Tonight is the NBA Draft. Who will go #1? Well, we already know that's going to be Ben Simmons.
Here's the real question: how does this draft class stack up against some of the greatest of all time? We've rank our Top 5 NBA Draft classes ever:
Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft. He was a player like no other and arguably the best point guard of all time. Magic went on to win a championship and became the NBA Finals MVP in his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Aside from Magic, Bill Cartwright was drafted and led the Chicago Bulls to three consecutive championships in 1991, 1992, and 1993. Four-time All-Star Bill Laimbeer was selected by the Detriot Pistons and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Mark Eaton was picked by the Phoenix Suns. Eaton then went on to break the record for most blocks in a season, which he still holds.
Several notable players were drafted this year, including Patrick Ewing, Xavier McDaniel, Chris Mullin, Detlef Schrempf, Charles Oakley, Karl Malone, Joe Dumars, and Terry Porter. The New York Knicks selected Patrick Ewing as the first overall pick. Ewing was an 11-time All-Star and was chosen as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Ewing was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice - once for his NBA career and once for his Olympic career.
Ewing, along with Malone and Mullin, were members of the Dream Team. Six-time All-Star Dumar won two championships and a finals MVP standing with the Detriot Pistons. McDaniel, Oakley, Porter, and Schrempf have also all been All-Stars during their careers.
Four future Hall of Fame players were selected in this draft: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. James has led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first ever championship. He also appeared in seven NBA finals and won four MVP titles. James is ranked third in all-time NBA players.
Carmelo won the 2013 NBA Scoring Title and Wade was named 2006 NBA Finals MVP. Wade also won the NBA All Star Game MVP in 2010. When Bosh left the Toronto Raptors, he was the all-time leader in points, rebounds, blocks, double doubles, free throws made and attempted, and minutes played.
This draft comprised of four significant players, one being the greatest player of all time: Michael Jordan. MJ was Rookie of the Year, a six-time champion, six-time Finals MVP, five-time league MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, 10-time scoring champion, and the list goes on. There's not much to say about MJ other than he simply was the best to ever play.
Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton were also drafted in '84. Olajuwon won two championships and was Finals MVP in both appearances. He is one of the best, perhaps even the greatest, post player in NBA history. Barkley was an 11-time All-Star, five-time All NBA first team, and MVP. Stockton is a 10-time All-Star as well as led the NBA in assists and steals.
Ultimately, the '96 draft class influenced the NBA most notably. More than one player from this class is regarded as being in the top 20 of all-time. Allen Iverson was selected first. He went on to become an 11-time All Star, MVP, and four-time scoring champion. He will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame later this summer.
Then there was Kobe Bryant. Bryant was five-time NBA champion with two Finals MVP, one league MVP, four All-Star game MVP, and the list goes on. Steve Nash developed into a two-time MVP, seven-time All-Star, and one of the best guards to ever play. ...two more future Hall of Famers...count 'em!
This class also included Ray Allen (another Hall of Fame lock), Marcus Camby, Peja Stojakovic, Jermaine O'Neal, Antoine Walker, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Stephon Marbury, and Shareef Abdur-Rahim. All of these players contributed to making the 1996 NBA Draft class the best in NBA history. This class has star power, depth, and championships. All of these factors--and those incredible 90s throwback uniforms--combined make this class the GOAT.