Great players are often remembered throughout NBA history because of their achievements individually and as part of a team. They are also remembered for their impact on the NBA floor, from the moment they step foot on a professional court. That is why the majority of the greatest players of all time were immediately great in their rookie season. Some of the game’s greatest players, including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and LeBron James, have all had exceptional rookie campaigns for their teams from the moment they were drafted.
But it does not automatically mean that every great player has won the Rookie of the Year Award. As a matter of fact, there have been legends and first-ballot Hall of Famers that never managed to capture the Rookie of the Year Award, some of which include Magic Johnson himself, Kobe Bryant, Bill Russell, and Hakeem Olajuwon, among others. Other than winning Rookie of the Year, there is an extra pride that comes with getting drafted No. 1 overall in an NBA Draft Class. That essentially means a player is the single most talented in a given year, and he immediately has bragging rights among other rookies as the most impactful player.
We have collected the last 40 rookies to get drafted No. 1 overall in their respective draft classes, to give an indication of which players ended up becoming stars while others faded into obscurity. We will get a wide range of these players among a broad spectrum, and without further ado, it is time to go through the last 40 No. 1 overall picks in NBA history.
1982 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - James Worthy (Los Angeles Lakers)
Rookie Stats: 13.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Career Stats: 17.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.7 BPG
James Worthy is arguably the greatest small forward in Lakers' history. He won 3 championships and the Finals MVP award in a 12-year-long career with the Purple and Gold. As a rookie, he joined the defending champion Lakers led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Worthy was a very valuable player on the Lakers and the third best scorer on the team. His best regular season was in 1991, when he averaged 21.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 3.5 RPG. But, his best individual achievement was when he won the Finals MVP Award in 1988. Los Angeles Lakers beat Detroit Pistons 4-3, and the best player of the Finals series was James Worthy after averaging 22.00 PPG, 7.4 RPG and 4.4 APG per game.
1983 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Ralph Sampson (Houston Rockets)
Rookie Stats: 21.0 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.9 SPG, 2.4 BPG
Career Stats: 15.4 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.6 BPG
One of the greatest players to play for the Houston Rockets, Ralph Sampson, had a terrific career. The 7’4” center was dominant, averaging 19.7 PPG and 10.5 RPG with the Rockets franchise and earning important accolades such as Rookie of the Year when he posted 21 and 11 for the team that took him No. 1 overall.
Sampson made 4 straight All-Star teams with Houston, making All-NBA once, and was a dominant low post presence. At his size, Sampson was a terrific athlete and a great all-around player, and the first 5 seasons of his career ultimately placed him in the Hall of Fame.
1984 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston Rockets)
Rookie Stats: 20.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 2.1 BPG
Career Stats: 21.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.4 BPG
Hakeem Olajuwon would be the deserved No. 1 overall pick selection in almost any other season, except that he was taken ahead of the greatest player ever in Michael Jordan. Hakeem still ended up rewarding the Rockets for their faith in him.
The Dream helped gift the Rockets two straight championships in 1994 and 1995 and is easily one of the top-five centers of all time. Armed with some of the best two-way play in NBA history, Hakeem is a top-12 player who ever played the game.
1985 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Patrick Ewing (New York Knicks)
Rookie Stats: 20.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 2.1 BPG
Career Stats: 21.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.4 BPG
One of the greatest New York Knicks in NBA history, Patrick Ewing was a very impactful center in the paint due to his scoring ability and lockdown defense. Ewing never won an NBA title, and that will stain his otherwise Hall of Fame legacy, but that does not take away from his elite rookie season.
Patrick averaged 20 and 9 while also chipping in 2.1 BPG. He would put up similar numbers throughout his career with the Knicks, and retired with a total of 11 All-Star Team appearances and 7 All-NBA Team selections. A Hall of Famer, Ewing was a great No. 1 overall selection by the Knicks.
1986 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Brad Daugherty (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Rookie Stats: 15.7 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Career Stats: 19.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 3.7 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.7 BPG
A 5-time All-Star as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Brad Daugherty was a great player for the franchise. The 7’0” center combined size and scoring power to be an impactful player on the floor, starting his career when he was chosen No. 1 overall in the 1986 Draft by Cleveland.
Daugherty averaged 15.7 PPG and 8.1 RPG in his rookie season, making All-Rookie Team, and followed that up with 7 straight seasons of averaging over 16 PPG. Making the All-NBA Team in the 1992 season, Daugherty had a great career with the Cavaliers and is also a top-10 scorer for them, and a decent selection with the No. 1 overall pick.
1987 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs)
Rookie Stats: 24.3 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.7 SPG, 3.9 BPG
Career Stats: 21.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, 3.0 BPG
The Admiral has to be one of the most underappreciated big men in NBA history, mainly because he had to take a backseat to Tim Duncan, who carried the Spurs to 5 NBA championships. Robinson was a force down low and had one of the most impressive physiques in NBA history.
Armed with powerful shoulders and elite basketball IQ, Robinson could not be stopped when he had a position down low and was also a nightmare on defense. The Admiral ran away with Rookie of the Year, averaging 3.9 BPG and chipping in a ridiculous double-double, making him one of the best No. 1 overall selections ever.
1988 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Danny Manning (Los Angeles Clippers)
Rookie Stats: 16.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.0 BPG
Career Stats: 14.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.9 BPG
A 2-time All-Star with the Los Angeles Clippers, 6’10” Danny Manning was a solid scorer through the first 6 seasons of his professional career. The power forward was adept at scoring the ball, holding career averages of 19.1 PPG and 6.4 APG during his time with Los Angeles.
These are solid numbers, although it was expected because the big man was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1988 Draft. Whether he deserved the No. 1 selection is to be discussed, because even if the power forward was not a once-in-a-generation player, he was still an effective scorer.
1989 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Pervis Ellison (Sacramento Kings)
Rookie Stats: 8.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.7 BPG
Career Stats: 9.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.6 BPG
Pervis Ellison had promising moments as he averaged 20.0 PPG and 17.4 PPG in his third and fourth seasons respectively, but injuries kept him from becoming the star he was expected to become. Ellison managed to play over 65 games three separate times in his career, with only one season eclipsing 70 games.
After Ellison's fourth season, he never averaged double-digit scoring again. A 6'9" center, he was already undersized so an injured body rendered him ineffective. The likes of Shawn Kemp and Tim Hardaway were certainly better options than Ellison with the No. 1 overall pick.
1990 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Derrick Coleman (New Jersey Nets)
Rookie Stats: 18.4 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.3 BPG
Career Stats: 16.5 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.3 BPG
Derrick Coleman became an All-Star with the New Jersey Nets at age 26 and competed in the NBA for his first 5 seasons with the franchise. The power forward was known for his paint play and decent floor spacing and was generally consistent in providing all the above for his side.
Capturing Rookie of the Year averaging 18.4 PPG for the Nets, the big man rewarded the Nets for believing in him with the valued No. 1 overall pick. Derrick’s prime was not of superstar level, but he was a capable scorer and rebounder, which makes him a decent selection.
1991 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Larry Johnson (Charlotte Hornets)
Rookie Stats: 19.2 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Career Stats: 16.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.4 BPG
A powerhouse and terrific athlete with the Charlotte Hornets, Larry Johnson was a force on the court during an era that featured the likes of Muggsy Bogues and Alonzo Mourning on the roster. Alongside them, Larry was a sweet-shooting power forward that found it easy to get buckers when needed.
Johnson won Rookie of the Year, averaging 19.2 PPG and 11.0 RPG, and he made a total of 2 All-Star Teams and an All-NBA Team in 1993 with the Hornets. Even if Johnson never made the Hall of Fame, he was a decent pick with the No. 1 overall pick because of his natural scoring ability.
1992 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Shaquille O'Neal (Orlando Magic)
Rookie Stats: 23.4 PPG, 13.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.7 SPG, 3.5 BPG
Career Stats: 23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.6 SPG, 2.3 BPG
One of the most dominant physical specimens of all time and an all-time great ambassador for the game, Shaquille O’Neal has to be one of the most respected and beloved players to have ever played. By looking at his resume alone and without watching his games, it is obvious Shaq was one of the most accomplished players ever.
O’Neal was incredibly dominant, winning 4 NBA titles and making a whopping 15 All-Star Teams and 14 All-NBA selections. A powerhouse offensive player, there was no answer for Shaq in his prime, which is why he is a top-10 player of all time and one of the best No. 1 overall picks ever.
1993 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Chris Webber (Orlando Magic)
Rookie Stats: 17.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 2.2 BPG
Career Stats: 20.7 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.4 BPG
Chris Webber helped 3 different franchises become better in their play, and he was one talented power forward who possessed an excellent all-around game. One of the first big men to handle the rock, Webber, was unstoppable when he got a head of steam and had a lane to the basket.
C-Webb won the Rookie of the Year in 1994, averaging 17.5 PPG and 9.1 RPG while also chipping in 2.2 BPG. A great athlete with a very high basketball IQ, Webber knew how to win games and that is why he is a valued member of the Hall of Fame.
1994 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Glenn Robinson (Milwaukee Bucks)
Rookie Stats: 21.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Career Stats: 20.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.6 BPG
A strong scorer with 8 seasons of averaging at least 20 PPG eight times in his career, Glenn Robinson made 2 All-Star Teams and won Rookie of the Year before retiring after the 2005 season. A solid shooter, Robinson shot 45.9% from the field and 34.0% from three over his career, solid numbers for scorers back in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Robinson’s rookie season was particularly impressive, as he averaged 21.0 PPG and 6.4 RPG while nailing 45.1% of his field goals, 32.1% of his 3-point shots, and 79.6% of his foul shots. Even if it took 6 years for Glenn to make his first All-Star Team, he was a very solid selection with the No. 1 overall pick.
1995 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Joe Smith (Golden State Warriors)
Rookie Stats: 15.3 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.6 BPG
Career Stats: 10.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Joe Smith wasn't a prototypical bust in terms of talent, but he certainly didn't deserve to be the No. 1 pick in the draft over the likes of Kevin Garnett and Jerry Stackhouse. Joe Smith made the All-Rookie Team in 1995 by averaging 15.3 PPG and 8.7 RPG, but he failed to become the star he was in college.
Smith averaged 26.2 MPG over his career, which isn't enough for a No. 1 overall pick, and he even played for 12 different teams over 16 seasons. Smith never became an All-Star, and that alone makes him one of the least desired No. 1 picks in NBA history.
1996 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Allen Iverson (Philadelphia 76ers)
Rookie Stats: 23.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 7.5 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Career Stats: 26.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 6.2 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG
A 4-time scoring champion and one of the most unstoppable offensive players in NBA history, Allen Iverson electrified crowds throughout his career. His scoring average of 26.7 PPG ranks 7th all-time, and he was certainly the greatest little man to have ever played.
The Answer never won an NBA title, but he accomplished everything else, including a league MVP, 11 All-Star selections, a Rookie of the Year award, and 7 All-NBA selections. His scoring average as a rookie ranks among the top-20 all-time.
1997 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
Rookie Stats: 21.1 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.7 SPG, 2.5 BPG
Career Stats: 19.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, 2.2 BPG
The greatest power forward ever, Tim Duncan immediately usurped David Robinson as the most impactful player on the Spurs in the NBA. The Big Fundamental just knew how to play team basketball, and he was responsible for 5 championship victories.
Duncan captured 5 titles, 3 Finals MVPs, and Rookie of the Year by posting a ridiculous double-double to go along with 2.5 BPG. With 15 All-NBA Selections and 15 All-Star Teams to his name, Timmy is one of the greatest No. 1 overall picks in NBA history and there is no doubt about that.
1998 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Michael Olowokandi (Los Angeles Clippers)
Rookie Stats: 8.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG
Career Stats: 8.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.4 BPG
Olowokandi has to be one of the biggest busts in NBA history because he lacked the talent to be a franchise cornerstone despite his size at 7’0” and 269 lbs. The center lacked the offensive ability to be impactful and was chosen first overall purely due to his size.
Olowokandi averaged in double-digits in scoring only twice in his career and never averaged above 9.1 RPG in a single season. The Nigerian native would have been useful as a backup center, but the “bust” label will stick with him forever.
1999 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Elton Brand (Chicago Bulls)
Rookie Stats: 20.1 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.6 BPG
Career Stats: 15.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.7 BPG
Elton Brand was a consistent double-double threat throughout his prime, and he had an excellent rookie campaign as well. The talented power forward put up 20.1 PPG and 10.0 RPG for the Chicago Bulls, winning Rookie of the Year and making the All-Rookie Team.
Brand would make an All-Star Team in his third season in Chicago, posting 18.2 PPG and 11.6 RPG but his best season would come in 2006 with the Los Angeles Clippers when he averaged 24.7 PPG and 10.0 RPG. Brand never became a superstar player, but he was a decent choice with the No. 1 overall pick.
2000 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Kenyon Martin (New Jersey Nets)
Rookie Stats: 12.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.7 BPG
Career Stats: 12.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.1 BPG
Kenyon Martin was a very impactful power forward in the NBA because he was the co-star alongside Jason Kidd during the New Jersey Nets days and also was a starter for the Denver Nuggets teams led by Carmelo Anthony.
An athletic power forward that brought toughness and elite defense, Martin was a player who helped his teams win games consistently. A big man with an edge will always be respected, and that was K-Mart when he played.
2001 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Kwame Brown (Washington Wizards)
Rookie Stats: 4.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Career Stats: 6.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.6 BPG
One of the biggest busts in NBA history, Kwame Brown should have never been taken No. 1 overall. The big man could not catch a basketball properly, and he never had the makings of a starting-caliber player in the league.
Unfortunately, many remember Kwame for being the subject of Kobe Bryant’s wrath when they played together on the Lakers. Brown’s averages of 6.6 RPG and 5.5 RPG are not No. 1 overall pick worthy and even he knows it.
2002 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Yao Ming (Houston Rockets)
Rookie Stats: 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.8 BPG
Career Stats: 19.0 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.9 BPG
The man who single-handedly expanded the NBA into the Chinese market, Yao Ming, was invaluable to the league. A 7’6” center with a shooting stroke and a soft touch around the rim, Ming broke the mold as a franchise cornerstone.
As with the case of other players on this list, Yao Ming suffered countless injuries which took away from his prime and ended his career early. But he still made 8 All-Star Teams and made the Hall of Fame as a member of the Houston Rockets.
2003 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Rookie Stats: 20.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Career Stats: 27.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG
One of the greatest players ever, LeBron James had one of the best rookie campaigns of the modern era after putting up a solid 20-5-5 and showcasing his elite basketball IQ as a young teenager.
The King has exceeded all the heavy expectations he had because he is now a 4-time champion with 18 All-Star selections and a massive opportunity to retire as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. James is also the greatest player in Cavaliers' history.
2004 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic)
Rookie Stats: 12.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.7 BPG
Career Stats: 15.7 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.8 BPG
Dwight Howard has been grossly underrated because he was the best center in the NBA in his prime for at least a couple of years. The superstar center carried the Orlando Magic on his back, leading them to the NBA Finals in 2009 in a showdown against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Dwight is also a 3-time Defensive Player of the Year and has a total of 8 All-Star selections and 8 All-NBA selections, along with 5 rebounding titles. Dwight didn’t make the NBA 75th Anniversary Team, but he should possibly make the 100th Anniversary Team.
2005 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks)
Rookie Stats: 9.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Career Stats: 9.6 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.5 BPG
Andrew Bogut suffered a host of injuries throughout his career, but he was a paint enforcer in his prime for the Milwaukee Bucks. The Australian averaged 9.4 PPG and 7.0 RPG in his rookie season.
Bogut led the NBA in BPG during the 2011 season when he blocked 2.6 shots per game, and he also made the All-Defensive Team in 2015. The highlight of his career came in 2015 when he also won the NBA title with the Golden State Warriors.
2006 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Andrea Bargnani (Toronto Raptors)
Rookie Stats: 11.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Career Stats: 14.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.9 BPG
Andrea Bargnani was one of the few big men who could actually space the floor, making him an attractive selection with the No. 1 overall pick. The Raptors had a thing for scoring big men, after all.
Of course, Andrea never lived up to that potential, although he had some good seasons with the Raptors, including the 2011 season when he averaged 21.4 PPG and 5.4 RPG. Unfortunately, Bargnani was never a capable rebounder and defender, which is why he should have never been drafted as high as he was.
2007 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Greg Oden (Portland Trail Blazers)
Rookie Stats: 8.9 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.1 BPG
Career Stats: 8.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.2 BPG
Greg Oden joins a long list of “what-ifs” because he had the size and ability to become a multiple-time Defensive Player of the Year had he stayed healthy. Unfortunately, Oden battled too many injuries and his prime was cut far too short and we never got to see what the big man could truly do.
As a result, Oden has to be labeled a bust, especially since he was drafted ahead of Kevin Durant. The big man had a decent rookie campaign, but knee injuries only forced him to play in a total of 105 games over 7 seasons, with a total of 4 entire seasons missed. Basketball can be a cruel game, and few know that better than Greg Oden.
2008 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
Rookie Stats: 16.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Career Stats: 18.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 5.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG
One of the most electrifying point guards in NBA history, Derrick Rose, was a force on the offensive end as soon as his rookie season. The Chicago Bulls knew they had a potential superstar on their hands, and for the first time since Michael Jordan, a player who had the talent to carry the franchise on his back.
Of course, injuries derailed Rose’s career because his prime was cut significantly short. But the point guard still became the youngest MVP ever in 20011 and spearheaded the best Bulls squad since the 1990s teams led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
2009 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)
Rookie Stats: 22.5 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Career Stats: 19.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 4.1 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG
We haven’t seen many rookies that brought as much excitement to the table as a young Blake Griffin. The power forward was incredibly explosive and had an array of monster dunks that resonate with fans until this day. Drafted No. 1 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers, Griffin won ROY by putting up spectacular numbers across the board.
Of course, Griffin was part of the “Lob City” crew that also featured Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan when the squad was competing in deep playoff runs. Since his rookie season, Griffin has a total of 6 All-Star Teams and 5 All-NBA Teams to his name, and hopefully, he will get to add an NBA title to his resume before he decides to hang it up with the final seasons of his career coming up at age 33.
2010 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - John Wall (Washington Wizards)
Rookie Stats: 16.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.3 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Career Stats: 19.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 9.1 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG
One of the premier speedsters in NBA history, John Wall, started off his NBA career with quite a bang by averaging 16.4 PPG and 8.3 APG for the Washington Wizards. He has since made 5 All-Star Teams and had some memorable moments as a member of the Wizards franchise.
Unfortunately, injuries have greatly derailed Wall’s career as he has appeared in a total of 72 games in 4 years. That is an incredible amount of games missed, as both injuries and lack of need on a rebuilding Rockets squad have thrown his future in doubt. Hopefully, Wall can join a championship contender because he can still offer strong offensive output at the age of 31.
2011 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Rookie Stats: 18.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Career Stats: 23.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.4 BPG
The greatest ball-handler in NBA history, Kyrie Irving began electrifying crowds as soon as his rookie season. The point guard won Rookie of the Year and has since made an impressive 7 All-Star Teams with 3 different franchises. His most valuable achievement came in 2016, when he won an NBA title with the Cavaliers.
Now, at age 30, we have also got to (somewhat) understand a deeper part of Kyrie Irving’s personality as well. He is certainly an enigma, and for good and bad, that is greatly affecting his game at the moment. As he has aged, Kyrie has become a more well-rounded player and hopefully, we get to see him focus purely on basketball moving forward.
2012 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Anthony Davis (New Orleans Hornets)
Rookie Stats: 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.8 BPG
Career Stats: 23.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.4 SPG, 2.3 BPG
Without a doubt, Anthony Davis has to be one of the most talented big men of all time. As soon as his rookie season, when Davis made the All-Rookie Team, we were looking at a one-of-a-kind player that could do many things on the court at a high level.
AD has already made 8 All-Star Teams, 4 All-NBA Teams, 4 All-Defensive Teams, and won an NBA title by the age of 29. Clearly, Davis is on a path to the Hall of Fame and his talent is certainly transcendent considering what he can do on both ends of the floor. A big man with guard skills, the only thing in his way of more greatness is his injury history.
2013 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Anthony Bennett (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Rookie Stats: 4.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Career Stats: 4.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Without a doubt, Anthony Bennett is one of the biggest busts in NBA history. While it is not his fault that the Cavaliers believed in him to select him No. 1 overall, Bennett was sorely lacking as a professional basketball player in many areas.
Firstly, he was out of shape. The big man could hardly keep up with the pace of the game, and he also showed little to no offensive moves when he had the ball. Not to mention, he was very slow defensively and could not be relied upon to play any significant minutes. He only played 151 games in 4 seasons with 4 teams and has a career average of 4.4 PPG, hallmarks of a bust, unfortunately.
2014 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Andrew Wiggins (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Rookie Stats: 16.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Career Stats: 19.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Andrew Wiggins is a very good player, and we might have to start accepting that he will never be a superstar. Coming into the league, pundits strongly believed in Wiggins’ ability to carry a franchise on his back, but it seems he is best suited for a secondary or even third-option role, similar to what he has for the contending Golden State Warriors.
Wiggins won Rookie of the Year after averaging 16.9 PPG on 43.7% shooting, and he somehow became a starter for the Western Conference All-Stars this year. While Wiggins is not a top-2 player at his position, he has developed into a strong two-way player for the Warriors and his career could hopefully be on a trajectory at the age of 27.
2015 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Rookie Stats: 18.3 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.7 BPG
Career Stats: 23.2 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 3.1 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.4 BPG
Karl-Anthony Towns has to be one of the most talented centers in recent memory and is easily one of the greatest shooters from his position of all time. At age 26, KAT has already made 3 All-Star Teams and earned ROY honors by averaging a terrific double-double for the Timberwolves.
Minnesota are lucky to have Towns and another No. 1 overall pick in Anthony Edwards because both players could be the driving force behind an up-and-coming team in the West. The big man is shooting 52.7% from the field, 39.7% from three, and 83.3% from the line over his career so far. Hopefully, Towns can continue showing aggression in his play because he can be something special.
2016 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
Rookie Stats: 15.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 8.2 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG
Career Stats: 15.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 7.7 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG
While Ben Simmons might be the most unliked and most criticized player in the league right now, there is no denying his talent. A 6’11” point guard, Simmons is a triple-double threat every night because of his elite team-way play. Yes, we know he still cannot shoot.
But Simmons’ defense and playmaking cannot be overlooked, especially since he has 3 All-Star Teams to his name already. The Australian ran away with ROY honors, even if he famously missed his “true” rookie season with an injury. If Simmons can develop at least a respectable jump shot, defenders will really have to watch out for the budding superstar.
2017 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Markelle Fultz (Philadelphia 76ers)
Rookie Stats: 7.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Career Stats: 10.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Markelle Fultz was supposed to be an All-Star by now. The point guard was impressive in college due to his natural scoring and playmaking ability, but strange shoulder mechanics have thrown off his shooting stroke and confidence.
What was supposed to be a star player has become an injury-prone backup guard. Nobody can really tell what went wrong with Fult’s career, because his career averages of 10.9 PPG and 4.8 APG are a far cry from what he can really do when healthy. Fultz can hopefully return to full health because, at age 23, there is still hope for him to be an impactful player.
2018 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns)
Rookie Stats: 16.3 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.9 BPG
Career Stats: 16.3 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.0 BPG
Deandre Ayton has accomplished quite a bit through his young NBA career. He was never supposed to be drafted ahead of Luka Doncic, but he is still a capable scorer and rebounder from the center position. In only his third season, Ayton was the 3rd best player on a team that made the NBA Finals in 2021.
The center has great hands and is growing in confidence when it comes to being a force in the paint on both ends of the floor. There is plenty for Ayton to improve upon, including his aggression, but he is off to a great start and time will tell if his talent warrants a max-salary paycheck.
2019 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)
Rookie Stats: 22.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Career Stats: 25.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Make no mistake about it, Zion Williamson can become the face of the NBA if he ever can stay healthy and keep at a reasonable weight. The explosive power forward has struggled mightily with injuries so far in his career, and we have seen a minimal sample size of what the big man can do.
But we might have seen enough already because Zion is a superstar when healthy. The young man is explosive, confident, and impactful because of his high basketball IQ. Williamson came into the NBA with a ton of hype, and he has begun drawing criticism for not being on the court consistently and alienating his Pelicans teammates. Still, Zion is a baller, and the future is very bright for the young man.
2020 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Rookie Stats: 19.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Career Stats: 20.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Anthony Edwards was not supposed to be this good this fast. The talented shooting guard oozes confidence and fell short of the ROY to LaMelo Ball. But Edwards is certainly a more spectacular scorer, and he had a great rookie campaign averaging 19.3 PPG.
This season, Edwards continued his growth to become one of the brightest young players in the league. His athleticism is off the charts, and after making the playoffs, Edwards has the capabilities to build on his experience to one day become a go-to scorer on a perennial contender in the West.
2021 NBA Draft
No. 1 Overall Pick - Cade Cunningham (Detroit Pistons)
Rookie Stats: 17.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Career Stats: 17.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Cade Cunningham was taken No. 1 overall ahead of some talented guys, including Jalen Green and Evan Mobley. A budding triple-double threat from the point guard position, Cade does a ton of things well on the court and blossomed into one of the contenders for Rookie of the Year at the end of the 2022 season.
So far, we could be seeing the best rookie slowly coming into his own, even if Scottie Barnes ended up winning ROY. Cade is a great talent as a 6’6” ball-handler, and he has shown the ability to keep calm as a floor general which spells good news for Detroit.