June 17, 1971

ultimate draft

The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics own the second and third picks in Thursday’s NBA draft. They are also the two franchises who have enjoyed the most success in the draft.

The Celtics have drafted Bill Russell (second), Bob Cousy, Kevin McHale and Chauncey Billups (third), Dave Cowens (fourth), Larry Bird (sixth), John Havlicek (seventh), Sam Jones (eighth), Paul Pierce and Paul Westphal (10th) and Danny Ainge (31st) in their storied history. Among the Lakers best selections: Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson and James Worthy (first), Jerry West (second), Eddie Jones (10th), Vlade Divac (26th), Archie Clark (37th) and Marc Gasol (48th).

Some of those players appear on this Ultimate NBA Draft — the best players ever selected at each draft position.

In the hypothetical first round (1-30), the Celtics and Lakers each had two picks. The Celtics selected Bird and Pierce, while the Lakers drafted West and Divac and acquired Kobe Bryant (13th) in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets.

The Phoenix Suns had three selections, but they traded two of them to the Dallas Mavericks after just two seasons: Steve Nash (15th) and Michael Finley (21st). They kept Larry Nance (20th) for six-plus seasons.

The savvy Detroit Pistons drafted two small college players — Joe Dumars of McNeese State (18th) and Dennis Rodman of Southeastern Oklahoma State (27th) — who helped them win two championships.

In fact, players from small colleges and mid-major schools dominated the Ultimate NBA Draft, because they are often unknown and undervalued. While traditional powers like North Carolina, UCLA and Indiana produced just one player apiece, the rest of the draft included future All-Stars from Indiana State, Davidson, Grambling, Bradley, Santa Clara, Gonzaga, UTEP, Pepperdine and Detroit Mercy.

There were also four international players selected and three players who entered the draft straight out of high school.

With the first pick in the Ultimate NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select …

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tzrMJVqejw[/video]



1. LeBRON JAMES | Cleveland Cavaliers

Year | 2003

School | Saint Vincent-Saint Mary (Akron, Ohio)

Win shares | 205

All-Star selections | 13

All-NBA selections | 13

MVP awards | 4

Honorable mention | Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1969), Tim Duncan (1997), Magic Johnson (1979), Oscar Robertson (1960), Shaquille O’Neal (1992), Hakeem Olajuwon (1984), David Robinson (1987), Patrick Ewing (1985), Elgin Baylor (1958), Elvin Hayes (1958), Elvin Hayes (1968), Dwight Howard (2004), Allen Iverson (1996), Bob Lanier (1970), Yao Ming (2002)

2. JERRY WEST | Los Angeles Lakers

Year | 1960

School | West Virginia

Win shares | 163

All-Star selections | 14

All-NBA selections | 12

Honorable mention | Bill Russell (1956), Bob Pettit (1954), Kevin Durant (2007), Gary Payton (1990), Jason Kidd (1994), Isiah Thomas (1981), Rick Barry (1965)

3. MICHAEL JORDAN | Chicago Bulls

Year | 1984

School | North Carolina

Win shares | 214

All-Star selections | 14

All-NBA selections | 11

MVP awards | 5

Honorable mention | Bob Cousy (1950), Dominique Wilkins (1982), Carmelo Anthony (2003), Pau Gasol (2001), Grant Hill (1994), James Harden (2009), Kevin McHale (1980), Chauncey Billups (1997)

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B9obsY_Yg8[/video]



4. CHRIS PAUL | New Orleans Hornets

Year | 2005

School | Wake Forest

Win shares | 155

All-Star selections | 9

All-NBA selections | 8

Honorable mention | Dolph Schayes (1948), Russell Westbrook (2008), Chris Bosh (2003), Dikembe Mutombo (1991), Dave Cowens (1970)

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_TwqdMNyfw[/video]



5. KEVIN GARNETT | Minnesota Timberwolves

Year | 1995

School | Farragut Career Academy (Chicago)

Win shares | 191

All-Star selections | 15

All-NBA selections | 9

MVP awards | 1

Honorable mention | Charles Barkley (1984), Dwyane Wade (2003), Walt Frazier (1967), Scottie Pippen (1987), Ray Allen (1996), Vince Carter (1998), Sidney Moncrief (1979)

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sQn4A8sCvM[/video]



6. LARRY BIRD | Boston Celtics

Year | 1978

School | Indiana State

Win shares | 146

All-Star selections | 12

All-NBA selections | 10

MVP awards | 3

Honorable mention | Adrian Dantley (1976), Lenny Wilkens (1960)

7. STEPHEN CURRY | Golden State Warriors

Year | 2009

School | Davidson

Win shares | 84

All-Star selections | 4

All-NBA selections | 4

MVP awards | 2

Honorable mention | John Havlicek (1962), Chris Mullin (1985), Kevin Johnson (1987)

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwOIfsuOZG8[/video]



8. WILLIS REED | New York Knicks

Year | 1964

School | Grambling

Win shares | 75

All-Star selections | 7

All-NBA selections | 5

MVP awards | 1

Honorable mention | Robert Parish (1976), Sam Jones (1957), Jack Sikma (1977)

9. DIRK NOWITZKI | Milwaukee Bucks (traded to the Dallas Mavericks)

Year | 1998

School | Rontgen Gymnasium (Wurzburg, Germany)

Win shares | 201

All-Star selections | 13

All-NBA selections | 12

MVP awards | 1

Honorable mention | Tracy McGrady (1997), Amare Stoudemire (2002), Shawn Marion (1999), Jo Jo White (1969)

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahRPd3sq03Q[/video]



10. PAUL PIERCE | Boston Celtics

Year | 1998

School | Kansas

Win shares | 150

All-Star selections | 10

All-NBA selections | 4

Honorable mention | Paul Westphal (1972), Joe Johnson (2001), Eddie Jones (1994)

11. REGGIE MILLER | Indiana Pacers

Year | 1987

School | UCLA

Win shares | 174

All-Star selections | 5

All-NBA selections | 3

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuLTGsmnpZY[/video]



12. CHET WALKER | Syracuse Nationals

Year | 1962

School | Bradley

Win shares | 117

All-Star selections | 7

All-NBA selections | 0

13. KOBE BRYANT | Charlotte Hornets (traded to the Los Angeles Lakers)

Year | 1996

School | Lower Merion (Ardmore, Pa.)

Win shares | 173

All-Star selections | 18

All-NBA selections | 15

MVP awards | 1

Honorable mention | Karl Malone (1985), Hal Greer (1958)

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v2aJdD_L3M[/video]



14. CLYDE DREXLER | Portland Trail Blazers

Year | 1983

School | Houston

Win shares | 136

All-Star selections | 10

All-NBA selections | 5

Honorable mention | Tim Hardaway (1989)

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDFKSTl8Aqg[/video]



15. STEVE NASH | Phoenix Suns

Year | 1996

School | Santa Clara

Win shares | 130

All-Star selections | 8

All-NBA selections | 7

MVP awards | 2

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UH__r3Llpk[/video]



16. JOHN STOCKTON | Utah Jazz

Year | 1984

School | Gonzaga

Win shares | 208

All-Star selections | 10

All-NBA selections | 11

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9usmAWArw-k[/video]



17. SHAWN KEMP | Seattle SuperSonics

Year | 1989

School | Trinity Valley Community College (Athens, Texas)

Win shares | 90

All-Star selections | 6

All-NBA selections | 3

18. JOE DUMARS | Detroit Pistons

Year | 1985

School | McNeese State

Win shares | 86

All-Star selections | 6

All-NBA selections | 3

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CLrYrmYKqI[/video]



19. TINY ARCHIBALD | Cincinnati Royals

Year | 1970

School | UTEP

Win shares | 83

All-Star selections | 6

All-NBA selections | 5

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YM1ogAv2l8[/video]



20. LARRY NANCE | Phoenix Suns

Year | 1981

School | Clemson

Win shares | 110

All-Star selections | 3

All-NBA selections | 0

21. MICHAEL FINLEY | Phoenix Suns

Year | 1995

School | Wisconsin

Win shares | 85

All-Star selections | 2

All-NBA selections | 0

22. GEORGE McGINNIS | Philadelphia 76ers

Year | 1973

School | Indiana

Win shares | 36

All-Star selections | 3

All-NBA selections | 2

23. ALEX ENGLISH | Milwaukee Bucks

Year | 1976

School | South Carolina

Win shares | 101

All-Star selections | 8

All-NBA selections | 3

24. SAM CASSELL | Houston Rockets

Year | 1993

School | Florida State

Win shares | 87

All-Star selections | 1

All-NBA selections | 1

25. MARK PRICE | Dallas Mavericks (traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers)

Year | 1986

School | Georgia Tech

Win shares | 71

All-Star selections | 4

All-NBA selections | 4

26. VLADE DIVAC | Los Angeles Lakers

Year | 1989

School | Belgrade (Serbia)

Win shares | 96

All-Star selections | 1

All-NBA selections | 0

27. DENNIS RODMAN | Detroit Pistons

Year | 1986

School | Southeastern Oklahoma State

Win shares | 90

All-Star selections | 2

All-NBA selections | 2

28. TONY PARKER | San Antonio Spurs

Year | 2001

Win shares | 109

All-Star selections | 6

All-NBA selections | 4

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK6bQeufJgk[/video]



29. DENNIS JOHNSON | Seattle SuperSonics

Year | 1976

School | Pepperdine

Win shares | 83

All-Star selections | 5

All-NBA selections | 2

30. SPENCER HAYWOOD | Buffalo Braves

Year | 1971

School | Detroit Mercy

Win shares | 61

All-Star selections | 5

All-NBA selections | 4

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC_3mmmzEDk[/video]



31. DANNY AINGE | Boston Celtics (1981)

32. RASHARD LEWIS | Seattle SuperSonics (1998)

33. BOB LOVE | Cincinnati Royals (1965)

34. CARLOS BOOZER | Cleveland Cavaliers (2002)

35. DRAYMOND GREEN | Golden State Warriors (2012)

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIy3Bd6eI4U[/video]



36. MAURICE CHEEKS | Philadelphia 76ers (1978)

37. ARCHIE CLARK | Los Angeles Lakers (1966)

38. CHANDLER PARSONS | Houston Rockets (2011)

39. KHRIS MIDDLETON | Detroit Pistons (2012)

40. GEORGE GERVIN | Phoenix Suns (1974)

41. NIKOLA JOKIC | Denver Nuggets (2014)

42. STEPHEN JACKSON | Phoenix Suns (1997)

43. MICHAEL REDD | Milwaukee Bucks (2000)

45. BOBBY DANDRIDGE | Milwaukee Bucks (1969)

46. JEFF HORNACEK | Phoenix Suns (1986)

47. PAUL MILSAP | Utah Jazz (2006)

48. MARC GASOL | Los Angeles Lakers (2007)

50. STEVE KERR | Phoenix Suns (1988)

51. KYLE KORVER | New Jersey Nets (2003)

53. ANTHONY MASON | Portland Trail Blazers (1988)

54. SAM MITCHELL | Houston Rockets (1985)

55. LUIS SCOLA | San Antonio Spurs (2002)

56. MICKEY JOHNSON | Portland Trail Blazers (1974)

57. MANU GINOBILI | San Antonio Spurs (1999)

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ln1VDqRZvSg[/video]



58. KURT RAMBIS | New York Knicks (1980)

60. ISAIAH THOMAS | Sacramento Kings (2011)

61. STEVE MIX | Detroit Pistons (1969)

64. GERALD HENDERSON | San Antonio Spurs (1978)

65. BILL LAIMBEER | Cleveland Cavaliers (1979)

66. MICHAEL ADAMS | Sacramento Kings (1979)

67. JIM FOX | Cincinnati Royals (1965)

72. MARK EATON | Utah Jazz (1982)

73. JAMES DONALDSON | Seattle SuperSonics (1979)

76. M.L. CARR | Kansas City-Omaha (1973)

87. SPUD WEBB | Detroit Pistons (1985)

92. KEVIN LOUGHERY | New York Knicks (1961)

104. RANDY SMITH | Buffalo Braves (1971)

127. SARUNAS MARCIULIONIS | Golden State Warriors (1987)

128. MIKE RIORDAN | New York Knicks (1967)

160. MARIO ELIE | Milwaukee Bucks (1985)

A few all-time greats are not on this list. Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Arizin, Jerry Lucas and others were territorial selections and not considered part of the traditional draft.

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