All-Time Best Draft Picks by Actual Round/Pick

    
June 25th, 2007

With just two rounds, the current NBA Draft isn’t like it used to be. At times in the past, the Draft lasted into the 20th round. Even more surprising is that some guys drafted that late made NBA rosters. In fact, 1958 15th round pick Adrian Smith actually made an all-star game.

The flip side of there being more rounds, was that each round was shorter due to the existence of substantially less NBA teams. What’s compiled below is the all-time best pick at each draft position. Willis Reed for example was the 10th overall pick in the 1964 NBA Draft.. but with only 9 teams in the league that year, the 10th pick was actually the 1st of the 2nd Round. For purposes of this list then, Reed goes down as the best ever pick to start of the 2nd Round.

ALL-TIME BEST NBA DRAFT PICKS BY ACTUAL ROUND/PICK IN DRAFT
(MINIMUM 10 GAMES, WITH NBA STATISTICS)

ROUND 1
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1969): 24.6 PPG (#13 all-time), 11.2 RPG, 3.6 APG, 2.6 BPG (#9 all-time), 55.9 FG% (#8 all-time), 38,387 points (#1 all-time), Hall-of-Fame
2. Bill Russell (1956): 15.1 PPG, 22.5 RPG (#2 all-time), 4.3 APG, Hall-of-Fame
3. Michael Jordan (1984): 30.1 PPG (#1 all-time), 6.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 2.3 SPG (#5 all-time), 83.5 FT%, 13-time All-Star
4. Rick Barry (1965): 23.2 PPG (#19 all-time), 6.5 RPG, 5.1 APG, 2 SPG, 90 FT% (#2 all-time), Hall-of-Fame
5. Charles Barkley (1984): 22.1 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 54.1 FG% (#15 all-time), Hall-of-Fame
6. Larry Bird (1978): 24.3 PPG (#14 all-time), 10 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 88.6 FT% (#9 all-time), Hall-of-Fame
7. Billy Cunningham (1965): 20.8 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 4 APG, 1.2 SPG, Hall-of-Fame
8. Robert Parish (1976): 14.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.5 BPG, 53.7 FG% (#19 all-time), 1611 games (#1 all-time), Hall-of-Fame
9. John Havlicek (1962): 20.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 81.5 FT%, Hall-of-Fame
10. Gail Goodrich (1965): 18.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 80.7 FT%, Hall-of-Fame
11. Reggie Miller (1987): 18.2 PPG, 3 RPG, 3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 88.8 FT% (#7 all-time), 2560 3-PT FG made (#1 all-time), 5-time All-Star
12. Julius Erving (1972): 22 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.8 SPG, 1.5 BPG, 50.7 FG%, Hall-of-Fame
13. Karl Malone (1985): 25 PPG (#10 all-time), 10.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.4 SPG, 51.6 FG%, 9787 FT made (#1 all-time), 11,406 defensive rebounds (#1 all-time), 13-time All-Star
14. Clyde Drexler (1983): 20.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.6 APG, 2 SPG (#18 all-time), Hall-of-Fame
15. Steve Nash (1996): 14 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 7.6 APG (#14 all-time), 89.6 FT% (#2 all-time), 5-time All-Star
16. John Stockton (1984): 13.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 10.5 APG (#2 all-time), 2.2 SPG (#10 all-time), 51.5 FG%, 82.6 FT%, 15,806 assists (#1 all-time), 3265 steals (#1 all-time), 10-time All-Star
17. Shawn Kemp (1989): 14.6 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 6-time All-Star
18. Joe Dumars (1985): 16.1 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 4.5 APG, 84.3 FT%, Hall-of-Fame
19. Rod Strickland (1988): 13.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.5 SPG
20. Larry Nance (1981): 17.1 PPG, 8 RPG, 2.6 APG, 2.2 BPG (#19 all-time), 54.6 FG% (#12 all-time), 3-time All-Star
21. Michael Finley (1995): 17.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1 SPG, 81.3 FT%, 2-time All-Star
22. Norm Nixon (1977): 15.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 8.3 APG (#7 all-time), 1.5 SPG, 2-time All-Star
23. A.C. Green (1985): 9.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1-time All-Star
24. Latrell Sprewell (1992): 18.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 80.4 FT%, 4-time All-Star
25. Al Harrington (1998): 13 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.9 APG
26. Vlade Divac (1989): 11.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 1-time All-Star
27. Jamaal Tinsley (2001): 10.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 6.9 APG, 1.7 SPG
28. Tony Parker (2001): 15.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1 SPG, 2-time All-Star
29. Josh Howard (2003): 13.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1-time All-Star
30. David Lee (2005): 7.7 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 59.8 FG%

Continue to the Second Round and Beyond.