For the Record
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  • Posted by:
    pwf
  • 01:37 PM ET  06.23

SI.com's Ian Thomsen pored over six decades of NBA draft selections to determine the best pick of all time in each of the top 30 slots. While going through the lists year by year, Thomsen was reminded just how difficult it is to find impact players -- even when dealing with a top-three pick. He also was forced to navigate the often-confusing history of territorial draft picks, which he decided he would not factor into the final list. So, without further ado, here is how the list played out.

 

1. Magic Johnson, Lakers, 1979
2. Bill Russell, Celtics, 1956
3. Michael Jordan, Bulls, 1984
4. Dave Cowens, Celtics, 1970
5. Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves, 1995
6. Larry Bird, Celtics, 1978
7. John Havlicek, Celtics, 1962
8. Sam Jones, Celtics, 1957
9. Dirk Nowitzki, Bucks, 1998
10. Paul Pierce, Celtics, 1998
11. Reggie Miller, Pacers, 1987
12. Julius Erving, Bucks, 1972
13. Kobe Bryant, Charlotte Hornets, 1996
14. Clyde Drexler, Trail Blazers, 1983
15. Steve Nash, Suns, 1996
16. John Stockton, Jazz, 1984
17. Shawn Kemp, Seattle SuperSonics, 1989
18. Joe Dumars, Pistons, 1985
19. Nate Archibald, Cincinnati Royals, 1970
20. Gus Williams, Warriors, 1975
21. Michael Finley, Suns, 1995
22. Reggie Lewis, Celtics, 1987
23. Alex English, 1976, Bucks
24. Sam Cassell, 1993, Rockets
25. Mark Price, 1986, Cavaliers
26. Vlade Divac, 1989, Lakers
27. Dennis Rodman, Pistons, 1986
28. Tony Parker, Spurs, 2001
29. Dennis Johnson, 1976, Seattle SuperSonics
30. Gilbert Arenas, 2001, Warriors

 

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