NBA’s Best and Worst: Ranking the No. 1 Picks of the Last 25 Years

March 2nd, 2010 by Robert Kleeman Leave a reply »
No one can oversell the qualities that make a player worthy of the top selection in the NBA Draft. A baller who lives up to his promise can change a franchise’s fortunes and deliver a decade’s worth of dazzling performances and Larry O’ Brien Trophies. As talk about the John Wall sweepstakes boils, I decided to examine and rank the previous 25 No. 1 picks. The comatose, abominable squads in the hunt for the explosive Kentucky guard—a dynamite speedster with pogo stick hops—should know what happens when a worshiped collegiate or international athlete flops. Faulty selections can haunt a front office for years. Some executives harbor delusions a failed pro just needs a bit more seasoning when he has been over-salted, peppered, and charred. In the previous 25 years, the team with the top selection missed the draft’s best player at least 12 times, with one year too close to call and another incomplete. The list includes all top picks from 1986 to now. Hoops bosses should know how this works. The GMs who passed on Brandon Roy in 2006 do not get a pass because of his concerning injury history. Those who said “no thanks” have paid the steep price. All drafts involve g ...

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