New York Knicks: 10 best No. 3 picks in NBA Draft history

Bulls Michael Jordan (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bulls Michael Jordan (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

8. Pau Gasol, 2001

Slash Line: .507/.368/.753
Career Averages: 17.0 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.6 BPG, 0.1 3PM

Longevity and play as one of the best big men of the millennium have Pau Gasol as one of the NBA’s best No. 3 picks. He is, still, arguably the best player in Memphis Grizzlies history, although his brother, Marc, and Mike Conley may have something to say.

Without hesitation, after what became a critiqued NBA Draft for Kwame Brown as the No. 1 pick, Gasol broke out. His 17.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game as a rookie made him the 2001-02 NBA Rookie of the Year, and everything just trended up from there.

Gasol was nothing but consistent for Memphis, carrying this still-developing franchise through its earliest seasons. He was dynamic and one of the NBA’s best young big men, but the smaller spotlight left him less regarded than others at his position.

Then came the 2008 trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, which permanently placed Gasol on the map. He teamed with Kobe Bryant, forming the next dynamic duo in Hollywood that led to not one, but two championships. Along with three All-Star appearances and his first seasons of double-double averages, the Spaniard exceeded anything he did in Memphis.

Gasol lasted in Los Angeles for six and a half years, before this franchise started its rough patch that has not disappeared since. So he went to Chicago and found two more years of double-digit averages at age 34 and 35.

There is not much to say about Gasol’s run with the Spurs or his three appearances with Milwaukee, but none of it deters what he did for 15 years as one of the standout top picks of the past two decades.