It seems that with every draft class comes the feeling of a newly ushered era of basketball in the NBA. Each year teams nail-bite over their lottery-picks, No. 1 overall selections refill the league’s hype and unprecedented heroes rise from the overlooked rounds to change franchises. All records, highlights and moments in NBA history start at this annual event, and Cavs Nation brings you the top 5 draft classes that made the largest impacts on the game we all love.
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With the 5th overall pick in the 2014 Draft Rankings, Cavs Nation selects…
#5 2003 NBA Draft
The talents of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade really highlighted the ’03 draft and have galvanized the first decade and a half basketball this millennium. The Top 5 picks (#2 pick Darko Milicic not included) have won 8 championships amongst them. Wade, James, Mavericks forward Josh Howard, and Milicic were the only ones to make separate Finals appearances until James and Bosh joined Wade in Miami. Carmelo Anthony is the only player of the top 5 picks to not make an NBA Finals appearance. Other major talents include former Cavalier guard Mo Williams, sharpshooter Kyle Korver, and power forwards David West and Boris Diaw. West is the all time New Orleans Pelicans scoring leader. Kyle Korver set a record for most consecutive games with a 3-pointer at 127 games in a row!
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With the 4th overall pick in the 2014 Draft Rankings, Cavs Nation selects…
#4 1985 NBA Draft
The ’85 draft featured some franchise players in Patrick Ewing and Karl Malone, both of who went on appear in 10+ All Star games. Ewing made one Finals appearance, but lost to Hakeem Olajuwon’s Rockets. Karl Malone had a couple attempts at a championship, but fell twice to Jordan and his Bulls as well as once to the Detroit Pistons as a Laker. Pistons shooting guard Joe Dumars, partnered with star point guard Isiah Thomas, won 2 championships in the early 90’s.
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With the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 Draft Rankings, Cavs Nation selects…
#3 1987 NBA Draft
The 1987 Draft featured some of the well-known players who definitely left a lasting mark on the NBA. When people think of the 87 class, they think of David Robinson’s 71 points, Scottie Pippen’s 6 NBA Championships, Kenny Smith’s 2 championships as a Rocket, and Kevin Johnson who is now the Mayor of Sacramento. Šarūnas Marčiulionis got major playing time as a European, the first to do so which opened more opportunities for international players. During the summer of 1993, the life and career of the 22nd pick Reggie Lewis was cut short as he died during a practice from cardiac arrest. He was only 27 years old and the exact cause of his cardiac arrest is not known.
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With the 2nd overall pick in the 2014 Draft Rankings, Cavs Nation selects…
#2 1984 NBA Draft
The fight for best draft class came down to splitting atoms of the hairs of contrast between the top two draft class; but coming in 2nd is the ’84 class featuring Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, and John Stockton to name a few. Drafted 11th, Kevin Willis came into the league at 17 years old and played a grand total of 1522 games (both regular season and playoffs) over 24 seasons with the Hawks, Heat, Raptors, and Spurs. He called it quits at the conclusion of the 2006-07 season, retiring as the oldest player in NBA history at 44 years of age. Michael Jordan won more titles than the players listed above did combined, solidifying himself as a worldwide icon and the greatest basketball player that his generation has ever seen.
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With the 1st overall pick in the 2014 Draft Rankings, Cavs Nation selects…
#1 1996 NBA Draft
The 1996 NBA Draft is highly regarded are the best draft in NBA history, as it not only had the most talent a draft had ever seen, but a good portion of the draftees went on to have very successful careers. With a combined 66 All-Star appearances, this draft has some of the most iconic players from the incredibly swift Allen Iverson and Steve Nash to the clutch shooting of Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen. Ben Wallace, a 4-time Defensive Player of the Year, went undrafted in ’96. Although Derek Fisher has no individual accolades to his NBA resume, he played the most playoff games in NBA history at 259.