Thursday , Jun , 28 , 2012 Paul Eide

Best First Round In NBA Draft History- 03, 96, 85 or 91 ?

Some experts have called the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft the most deep in recent memory; but does that mean it will ever rank as one of the best in history? When the dust settles will the 2012 version be able to hang with the first rounds of 2003, 1996, 1985 or 1991?

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call- It generally takes a couple years for any draft to pan out. But who knows?




What’s funny about this draft is how people remember it. Sure, everyone knows that LeBron went number one overall, and then Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and Chris Kaman were all drafted in succession. But the only thing anyone remembers is how Darko Milicic went number two overall.

The Pistons were so good at the time that they just sat him on the bench (the way NFL teams do with young QB’s) and hoped he would absorb knowledge and “know how” from all the talent around him because the Pistons were loaded at the time and he was only 18 years old. But instead of accepting the presumed gamut thrown at him by the tough, physical big men that littered Detroit’s roster at the time (Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Corliss Williamson, even Elden Campbell for crying out loud!) and excelling, Darko played the role of shrinking violet; instead of spurring his development, it spurned his development and damaged his psyche so bad that he died his hair horribly, further ostracizing him from the team.


A few of the better picks:

– Lebron James at one
– Carmelo Anthony at three (two if Darko is never birthed)
– Chris Bosh at four
– Dwyane Wade at five
– Chris Kaman at six
– Mickael Pietrus at 11
– Nick Collison at 12
– David West at 18
– Boris Diaw at 21
– Kendrick Perkins at 27
– Leandro Barbosa at 28
– Josh Howard at 29



In this draft there was one player coveted above all other players available; Allen Iverson. In two years at Georgetown, Iverson averaged 23.0 ppg and was the Big East’s back to back Defensive Player of the Year, pretty amazing for a six foot guard. His quickness and leaping ability were equally amazing and the most impressive that a lot of people have ever seen to this day. Historically speaking though, the most impactful player from the draft ended up being Kobe Bryant, drafted 13th out of Lower Marion HS. Though Kevin Garnett had made the successful transition from HS directly to the pros a year earlier (the first time in 20 years), there were a lot of people who doubted Bryant would ever be able to make the transition, mainly because he wasn’t a big man like Garnett or wasn’t strong enough. But as it stands now, he may be the second best NBA player ever.

10 of the 29 first round picks would later become NBA All-Stars. This first round also contained three players who would later win MVP awards; Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Steve Nash.


A few of the better picks:
– Allen Iverson at one
– Marcus Camby at two
– Shareef Abdur-Rahim at three
– Stephon Marbury at four
– Ray Allen at five
– Antoine Walker at six
– Kobe Bryant at 13
– Peja Stojakovic at 14
– Steve Nash at 15
– Zydrunus Ilgauskas at 20
– Derek Fisher at 24



Was the envelope frozen? Or was the crease in the upper right hand/folded corner enough for the commish to know it was the correct envelope to pick? It was an interesting time for the NBA. The first ever NBA Draft Lottery as used to determine the picking order and the Knicks hadn’t been relevant for years. The Knicks had the third worst record the previous year, with Golden State the expected recipient of the #1 pick due to having the worst record the previous season. The Knicks got Ewing and Golden State fell all the way down to the seventh overall pick, where they picked future hall of famer Chris Mullin, though at the time he was seen as more of a consolation prize because they didn’t get Ewing but it end up good for both teams.

In the first 18 picks, four Hall of Famers were selected. In the first round (24 picks in all) nine all stars were selected. Of the 24 players selected in the first round, 19 of them played in the NBA for eight or more seasons. That’s some pretty amazing longevity compared to the way a lot of NBA Draft picks over the last ten or so years won’t ever play a minute in the league.


A few of the better picks:
– Patrick Ewing at one
– Xavier McDaniel at four
– Chris Mullin at seven
– Detlef Schrempf at eight
– Charles Oakley at nine
– Karl Malone at 13
– Joe Dumars at 18
– AC Green at 23
– Terry Porter at 24



In the days leading up to and following this draft, it really all boiled down to Larry Johnson. The number one pick in the 1991 NBA Draft was arguably the greatest college basketball player of all time. Seven of the 27 first round selections became All-Stars. There were no MVP’s from this draft class but there were two that won NBA titles; Luc Longley and Bison Dele (Brian Williams) during the Bulls stampede through the league. Of all the players drafted, no one had a better individual career than Dikembe Mutombo. An 18 year pro, he won Defensive Player of the Year four times, led the league in blocks three times, rebounding twice and was an All Star eight times.


A few of the better picks:
– Larry Johnson at one
– Kenny Anderson at two
– Dikembe Mutombo at four
– Steve Smith at five
– Stacey Augmon at nine
– Terrell Brandon at 11
– Greg Anthony at 12
– Dale Davis at 13
– Chris Gatling 16
– Rick Fox at 24


Can Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson and Bradley Beal make the 2012 first round one of the best in NBA history?

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Image Credit: AP NEWS


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