Ranking the No. 1 Overall NBA Draft Pick From the Past 10 Years
While the league is eagerly waiting to find out who the number one overall pick will be for this year’s draft, let’s take a look back at the past ten years and see where each number one overall pick ranks.
1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets, 2012
Anthony Davis tops off the list at number one. The 2013 No.1 overall pick started his career with the New Orleans Hornets (later Pelicans) and is currently playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won his first championship just two years ago in 2020.
In ten NBA seasons, Davis has been an eight-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA first team, and four-time All-Defensive team selection. Averaging 23.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.3 blocks throughout his ten-year career, the standout from the University of Kentucky has solidified himself as a top talent in the league, and he is far from finished at just 29 years old.
At number two, another talented big man from the University of Kentucky finds his way onto the list. The No.1 overall pick in 2015, Karl-Anthony Towns is a three-time All-Star and has landed on the All-NBA Third Team twice. In seven years in the league, Towns has averaged 23.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists.
3. Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves, 2014
After winning this year’s NBA Championship with the Golden State Warriors, Andrew Wiggins comes in at number three. Wiggins was taken No.1 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, who traded up to select Wiggins.
The forward from the University of Kansas came into the league and proved he belonged by winning the Rookie of the Year award. Wiggins has averaged 19.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in eight seasons. The one-time All-Star and one-time NBA Champion (both with Golden State) rounds out the top three.
4. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves, 2020
Anthony Edwards barely misses the top three, as the 2020 No.1 overall pick is on the rise and has quickly proven he belongs in little time. In his rookie year, Edwards averaged 19.3 points per game, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists.
After placing second in the Rookie of the Year voting, Edwards came back as a much-improved player in his second season. The Georgia product averaged 21.3 points per game, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists this past year and helped lift the Timberwolves to a playoff appearance for just the second time in 18 years.
5. Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans, 2019
Although Zion Williamson has faced injuries, the 2019 No.1 overall pick has shown that when he’s healthy, he is a freak of nature. Williamson has averaged 25.7 points, seven rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 85 career games in two seasons. The one-time All-Star has recently been fully cleared to play, so next season could be the year that he makes this ranking at number five look foolish.
6. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers, 2016
The Australian from LSU comes in just outside the top five. Ben Simmons was viewed as the next Magic Johnson or LeBron James entering the league, and to this point, while he hasn’t been disappointing, he also hasn’t lived up to the hype.
After sitting out his first year in the NBA with an injury, Simmons won the Rookie of the Year award the following season when he beat out Donovan Mitchell. Simmons has averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists in four seasons. The three-time All-Star has also been named to the All-NBA third and the All-Defensive teams twice.
Following a rough playoff exit in Philadelphia, the 6’10 point guard/forward was traded to the Brooklyn Nets, where he sat out the remainder of the season due to personal reasons and back issues. Yet another lost year. The 25-year-old has a long career ahead of him as he looks to bounce back. Simmons comes in at number six.
7. Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons, 2021
Cade Cunningham was last year’s No.1 overall pick. In his rookie year, Cunningham averaged 17.4 points per game, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. Making this young Detroit Pistons team fun to watch, Cunningham has a lot to prove, but his future looks promising, as he has the potential to be an elite player in the league for years to come.
8. DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix Suns, 2018
DeAndre Ayton was the No.1 overall pick over the likes of Luka Doncic and Trae Young. While the big man has looked dominant at times with the Phoenix Suns, questions about his work ethic have come out of the Phoenix Suns organization. The Arizona man is a highlighted name heading into this offseason as eyes are on the Suns organization to see if they are willing to offer a max contract extension or will look to trade their former pick.
Ayton has averaged 16.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in four seasons. A key piece to a Phoenix team that made the NBA Finals in 2021 and finished with the best record in the NBA during the past season, Ayton lands at number eight on the list.
9. Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia 76ers, 2017
In college, Markelle Fultz looked to be the next big thing. The Philadelphia 76ers thought so, trading up to the No.1 overall pick in 2017 to select him. However, the former Washington Husky has battled injuries that restrained his shot and has tremendously affected Fultz on the court psyche and play.
Fultz was traded to the Orlando Magic in 2019, where he looked to be taking advantage of the fresh start. In 2021, Fultz tore his ACL against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Fultz has averaged 10.9 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.2 rebounds in five seasons. While Fultz will probably never reach his full potential, he could return to being a player who more closely remembers his former self.
10. Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers, 2013
Known as one of, if not the biggest draft bust in history, Anthony Bennett. Bennett started his career in 2013 with the Cleveland Cavaliers and was expected to be a future star coming out of UNLV. Bennett never showed anything close to that type of potential as his game never translated to the NBA. The Canadian import played for four teams in four seasons, averaging 4.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 0.5 assists. Bennett caps the list off at number ten.
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