Who Really Deserved to go First Overall in Last 10 NBA Drafts?

June 20, 2019 - 10:54 am

There is always plenty of pressure for teams when it comes to draft night in the NBA. 

The right pick can set a franchise up for success for a long time while the wrong pick can disrupt a franchise's plans and set the organization back. The magnitude of those ramifications is only amplified when it comes to the No. 1 overall pick. 

For the 2019 draft, it seems like a no-brainer that Duke's Zion Williamson is the best talent in the draft. Of course, in five years from now it is possible we could be saying something else. RADIO.COM decided to re-draft the No. 1 pick from the last 10 NBA Drafts knowing what we know now:

2009
LA Clippers Select Blake Griffin
Redraft: Steph Curry

Griffin has had a fine career playing for the Clippers and now Detroit Pistons, but Curry has been a transcendent talent with the Golden State Warriors. He is a two-time MVP, three-time NBA Finals champion and is already third on the all-time 3-point shooting list and will be No. 1 once his career is over. 

2010
Washington Wizards Select John Wall
Redraft: Paul George

Wall is another player who has had a fine career as a five-time All-Star, but Paul George may have been the better choice. The six-time All-Star has missed the postseason just once in his career and has been a four-time All-Defensive Player and was named All-NBA five times, both honors Wall has received just once. 

2011
Cleveland Cavaliers Select Kyrie Irving
Redraft: Kawhi Leonard

Kyrie Irving has certainly had a great NBA career and is a potential Hall of Famer already, but after what Kawhi Leonard just did with the Toronto Raptors, it makes this redraft a bit more difficult. Irving has been injury-plagued his career but is still a six-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year and NBA champion. Leonard may only be a three-time All-Star, but he is a two-time NBA Finals MVP with two different teams, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and has one more All-NBA honor than Irving. 

2012
New Orleans Hornets Select Anthony Davis
Redraft: Anthony Davis

The Hornets, now the New Orleans Pelicans, got this one right. Davis has been one of the best players in the NBA since he was drafted and undoubtedly the best of his draft class. Damian Lillard, who was taken sixth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers, has also had a solid career but has not matched what Davis has done. 

2013
Cleveland Cavaliers Select Anthony Bennett
Redraft: Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Cavs would certainly like to do this one over. Anthony Bennett lasted just four years in the NBA with four different teams while Antetokounmpo is likely the MVP for the 2019 season. 

2014
Cleveland Cavaliers Select Andrew Wiggins
Redraft: Joel Embiid

Cleveland ultimately traded Wiggins to Minnesota for Kevin Love, so it sort of worked out for them. But Wiggins has never lived up to his potential and has yet to even make an All-Star team. While Embiid has battled injuries throughout his career, he has helped transform the Philadelphia 76ers into a playoff contender and is a two-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA and two-time All-Defensive Player. 

2015
Minnesota Timberwolves Select Karl-Anthony Towns
Redraft: Karl-Anthony Towns

D'Angelo Russell, Kristaps Porzingis and Devin Booker are all also solid players from this draft but none have matched Towns so far. Towns has been as advertised,  averaging a double-double of 22.3 points and 11.9 rebounds per game in his first four seasons, which include two All-Stars, a Rookie of the Year and All-NBA team honor. 

2016
Philadelphia 76ers Select Ben Simmons
Redraft: Ben Simmons

Sixers fans may disagree after Simmons' 2018-19 season, but as of now he is probably still the best option from the 2016 draft. There may be better pure shooters, such as Buddy Hield or Jamal Murray, but Simmons is averaging 16.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.9 assists per game. He is still the fourth-highest scorer from his draft class despite missing his entire rookie season.  

2017
Philadelphia 76ers Select Markelle Fultz
Redraft: Donovan Mitchell

Now this is one the Sixers definitely wish they could redraft. Fultz was stricken with the yips and has played just 33 games in two seasons. Donovan Mitchell, who was drafted 13th by Denver and traded to the Utah Jazz, has been the most impressive one in this draft class, averaging 22.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. 

2018
Phoenix Suns Select Deandre Ayton
Redraft: Luka Doncic

The first five picks of this draft were named to the NBA All-Rookie team, but Luka Doncic might be the best of the crop and frontrunner for this season's Rookie of the Year. The third overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and six assists which outperformed the rest of the rookie field.