The night of the NBA Draft is one of the most exciting in all of basketball.
In just a few hours, a younger player’s life can completely change.
Additionally, the fate of entire teams and franchises can be radically altered – for good or for bad – depending on who they choose to sign and bring onto their roster.
There is a slew of incredible and horrible draft picks throughout NBA history.
Some number one picks have literally changed NBA history and others have quietly faded into obscurity.
Instead of focusing on the worst picks, it’s time to instead celebrate the best number one draft picks who are still playing to this day.
Some of the best guys in the league started their legendary careers on that magical night so many years ago.
3. Kyrie Irving
Say what you want about Kyrie Irving but you have to admit that he’s one of the best basketball players around.
The man has always been a clutch point guard, someone the rest of his team can rely on again and again.
It’s such a shame that his career is currently clouded by the controversy and mess around his COVID vaccination stance, not only because it takes him off the court but because it’s one of the first instances of him not being a true team player.
Irving was the number one pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011 and for a while that Cavs team was completely his.
I know it’s been a few years but I still wish Kryie Irving was still in Cleveland 😢pic.twitter.com/9yQV2ItH73
— David Wysong (@DavidWysong_) October 24, 2019
Of course, just a few years after, LeBron James returned to Cleveland and helped stepped them up to the next level.
But even in his early years, Irving was showing just how special he was.
He still is.
2. Karl-Anthony Towns
Yahoo once called Karl-Anthony Towns the “best player nobody talks about” and that feels very appropriate.
Since his selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, Towns has been working hard for his Minnesota Timberwolves and has quietly become one of the best two-way players in the entire league.
The two-time All-Star has created a career average of 23.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 3.1 assists.
Those are stellar numbers and certainly some of the best to come from any recent number one pick.
— Bally Sports North (@BallySportsNOR) February 3, 2022
The sad truth is that his middling Timberwolves team hasn’t been great for much fo Towns’ career – leading many people to not discuss the team or its star player.
However, the fate of the team has been turning around lately and they stand a chance to make a good postseason push this year.
Perhaps that will bring more attention to Towns and his fabulous career.
1. LeBron James
Have you ever heard of this guy before?
You all knew this was coming: not only is James the best number one draft pick who is still playing, he’s one of the best number one draft picks ever.
James’ career speaks for itself: 27.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.4 assists with a Rookie of the Year award, 4 MVPs, 4 Finals MVPs, and 4 championship rings with three different teams.
Not only has he racked up some of the most impressive stats in NBA history, he also changed the game and became one of the biggest stars on the planet.
When the Cavs selected James back in 2003, they knew he was going to be special.
But no one knew he would be this special.