The Best NBA Players By Draft Pick: From No. 1 To No. 60

The Best NBA Players By Draft Pick: From No. 1 To No. 60
The Best NBA Players By Draft Pick: From No. 1 To No. 60

While there are currently 30 NBA franchises, only two players from the 1st overall pick in the NBA draft have been selected to an All-Star team, and only nine have been selected to an All-NBA team.

For the past few years, the NBA’s draft has been filled with some of the most exciting and explosive athletes the league has ever seen. From Kevin Durant and LeBron James to Steph Curry and Anthony Davis, the 2012 and 2013 drafts were filled with young talent who were almost impossible to keep from scoring. This year’s draft class may end up being remembered as well, but a few different players will stand out above the rest.

The NBA draft is always a great time to check out the potential of the most promising future NBA players. In this blog we will be looking at the best NBA players by draft pick, from No. 1 to No. 60.

Before the next batch of NBA players make their transition to the pros, we are going to take a step back and look at the best player picked at every slot. That includes the entire board, 1-60, and it only features current players. This does not include every NBA player at each pick of all time. This list is entirely subjective and it is not perfect. It’s simply an opinion.

1. LeBron James

In terms of No. 1 overall picks in the draft, there are great current overall selections. Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, and Zion Williamson are some of the best players in the league, but the best current player has to be LeBron. As he currently chases down his fifth NBA championship, LeBron is considered by many as the greatest or second-greatest player of all time. Honorable Mention: Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, Zion Williamson

2. Kevin Durant

Ja Morant and Brandon Ingram could be the holders of this title in a few years, but they are still young. Durant is a two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP. We could also talk about his scoring titles, All-Star appearances, and how he could go down as a top-20 player of all time. All in all, it doesn’t get much better of a career resume than Durant. Honorable Mention: Ja Morant, Brandon Ingram

3. James Harden

The third overall pick has produced some rising young talent in MVP contenders Joel Embiid and Luka Doncic. It also provided All-Stars Bradley Beal and Al Horford. In the end, Harden owns an MVP and three scoring titles. Had Harden not been hurt this season, he would have been in the position to win his second MVP award. Honorable Mention: Joel Embiid, Bradley Beal

4. Chris Paul

This is a pure toss-up between Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. Paul is one of the best leaders in the NBA, while Westbrook owns four seasons where he has averaged a triple-double. Not to mention, Westbrook is now the all-time leader in triple-doubles. However, Paul owns more overall success from a team standpoint in recent years. Honorable Mention: Russell Westbrook

5. Trae Young

We are still waiting on De’Aaron Fox to make an All-Star team, while Jonas Valunciunas has thrust himself into the conversation as one of the most underrated centers in the league. Young is the only No. 5 overall pick since Kevin Love to make an All-Star team. Young is playing some of the best basketball we have seen and is gearing up towards a long career in Atlanta. Honorable Mention: De’Aaron Fox, Jonas Valunciunas

6. Damian Lillard

Speaking of a long career, Lillard is everything the Portland Trail Blazers wanted from Brandon Roy (another No. 6 overall pick). Lillard is going to go down as the greatest Trail Blazer in history and will pass Clyde Drexler on the all-time scoring list soon. Lillard is still chasing that appearance in the NBA Finals but has given us many great moments along the way. Honorable Mention: Buddy Hield, Danillo Gallinari

7. Steph Curry

Apologies to Julius Randle, but you weren’t going to overcome the greatest shooter of all time. Curry secured his second scoring title this season while shooting one of the greatest displays in April that we hadn’t seen since the days of Kobe Bryant. The crazy thought is that at the age of 33 he isn’t slowing down. Honorable Mention: Julius Randle, Jamal Murray

8. Collin Sexton

This selection hadn’t seen a productive player since Rudy Gay until Sexton was drafted. The Cavaliers guard broke out this season averaging 24.3 points per game. At just 22 years old, the former Alabama product has a lot of potentials to grow in Cleveland. Honorable Mention: Rudy Gay

9. DeMar DeRozan

Andre Drummond, Kemba Walker, and Gordon Hayward all deserve shoutouts, but the best ninth overall pick that is currently playing is DeRozan. He is a four-time All-Star that formed a highly underrated backcourt with Kyle Lowry during his heyday with the Toronto Raptors. Had DeRozan not been traded for Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors may be without a championship. Honorable Mention: Andre Drummond, Kemba Walker, Gordon Hayward

10. Paul George

Brook Lopez deserves some credit considering he is the all-time Brooklyn Nets scorer, while CJ McCollum is a fringe candidate. George helped the Indiana Pacers give the LeBron James-led Miami Heat fits years ago. Two years ago, he was the MVP runner-up. PG-13 is a complete package that can play both sides of the floor, so the nod is easily given to him. Honorable Mention: Brook Lopez, Mikal Bridges

11. Klay Thompson

With Thompson not playing these last two seasons, Domantas Sabonis is making a run towards this title. However, Thompson was a foundational piece with Curry to help lead the Warriors to five straight NBA Finals appearances. The Warriors didn’t even have Durant on the team when Golden State won 73 games. That was a Curry and Thompson tandem. Honorable Mention: Domantas Sabonis, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

12. Steven Adams

This was a toss-up between Adams and Thaddeus Young. Both players are the only ones that own any type of award recognition, both making an All-Rookie Team. Adams gets the nod because he was a major contributor to the Thunder when Serge Ibaka left. Adams was a pure double-double threat, as well as a defensive force inside. Honorable Mention: Thaddeus Young, Alec Burks

13. Devin Booker

There were quite a few candidates at this position with Zach LaVine and Donovan Mitchell. Any three are deserving, but Booker is the better shooter out of all three. Booker should own more All-Star appearances, but he was overlooked when the Suns were bad teams. Now that the Suns are a top-2 team in the West, fans are finally seeing his value. Honorable Mention: Zach LaVine, Donovan Mitchell

14. Bam Adebayo

Michael Porter Jr. is showing glimpses of becoming a great player, but Adebayo has made an All-Star appearance. Not to mention, he could be the most underrated defensive center in the league. The Miami Heat thrive off his energy, and we as fans love watching him play. Honorable Mention: Michael Porter Jr., TJ Warren

15. Kawhi Leonard

Leonard is a two-time Finals MVP that has led two different franchises to NBA championships. A former Defensive Player of the Year, Leonard remains one of the best two-way players in the NBA. While Giannis Antetokounmpo’s two regular-season MVPs are nice and all, Leonard’s two championship rings have a different type of glow. Honorable Mention: Giannis Antetokounmpo

16. Nikola Vucevic

Outside of Terry Rozier and Jusef Nurkic, this position is pretty nameless. Vucevic is a two-time All-Star and helped keep bad Orlando Magic teams relevant. He has averaged a double-double in seven of his last nine seasons. With a new team in the Chicago Bulls, the expectations will rise for him next season. Honorable Mention: Terry Rozier

17. Jrue Holiday

Holiday is the only 17th overall pick in the last 10 years to record an All-Star appearance. Despite not recording an appearance since 2013, Holiday is a very underrated guard in the league. Offensively, he performs his role well and is one of the better wing defenders in the NBA. Fun fact about the Bucks backcourt, Holiday and Donte DiVincenzo are both 17th overall picks. Honorable Mention: Dennis Schroeder

18. Eric Bledsoe

Shane Larkin and Ty Lawson had potential, but Bledsoe is the only consistent player in the league. After years of starting as point guard for the Suns and Bucks, Bledsoe was moved to the Pelicans last season. Bledsoe may never be seen as a great player, but he should be respected for an NBA career that will end up being long. Honorable Mention: JaVale McGee

19. Tobias Harris

There have been some solid players at No. 19 the last couple of years with Kevin Hueter, John Collins, and Malik Beasley. With that said, Harris is the only one with an All-Star selection and talent. Collins is getting there and is young, but Harris is the best overall basketball player in terms of scoring, rebounding, and passing. Honorable Mention: John Collins

20. Evan Fournier

Matisse Thybulle has the potential to be a Defensive Player of the Year one day, while Caris LeVert could be a Sixth Man of the Year. Fournier averaged 19.7 points per game this past season, showing that he is one of the better pure shooters among active players. Fournier is set for a big payday this offseason. Honorable Mention: Caris LeVert

21. Rajon Rondo

How can you go against the man that every team wants on their playoff roster? Rondo owns championship rings with the Celtics and Lakers, which is why the Clippers swung a trade to bring him to their team. Rondo brings leadership to every team, but he is also one of the gifted players when it comes to passing. Honorable Mention: Grayson Allen

22. Bobby Portis

Had Kenneth Faried stayed in the league long enough, this would have gone to him, but Portis has grown into a solid bench contributor. He is one of the main pieces of the second unit with the Bucks. In the last three seasons, Portis has averaged close to 11 points and seven rebounds a game. Honorable Mention: Jared Dudley

23. OG Anunoby

Rodney Hood is a skilled shooter, while Nikola Mirotic had potential, but Anunoby showed this last season that he has starting skills in this league. At 23 years old, he averaged 15.9 points and 5.5 rebounds. He will be a foundational piece for the Raptors moving forward. Honorable Mention: Rodney Hood

24. Kyle Lowry

Speaking of foundational pieces, Lowry was the foundation in Toronto alongside DeMar DeRozan. While it was Kawhi Leonard that won Finals MVP in 2019, had it not been for Lowry’s presence in the locker room, that team would not have been so close. On the court, Lowry is a six-time All-Star, so we should respect his game too. Honorable Mention: Serge Ibaka

25. Clint Capela

Capella rose to the occasion this season. After years of showing parts of his potential in Houston, Capella had a breakout season with the Hawks this past year by leading the league in rebounding. At 15.2 points and 14.3 rebounds, and just 27 years old, Atlanta has a lot to be excited about. Honorable Mention: Nicolas Batum

26. Taj Gibson

Gibson is one of the most proven bench players in the league. With the Knicks, Gibson has been closing out games like his younger day with the Chicago Bulls. Gibson has proven to be a “Thibs Guy,” having played for his favorite coach in Chicago, Minnesota, and now New York. Honorable Mention: George Hill

27. Rudy Gobert

There is some tough competition here with Kyle Kuzma and Pascal Siakam but do those players own multiple Defensive Player of the Year Awards? Exactly. Gobert is a top-3 center in this league, and the best overall defensive player we have seen in years. Gobert is the rock of the Utah Jazz defense and will likely win an All-NBA selection this season. Honorable Mention: Kyle Kuzma, Larry Nance Jr.

28. Jordan Poole

The selection pool, see what we did there, is pretty slim. Had Greivis Vasquez stayed in the league, he would be considered. Wayne Ellington is a journeyman that somehow finds a team each season. Poole has an upside after averaging 12.1 points this season. At 21 years old, Golden State should be excited about this bench prospect. Honorable Mention: Wayne Ellington

29. Dejounte Murray

How San Antonio Spurs is this? The Spurs starting lineup featured three No. 29 overall picks this season with Murray, Derrick White, and Keldon Johnson. Out of all the players, Johnson has a great upside, but Murray is the most proven. Should we be surprised the Spurs are great at drafting? Not at all. Honorable Mention: Derrick White, Keldon Johnson

30. Jimmy Butler

Butler is a great story. He had no Division I offers out of high school and was once homeless. Then, he was the last pick of the first round, became an All-Star in Chicago and Minnesota, and then led the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals last season. Butler is easily a top-20 player in this league. Honorable Mention: Kevon Looney, Josh Hart

31. Bogan Bogdanovic

Both Cedi Osman and Nicolas Claxton are warming up to the league, but Bogdanovic is a proven outside shooter in this league. He owns a career 38.8% shooting percentage from three-point range and is a proven starter in the league. Honorable Mention: Cedi Osman

32. Montrezl Harrell

Many believed that Harrell was the first-round player out of Louisville, but fell to the second round. Harrell is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner and is one of the best centers coming off the bench. Ivica Zubac was also considered, but Harrell is the better overall player. Honorable Mention: Ivica Zubac, Tomas Satoransky

33. Joe Harris

Harris led the league in three-point shooting this season. He is a winner of the Three-Point Shootout as well. While Jalen Brunson and Hassan Whiteside are good players, Harris is a real contributor that leads his stat category. Honorable Mention: Jalen Brunson

34. Jae Crowder

Give Devonte’ Graham a year and he could overtake Crowder at this spot. Crowder is a perfect glue guy. He helped the Celtics compete on their runs to the Conference Finals. He helped the Heat make the NBA Finals. He helped the Suns clinch the No. 2 seed. He can shoot from outside and play solid defense. Honorable Mention: Devonte’ Graham

35. Draymond Green

One of the biggest steals of all time is Draymond Green at No. 35. Green was a solid player at Michigan State but he fell in the draft. He then rewarded the Warriors with the third and final piece of the team’s Big 3 with Curry and Thompson. The dynasty is well-known, but did you know that Green was also the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year? Honorable Mention: DeAndre Jordan, PJ Tucker

36. Malcolm Brogdon

Brogdon is a former Rookie of the Year and has recorded a 50-40-90 season. Even though there are not many players to choose from at No. 36, Brogdon would still likely be the top choice. Brogdon currently serves as the point guard for the Pacers. Honorable Mention: Mitchell Robinson

37. Gary Trent Jr.

In the late 2000s, Dejuan Blair and Luc Mbah a Moute were consistent players in the league. Since then, the only consistent player seen in a rotation is Trent Jr. After a season that saw him shoot 39.7% from three-point range, we are going to likely hear his name more often. Honorable Mention: Richaun Holmes

38. Spencer Dinwiddie

After a couple of successful seasons in the league, Chandler Parsons looked like a future mid-superstar in the making. Then, he fizzled out of the league with injuries. Dinwiddie is on that track after suffering a season-ending injury at the beginning of the year. But, Dinwiddie showed the year before he was a 20-point per game scorer and Sixth Man of the Year contender. Honorable Mention: Jordan Bell

39. Khris Middleton

Middleton has tough competition with Jerami Grant this season. Grant was a Most Improved Player candidate, but the decision has to lean towards Middleton, who is a two-time All-Star. After being selected in the second round, Middleton has solidified himself as one of the best small forwards in the league. Honorable Mention: Jerami Grant

40. Josh Richardson

Will Barton deserves a shoutout, but we’ll lean with a defense on this. Richardson is not the scorer that Barton provides for the Nuggets. He is one of the best wing defenders in the league, which is why teams trade for his services, specifically the Mavericks. Honorable Mention: Glen Robinson III, Will Barton

41. Nikola Jokic

Talk about one of the greatest steals of all time. Jokic averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists this season. He is expected to win the MVP for his efforts as well. You can always find diamonds in the rough. It doesn’t get much better than this. Honorable Mention: Eric Paschall

42. Patrick Beverley

Thomas Bryant is an interesting prospect assuming he can stay healthy. This spot belongs to Beverly, who is a three-time All-Defensive player. Known for being a “pest,” Beverley plays hard and is the only consistent player in the NBA since being selected in 2009. Honorable Mention: Thomas Bryant

43. Trevor Ariza

Mike Scott played around the league, but we haven’t seen a true rotational piece selected at No. 43 since Ariza was taken in 2004. Ariza won an NBA championship with the Lakers in 2009 and has been a key contributor for 10 teams in his career. Honorable Mention: Mike Scott

44. Mike Muscala

Slim pickings at No. 44, so the nod goes to Muscala. The former Bucknell product has played in the league since 2013 for the Hawks, Lakers, 76ers, and Thunder averaging 6.0 points in his career. Honorable Mention: Bol Bol

45. Goran Dragic

Dillon Brooks is proving this season that he could have a ceiling as high as Jimmy Butler. Until Brooks takes that next step, it’s only fair to go with Dragic, who was an All-Star in 2018 and an All-NBA selection in 2014. Honorable Mention: Dillon Brooks

46. Jordan Clarkson

Clarkson was named the Sixth Man of the Year this season after averaging 18.4 points and 4.0 rebounds for the No. 1 seed Utah Jazz. Clarkson has always been a consistent scorer in this league, but his jump has taken off these last two seasons. Danny Green should be considered as well given his three NBA championships. Honorable Mention: Norman Powell, Talen Horton-Tucker, Danny Green

47. Paul Millsap

It’s been 15 years since we have seen a player stay in the league, who was taken at No. 47. Millsap was a four-time All-Star during his time with the Hawks. At 36 years old, we should appreciate his longevity in the league. Honorable Mention: Russ Smith

48. Marc Gasol

Gasol is the all-time leader in rebounds, blocks, and was nearly the all-time leader in points for the Memphis Grizzlies. After a stellar career in Memphis, which featured a run to the Western Conference Finals in 2013, Gasol helped the Raptors win a championship in 2019. Now, he is looking to win another championship for the Lakers. Honorable Mention: Ryan Kelly

49. Kyle O’Quinn

O’Quinn plays in the Turkish League and hasn’t played in the NBA since 2019. Out of all the players taken in the last 20 years, O’Quinn owns the best career that started in 2012. O’Quinn averaged 5.4 points and 4.6 rebounds with the Magic, Knicks, Pacers, and 76ers. Honorable Mention: Josh Selby

50. James Ennis

Ennis has played in the league since 2014, playing for the Heat, Pelicans, Grizzlies, Pistons, Rockets, 76ers, and Magic. He enjoyed his best season this year by averaging 8.4 points and 4.0 rebounds. Honorable Mention: Georges Niang

51. Monte Morris

Morris has grown into one of the better steals of the late part of the draft. In four years with the Nuggets, Morris has averaged 9.8 points and 3.5 assists. Morris has come close to averaging 40% from the three-point range as well. Honorable Mention: Thanasis Antetokounmpo

52. Jalen McDaniels

So far the only player that hasn’t fizzled out at this position is McDaniels, who was taken in 2019. McDaniels has served as a bench piece for the Charlotte Hornets the last two seasons. McDaniels averaged 7.4 points this past season. Honorable Mention: Vincent Edwards

53. Kadeem Allen

There are no players currently active in this position. Allen recently played in the NBA from 2017 to 2019. He played 47 games in his career. Honorable Mention: Devon Hall

54. Shake Milton

Milton grew to become the best bench player for the 76ers this past season. In his third overall season, Milton averaged 13.0 points and shot 45% from the field. Honorable Mention: Alec Peters

55. E’Twaun Moore

After a stellar career at Purdue, it’s Moore who has enjoyed a long, successful NBA career. Moore has played for the Celtics, Magic, Bulls, Pelicans, and Suns. Moore’s best seasons came in New Orleans, where he averaged close to 12 points per game. Honorable Mention: Kyle Guy

56. Ramon Sessions

Since there are no current players in the NBA taken at this position, Sessions gets the nod. Sessions played in the league from 2007 to 2017. Honorable Mention: Amir Johnson

57. Marcin Gortat

Jordan Bone is a player to keep an eye on after playing 14 games for the Magic, but no other player is active from this spot. Gortat enjoyed an NBA career that spanned from 2007 to 2018. His best season came in 2016, where he averaged 10.8 points and 10.4 rebounds. Honorable Mention: Jordan Bone

58. Robbie Hummel

There are no active players taken at this position, so we are going with Hummell. Even though Hummel doesn’t play in the NBA, he represented the USA team in the 3v3 Olympic trials and calls cames for the Big Ten Network. Honorable Mention: Deshaun Thomas

59. Dewan Hernandez

Hernandez currently plays for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the G-League. He played six games for the Raptors in 2019. Honorable Mention: George King

60. Isaiah Thomas

The 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons are still frequently talked about by Celtics fans. Thomas averaged 28.9 points in the later season. Thomas set a franchise-record streak of consecutive 20-point games with 43, breaking John Havlicek’s record of 41. That’s not too bad for a player taken at the end of a draft. Honorable Mention: Kostas AntetokounmpoDraft busts are a point of constant debate in the NBA, and wither players played high school, college, or overseas their draft status is always open to scrutiny. But while the number of future superstars that last until the late lottery is relatively small, the players who do turn out to be stars may have had a different career arc than one would expect.. Read more about nba draft history and let us know what you think.

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