2012 NBA Draft: Ranking the No. 1 Overall Picks


With Kentucky’s Anthony Davis set to become the 28th No. 1 overall pick since the NBA Draft Lottery began in 1985, now is the perfect time to take a look back at defats of the past.

There have been some outstanding players selected with the No. 1 overall pick, but there have also been some total busts that have gone No. 1 overall as well.

Here’s a look back through time as I rank all of the No. 1 picks through the lottery era.

Note: Players were ranked on statistics, championships, longevity, etc.

27.  Kwame Brown, 2001, Washington Wizards: When you talked about bad No. 1 picks, Brown’s name has to be at the top of the list. In 12 NBA seasons, Brown has averaged only 6.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He should have been sign No. 1 that Michael Jordan wouldn’t make a good executive. The sad part is that Brown has made $58.7 million in his career.

26.  Greg Oden, 2007, Portland Trail Blazers: You have to feel bad for Oden, but the facts are that injuries have made him one of the worst No. 1 picks ever. In five NBA seasons, Oden has managed to play in only a total of 82 games.

25.  Michael Olowokandi, 1998, Los Angeles Clippers: The “Kandi Man,” had a pair of average seasons in 2002 and 2003, but overall was a complete bust that averaged only 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in his nine-year NBA career.

24.  Pervis Ellison, 1989, Sacramento Kings:  Ellison was the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 1992 when he averaged 20.0 points and 11.2 boards per night, but that was as good as it got for Ellison during his 11-year NBA career that saw him finish with averages of 9.5 points and 6.7 rebounds.

23.  Joe Smith, 1995, Golden State Warriors: Smith’s career got off to a good start when he was named to the NBA All-rookie First team, but other than that, his career was that of nothing more than a journeyman. Smith averaged 10.9 points and 6.4 rebounds throughout the course of 15 NBA seasons.

22.  Kenyon Martin, 2000, New Jersey Nets: Martin was an All-Star in 2004, but he’s been nothing more than average during the course of his 12-year NBA career, averaging a modest 13.0 points and 7.1 rebounds.

21.  John Wall, 2010, Washington Wizards: Wall is blessed with enormous speed and talent, but must become a better leader and shooter before he can take his game to the next level. The talent is there though.

20.  Andrew Bogut, 2005, Milwaukee Bucks: Bogut has dealt with injuries throughout his eight year NBA career and not only was a NBA All-Rookie First Team member in 2006, but an All-NBA Third Team selection in 2010. He could likely be a few spots higher if the injuries haven’t slowed him down.

19.  Andrea Bargnani, 2006, Toronto Raptors: Bargnani has a ton of talent and really started to emerge in 2012 before injuries set him back as well. He’s averaged a solid 20.5 points per game the past two seasons.

18.  Danny Manning, 1988, Los Angeles Clippers: I always wonder how good Manning could have been if it wasn’t for the devastating knee injury as a rookie. Regardless he forged out a good career averaging 14.0 points per game and 5.2 rebounds, winning the Sixth Man of the Year award in 1998.

15.  Glenn Robinson, 1994, Milwaukee Bucks: Robinson was a two-time All-Star and won a ring in 2005, but he’s a guy who never really lived up to the hype coming out of Purdue. In 11 NBA seasons, Robinson averaged a solid 20.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

17.  Derrick Coleman, 1990, New Jersey Nets: Coleman had a decent NBA career, winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1991 and made the All-Star team in 1994. He finished his NBA career averaging 16.5 points and 9.3 rebounds.

16.  Kyrie Irving, 2011, Cleveland Cavaliers: I really like what Irving brought to Cleveland during his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2012. He has unbelievable speed and a natural point guard. He’s a little high on the list but I love his potential.

15.  Glenn Robinson, 1994, Milwaukee Bucks: Robinson was a two-time All-Star and won a ring in 2005, but he’s a guy who never really lived up to the hype coming out of Purdue. In 11 NBA seasons, Robinson averaged a solid 20.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

14.  Elton Brand, 1999, Chicago Bulls: People forget how good Brand was early in his career for the Bulls and Clippers, posting six career seasons of 20+ points per game.

13.  Blake Griffin, 2009, Los Angeles Clippers: Griffin, in two seasons, has won the Rookie of the Year and made a pair of All-Star teams. In addition, he’s the most explosive player in the NBA right now and has averaged 21.7 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. He has a ways to go before Griffin is a complete player, but he’s well on his way.

12.  Brad Daugherty, 1986, Cleveland Cavaliers: Daugherty’s career was cut short due to back problems, but during his eight NBA seasons he was very good, averaging 19.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, making the All-Star Game on five different occasions.

11.  Yao Ming, 2002, Houston Rockets: Ming also saw his career cut short due to injury, but while in a Rockets uniform he was very good. He was an eight-time All-Star and averaged 19.0 points and 9.2 rebounds in his eight-year NBA career.

10.  Larry Johnson, 1991, Charlotte Hornets: LJ also dealt with injuries throughout his 10-year NBA career, but while healthy he was a solid 16.2 and 7.5 guy with the Hornets and Knicks combined.

9.  Chris Webber, 1993, Orlando Magic: Webber was the Rookie of the Year in 1994 and a five-time All-Star during his 15 year NBA career. Similar to Johnson though, C-Web had a very good NBA career but never really showed the signs of dominance for a length period of time.

8.  Dwight Howard, 2004, Orlando Magic: All the whining and complaining aside, Howard has become the best big man in the game today, averaging 18.4 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks during his eight seasons in Orlando to date. In addition he’s won the Defensive Player of the Year three different times, been named to the All-NBA first team five times and is a six time All-Star.

7.  Derrick Rose, 2008, Chicago Bulls: Rose became the youngest MVP in NBA history in 2011 and has a Rookie of the Year and three All-Star selections on his resume already.

6.  Patrick Ewing, 1985, New York Knicks: The only thing missing from Ewing’s resume is a championship. He was the Rookie of the Year in 1986, a member of the original Dream Team and an 11-time All-Star. Ewing played in the NBA 17 years and averaged 21.0 points and 9.8 rebounds.

5.  David Robinson, 1987, San Antonio Spurs: “The Admiral,” was one of the NBA’s best ever and was a 10-time All-Star, a league MVP (1995) and the Defensive Player of the Year (1992). In addition Robinson won a pair of NBA titles. Something interesting on this list is that of all the No. 1 picks, only Glenn and David Robinson has won a championship so far.

4. Allen Iverson, 1996, Philadelphia 76ers: Iverson was one of the toughest players the NBA has ever seen and all his off the court issues aside; he was one of the best pure scorers (26.7 PPG) the league has ever seen. In addition, A.I. won the MVP in 2001 and was an 11-time All-Star.

3.  Shaquille O’Neal, 1992, Orlando Magic: One of the most dominant big men in NBA history, Shaq won an MVP in 200 and made 15 All-Star teams. He won four rings and finished his career averaging 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds.

2.  Tim Duncan, 1997, San Antonio Spurs: Quite simply Duncan is the best power forward in NBA history. He has won four title, the MVP twice and been named an All-Star on 13 different occasions. He’s still going strong and has career numbers of 20.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.

1.  LeBron James, 2003, Cleveland Cavaliers: There’s no real explanation needed here, but LBJ is one of the most gifted players NBA fans have ever seen. He finally got his ring this year and has won three MVP awards. In addition to the accolades are career numbers of 27.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.7 steals. Like him or not, LeBron deserves the top spot.

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