Second-round jewels: Mo Williams (No. 47), Kyle Korver (No. 51)

I’m going to have to go with 1984. The 1996 draft was super deep, a plethora of great players. But the 1984 first round featured four of the greatest players of all-time (Olajuwon, Jordan, Barkley, Stockton). I can’t go against that crew.
However, I say 20 years from now, the 2003 draft will be the greatest ever. Not only was that draft deep, but it also has four or five potential Hall of Famers.
So, which draft do you say is the best ever?

Marcus Thompson

  • commish

    It’s hard to disagree with your conclusions, especially about 2003. The one thing we do know, quoting you again, is this year’s draft is definitely NOT Nicole Richie thin.

  • Tay

    You are probaly right Marcus about the 84 draft four of the greatest players of all time came that year but I still like 96 the most though maybe b/c i wasn’t alive in 84 so… but Kobe, AI and Nash are all hall of famers with the later two almost revolutionizing the game no 6 foot 160 pound player has ever gone harder and stronger to the rack and Steve Nash is the 2 time MVP who brought the fast break tempo to the league bringing it out of that slow paced 90’s halfcourt defense and even inspiring our very own Warriors haven’t even started on Kobe he’s self explanatory or lets see the pleothera of revolutionary players Ray Allen with his more than prefect stroke, Marbury with innovative $15 bball shoes, Derek fisher was in that draft plus several other players who are still in the league… I think we are all just mad at that draft because the W’s drafted the great TODD FULLER… o please nellie pick someone good this year

  • manhattanproj

    well we have mj that forever changed the face of basketball/nba. there are lots of great players like bird, west, etc. but mj has become the king/god of bball. everyone just seems to have mj in their mind when it comes to bball. so i would say ’84 because of mj. (dont see lebron or wade doing the same.)

    the ’96 is up there with ’84 because of another great player, kobe. kobe doesnt have as many fans as mj but he can take over a game much the same way that mj can, both defensively and offensively. (again dont see lebron doing what kobe or mj can. that one detroit game was more of one great scoring game and a horrible detroit effort rather than a great player taking over a game. we’ve seen jamison scored like that in the w’s uniform.)

    as you can see, i’m not too big of a lebron fan. he’s very very very good but not in the class of kobe or mj. he doesnt play with the kind of intensity or passion that mj or kobe has. so ’03 will be a deep and good draft, but not a great draft.

  • Ell-Sean Smith

    Hello Marcus,
    Not a hoop junkie in the making, but an unofficial member of the group since ’70. Reluctantly agree on the ’84 draft. Interestingly, myself and a couple of fellow junkies had the debate on the greatest high school classes ever a few years ago. It’s interesting to see how they panned out in the subsequent drafts. The class of ’81 became the basis for the ’84 draft class you speak of and the class of ’79, my pick as the greatest ever, could’ve been the best draft ever………….Sampson, James Worthy, Isaiah Thomas (spelling?), Sam Bowie (the Jordan draft answer to a Jeopardy question), Quentin Dailey, Antione Carr, Cliff Levingston……..list is endless.

  • Sam

    Were any of these players picked by the Warriors?

  • EJ

    I’m going with ’84. Everyone always remembers Hakeem, Bowie, then Jordan. But no one talks about Barkley at 5. 2003 bay be the best ever in about 3 years.

  • Ell-Sean Smith

    The Warriors had no first round pick in ’84 but took a few players in the second round. Steve Burtt of Iona, Gary Plummer of Boston U. and Jay Murphy of BC, all from round two, made very little (if any) impact in the pro ranks.