Let’s take a look at the number one picks over the last 13 years and see how they turned out.
2000: Kenyon Martin: has been a solid NBA player over his career, and was a key player during the New Jersey Nets Eastern Conference dominance in the early 00’. Martin has two finals appearances and one all star game appearance. He has had a respectable career, but it was not exactly what you would expect when you draft a number one pick.
01’: Kwame Brown: is right up there with Sam Bowie as one of the worst lottery picks of all-time. Brown is already on his 7th team in the last 10 years, and never really got any traction in the NBA. He was considered a bust by his 3rd year in the league.
02’: Yao Ming: was a solid player during his seven years in the league. Yao was hampered with foot injuries from the second he entered in the NBA, but was a global icon that helped to spread the game over seas. Yao averaged 19 points and 9 rebounds per game and could have been an all-time great if he stayed healthy.
03’: Lebron James: just won his first NBA title and has been the best player in the league for the past few years. Lebron will probably end up a top 10 player of all-time and has a chance, depending on how the next few years turn out, to be the greatest player of all time.
04’: Dwight Howard: is an all-star and the best defensive player in the league. He led his team to an NBA finals appearance and, despite all of his negative press as of late, has more than lived up to the expectations of a number one pick.
05’: Andrew Bogut/06’ Andrea Bargnani: both of these guys are in the same boat in my opinion. They are solid NBA players that will never be stars, but could contribute as the 3rd or 4th best player on a contender. I don’t believe that they have or ever will live up to the number one over all pick status, but are by no means ‘busts’ either.
07’: Greg Oden: is definitely a bust as a number one pick and at this point may never even play again. The sad thing about Oden’s situation was that he could have been great but never got the chance.
08’: Derrick Rose/09’ Blake Griffin: Here are two guys that are on a similar path as number one picks. Both are franchise changing superstar that will become the face of the league over the next 10 years if they can stay healthy. Both also play with a reckless abandon, and are forces of nature around the paint. While not every player can live up to the Lebron/Duncan number one pick hype, Rose and Griffin are doing more than a franchise could ask for from a number one pick.
10’: John Wall: has been disappointing as a player so far, but it’s early in his career. He will probably never be Derrick Rose like many people predicted he would be, but Wall could be a solid point guard for years to come. So the jury is still out on his status as a number one pick.
11’: Kryie Irving: had a sensational rookie year. Its still early in his career and anything can happen, but I expect him to be in the best point guard conversation for years to come. Kryie cannot make up for the fact that Lebron left Cleveland, but if the Cavs don’t start winning then it’s on their management and owner, because any team would be lucky to have drafted two great prospects within 10 years of each other.