The Best NBA Draft Classes of All Time

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The NBA draft is a yearly event whereby 30 NBA teams draft from a pool of eligible players to join the league from college. Picking at the top NBA of each draft class is essential, but so is choosing the right star players and understanding the team’s needs. The latter is never easy.

A few contenders have made it into the best NBA draft classes in history, examples being the Stockton’s class. More examples of the outstanding NBA draft classes are discussed below.

1985 NBA Draft Class

The 1985 NBA draft class makes it to the top list of the best draft classes we have in history. The top players of this class are Karl Malone, Joe Dumars, Patrick Ewing, Terry porter, Detlef Schrempf, Charles Oakley, and Chris Mullin.

In his glittering career, the legendary player Karl Malone scored 36,928 points and was selected number 13. On the other hand, Patrick Ewing was an all-star legend, albeit not winning a title. In his first thirteen seasons in the league, Ewing put leastwise 20 points in a game. The eight players drafted in 1985 pulled an impressive stunt by accumulating 86 win shares which was a good return on investment.

2003 NBA Draft Class

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Zaza Pachulia, Kirk Hinrich, Chris Bosh, Boris Diaw, and Kyle Korver are the top players to have played in two decades now from this class. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh linked back again in 2010 after being drafted the same night. 

The three players won two titles as one, and LeBron James has since scored many points in the history of the NBA. The 2003 draft might not be magnificent, but the top five picks of this draft gave it a buzz, the No. 1 pick being LeBron James, No. 4 pick Chris Bosh, No. 3 pick Anthony, and No .5 pick Dwyane Wade.

1950 NBA Draft Class

The top player of the 1950 draft class included Bob Cousy, Larry Foust, Paul Arizin, Bill Sharman, Chuck Share, and George Yardley. The 1950 draft produced four great Hall of Famers; Yardley, Arizin, Sharman, and Cousy. Sharman and Cousy did a commendable job by putting Celtics in a position to win 11 NBA titles from 1957 to 1969, making them one of the best duos in history. 

Paul Arizin, on the other hand, went to Philadelphia Warriors as the first overall pick.Boston took Chuck Share with their first pick of the draft. Chuck Share, however, never played for the Celtics since he was traded to the Pistons. Sharman was then brought on board and became one of the top picks of this class.

1998 NBA Draft Class

This draft class produced some of the best players in history. Four players from this draft class scored at least 20,000 between the NBA and ABA. The top players of the 1998 NBA draft class are Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Rashard Lewis, Antawn Jamison, Cuttino Mobley, and Mike Bibby.

Dirk Nowitzki is a star player with a chance of standing out as one of the Hall of Famers aside from Michael Jordan and LeBron. Dirk has scored most of the points (31,187) and takes No. 6 on the all-time list. Once he’s eligible, the rest will be history. Vince Carter and Paul Pierce are not to be left behind with (24,868 points) and (26,397 points) each, respectively. They are great players from this draft class that will soon be on the list of all-time hall Famers.

1970 NBA Draft Class

The 1970 draft class top picks have played ten seasons, accounted for 46.7 win shares, and scored at least 10,000 points plus. Among the top picks are Pete Maravich, Dave Cowens, Bob Lanier, Rudy Tomjanovich, and Sam Lacey.

Other players from this draft class include Dan Issel, Jim McMillian, and Tiny Archibald. Dan Issel dominated the league six years after signing with ABA’s Kentucky Colonels. Besides, Dan Issel takes up as the 23rd player on the all-time list and remains one of the seven hall Famers of the 1970 NBA draft class.

2009 NBA Draft Class

The 2009 NBA draft class produced the three most valuable players in the lead, Stephen Curry followed by James Harden. Those two players are in the top fifty all-time NBA list. Stephen Curry ranks 20th and James Harden 21st on the list.

1984 NBA Draft Class

Probably the best NBA draft class ever was 1984 class which introduced the one and only Michael Jordan. This class also included players like John Stockton, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Otis Thorpe, Sam Perking, Kevin Willis, Michael Cage, Jerome Kersey, and Alvin Robertson. 

The names above speak for themselves. Since the beginning of NBA league, only 20 players managed to accumulate at least 160 win shares. For of them, which is 20 percent, were drafted in the 1983 class; Jordan, Stockton, Barkley and Olajuwon. 


Truth be told, over the years, the NBA draft became so popular that people even place NBA draft bets on it. While that wasn’t the case before, today, it is possible to bet on every single player to get drafted in any round. It makes watching drafts more interesting and something to look forward to. 

While we look forward to new NBA drafts, the ones mentioned above are some of the best NBA Draft Classes of all time. The draft classes have produced some prominent and star players, including today’s stars LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and James Harden, among others.

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