NBA Draft

Top 5 Value Picks in NBA Draft History

Niala Samnarine

By Niala Samnarine

December 17, 2013

Let’s face it when people get ready to watch the NBA Draft they’re looking to see who’s going to land at Number 1. Fans and teams alike are looking for the next Elgin Baylors, Hakeem Olajuwans, Shaquille O’Neals and LeBron James’.

However, there’s a lot still on the line for the rest of the draft. After the top player (s) are taken that’s when the real draft begins! For teams and management, it’s about finding the diamonds in the rough, the late pick, high value draftees. That said, I decided to look at NBA Drafts of the past and see where teams were able to get the most bang for their metaphoric-draft-buck.

The Criteria

Typically, these lists are the best players, dunks, performances, most points, etc. Something that’s typically easily measurable. However, with this particular list I decided to use my judgment and base it on player’s accolades, including personal accomplishments and how they influenced their teams. So without further ado..

Top 5 Value Picks in NBA Draft History (in no particular order):

1. Reggie Miller: Selected #11 overall

Accolades: NBA Hall of Fame, 5x NBA All-Star, 3x All NBA third team
Why he made our list: Although he was unable to bring an NBA Championship to the Indiana Pacers, he led them to the playoffs and finals several times, and his skills as a shooter were so amazing that he stills holds many Pacers’ team records and ranks high in 3-point shooting lists to this day.

2. Clyde Drexler: Selected #14 overall

Accolades: NBA Hall of Fame, 10x NBA All-Star, NBA Champion, 5x All NBA
Why he made our list: While he wasn’t in an NBA Draft class devoid of talented players, at #14 the Portland Trail Blazers really got a steal. Drexler still holds multiple records to this day including the highest free-throw percentage at an NBA All-Star Game, the most steals in a second half, the most offensive rebounds by a guard and more. Oh, he also won an Olympic gold medal.

3. Tony Parker: Selected #28 overall

Accolades: 5x NBA All-Star, 3x Champion, Final MVP, 3x All NBA
Why he made our list: The Spurs are no strangers to finding value later in the draft. They were able to take a late first round pick, improve his shooting, utilize his speed in the fast-break and make him a major part of a multi-championship winning team.

4. Manu Ginobli: Selected #52 overall

Accolades: 2x NBA All-Star, 3x Champion, 2x All NBA, Sixth Man of the Year, 2003 All-Rookie
Why he made our list: The ultimate value pick, Ginobli was selected in the 2nd round of the 1999 draft and immediately made an impact. He was selected to the All-Rookie team in 2003 after his first year with the Spurs, and is an integral part of the Spurs offense, spurring them (pun intended!) to three championship rings.

5. Karl Malone: Selected #13 overall

Accolades: Basketball Hall of Fame, 2x MVP, 14x NBA All-Star, 14x All-NBA, 4x NBA All-Defense, 1986 All-Rookie
Why he made our list: Considered one of the greatest power forwards to ever play the sport, Malone makes our list as he managed to slide all the way to 13th before being selected by the Utah Jazz. This 2-time MVP definitely played like a #1 NBA Draft pick and I consider him a huge draft steal.

Honorable Mentions:

Michael Jordan: Selected #3 overall

Accolades: Basketball Hall of Fame, 5x MVP, 6x Champion, 6x Finals MVP, 14x NBA All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year, 11x All-NBA, 9x All-Defense, 1985 Rookie of the Year, 1985 All-Rookie
Why he made our list: Chosen 1 and 2: Hakeem Olajuwon (fair enough), Sam Bowie, we would probably be talking about Jordan and the Blazers instead of Jordan and the Bulls. Arguably the best basketball player in the history of the sport, he was selected 3rd overall, if that’s not a value pick then we’re not sure what is.

Kobe Bryant: Selected #13 overall

Accolades: NBA MVP, 5x NBA Champion, 2x Finals MVP, 15x NBA All-Star, 15x All-NBA, 12x NBA All-Defense, 1997 All-Rookie
Why he made our list: One of the youngest players to enter the NBA, Bryant’s accomplishments both individually and on the Lakers seem almost endless. He was not only selected at the 13th position, but traded away.

See the Value Picks of the Future

We’re already well into the season and seeing how last year’s top draft picks are performing. It’s never too early to start planning your trip to see the NBA’s future stars at the most important day of their life: the 2014 NBA Draft.

Do you agree with my list? Who do you think is the top NBA Draft value pick of all time? Share in the comments below!


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