Year in and year out, everybody gets really hyped about the 1st overall pick in the Draft, and the team who owns the right to Draft him tries to build around their top-notch prospect, trusting him to lead the franchise for many years to come.
Over the course of history, some teams have chosen to go a different direction, deciding to part ways with their rough prospect in order to land several assets that could lead them to contention in win-now mode, rather to wait until their process is ready and their youngsters are polished.
Nonetheless, this is something that has rarely happened (just 7 times in NBA history, to be accurate), with Markelle Fultz being the latest example of a team trading their 1st overall pick. Today, we’re going to let you know about the other 6 times this has happened.
7. Chuck Share – 1950
Way back in the day, the Boston Celtics did one hell of a bold move – but that time we can’t blame Danny Ainge for it – when they traded away Chuck Share, a big man out of Bowling Green they’ve drafted 1st overall following a dismal campaign.
Boston sent Share to the Fort Wayne Pistons and got Bill Sharman in return, and the rest, as you may know; is history. While Share would go on to become a role player on a Championship run with St. Louis Hawk, Sharman would play next to Bob Cousy in one of the most explosive backcourts in the history of the game, making 8 All-Star appearances and winning 4 titles before becoming one of the most successful coaches ever.
6. Hot Rod Hundley – 1957
Hot Rod Hundley came 1st overall out of West Virginia in 1957, Drafted by the Rochester (Cincinnati) Royals but immediately traded to the Minneapolis Lakers in a blockbuster 7 player deal, sending both Jim Paxson Jr and Clyde Lovellette to a rebuilding franchise looking for already proven players.
While Lovellette would be amazing out of the gate on his lone season with the Royals, Paxson would retire at age 26 after just one season with the team. On the other hand, Hundley made it to a couple of All-Star games as a member of the Lakers, but injuries took a major toll in the guard’s career and eventually retired at age 28.
5. Joe Barry Carroll – 1980
The very day before the 1980 NBA Draft, the league had announced that the Golden State Warriors have traded away Robert Parish and their 3rd overall pick for the Celtics’ 1st and 13th overall picks, eventually drafting Joe Barry Carroll with the 1st choice, while Boston would go on to get some guy called Kevin McHale.
Even though Carroll was a very solid player for the Warriors with averages of over 20 points and 8 boards per game, the Celtics found two key cornerstones in Parish and McHale with that deal, with the frontcourt duo winning 3 Championships for the most winning franchise in the history of the game.
4. Brad Daugherty – 1986
Naturally, Len Bias’ passing made all of the headlines if we try to think about the 1986 NBA Draft, but this move was also quite significant, as Roy Hinson had just averaged 19.5 points and 7.8 boards per game during the previous season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but was sent to the Philadelphia 76ers in return for the 1st overall pick anyway.
The Cavs would go on to draft Brad Daugherty with that pick, and the UNC product would thrive right away, making it to 5 All-Star games in his brief 8 season NBA tenure with averages of 19 points and just under 10 boards, while Hinson would go pretty much unnoticed for the rest of his Sixers career.
3. Chris Webber – 1993
The Golden State Warriors sacrificed a lot in order to get Chris Webber, trading away their 3rd overall pick (which was used to get Penny Hardaway) to go along with 3 future 1st rounders, just to trade him after a very impressive Rookie of the Year campaign in order to get Tom Gugliotta and 3 future 1st rounders (including 2 of the 3 they had sent Orlando).
While the Warriors would eventually get Antawn Jamison with one of those picks, Webber would go on to become one of the most talented and dominant players of his generation, but it just feels like the Dubs really lost this trade.
2. Andrew Wiggins – 2014
And the last time this ever happened (before Markelle Fultz), Andrew Wiggins was the odd man out, with the Cleveland Cavaliers keen to land a third scoring option to make the most of LeBron James’ homecoming and bring a Championship home as soon as possible.
Needless to say, this trade worked out perfectly for both parties, with the Cavs landing Kevin Love en route to 3 straight trips to the Finals and 1 ring, while Minnesota would get one of their franchise cornerstones in Wiggins as well as a former 1st overall pick in Anthony Bennett, one of the biggest busts in Draft history.
1. Markelle Fultz – 2017
Finally, we have to mention Markelle Fultz on this list because Boston Celtics traded their No. 1 pick for the Sixers’ No. 3 pick and a future first-rounder. Philadelphia Sixers selected Markelle Fultz, and that was probably one of the biggest mistakes in their recent history.
He played only 14 games, averaging 7.1 points, 3.8 assists and 3.1 rebounds with 0,00% from the downtown. On the other side, Boston Celtics selected Jayson Tatum and he is now one of the best prospects in the league.