Being the number 1 pick in the NBA draft is a huge deal. Being picked at that top spot brings huge pressure and gigantic expectations from a young guy who’s putting on a professional jersey for the first time.
We’ve all seen the gigantic flops and busts that never panned out after being the number one pick in the draft. But we’re going to look at things from a different angle, we’re going to look at what players were the best number one picks. The players who changed the team they went to. Players that immediately made their teams championship contenders, with the ability to lead their team to wins. The key metrics we’ll review and use in the top 5 players will be championships, team success, along with some big personal accomplishments.
5. LeBron James;
LeBron busted on to the scene back in 2003 when he came right out of high school and went to the NBA. He came out with enormous expectations with the high-pressured title of “The Chosen One.” In his 20 career he has won 4 championships, and chalked up 4 MVPs. The career 27ppg scorer has won 55 or more games on his team on 5 occasions and has made the all NBA team 18 times. Whether or not, he is liked by you or if he is your favorite player – James has been great, with great talent with the ball and an amazing overall game and Vegas favorite.
4. Shaquille O’Neal;
When she came out of LSU back in 1992, he came in and looked like a monster in the paint who was unstoppable. He lived up to that monstrous reputation, scoring 24 a game for his career, winning 4 championships, grabbing an MVP award, and winning 55 or more games 11 times. Not to mention, being named to the all NBA team on 14 occasions. He was highly sought after – when Orlando picked him they immediately were looked at completely differently, going from 21 wins to 41 upon his arrival.
3. Magic Johnson;
The Magic Man came out of Michigan State back in 1979 after winning the national title in college. The only thing that matched his big smile was his incredible overall game and leadership. The 3-time MVP of the league won 5 championships with the LA Lakers, he also was a 10-time All NBA player. And 10 times his team won 55 or more games. Magic was more than just a great pick for Los Angeles as the 1st pick back in ’79 he was the beginning of a new beginning for the NBA.
2. Tim Duncan;
The big fundamental – a lot of people didn’t pay attention to him for some reason. Because he didn’t have the flash, he didn’t wear the bling, he didn’t talk a lot of trash, all he did was win 5 championships, won the MVP 2 times, led the Spurs to 55 wins on 14 occasions over 19 seasons, and made the all NBA team 15 times. Duncan scored 19 /game over his incredible career including 9 seasons scoring 20 or more along with grabbing 10 boards. He made the Spurs a better team the second he hit the court.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar;
Kareem truly was not only one of the greatest players ever to play the game, but was hands down the best number one pick of all time. Leading his teams to 6 championships. The 6x MVP was a 15x All NBA player with a career average of 25 ppg. He also brought his teams to 55+ win seasons 13 times in his amazing career. Kareem was steady and an extremely efficient scorer throughout his 20 years playing the game, with 17 seasons putting up 21 or more pts/game.