Ranking Active NBA #1 Draft Picks

In the NBA, there are 12 active players who were picked first overall in the draft.

Among those 12 players:

  • 2 drafted by 76ers, 3 draffted by Cavs
  • 5 played for John Calipari in college (4 Kentucky, 1 Memphis)
  • 7 of the 12 are still playing with the team that drafted them

Speaking of the draft, what if players could not be traded or sign with another team after their contract expires? What would those nostalgic rosters look like? 

Here is a ranking of those 12 players:

13. Markelle Fultz

Considered by almost everyone to be the consensus #1 pick in the 2017 draft, Fultz has played a total of 33 games (14 as a rookie). He has battled various issues, whether they are mental or physical ailments, Fultz has had a difficult start.

12. Anthony Bennett/Greg Oden/Andrea Bargnani/Kwame Brown/Michael Olowokandi

If any of these guys were still active, they would be listed higher than Fultz. All of these men are strongly considered major busts and disappointments.

11. DeAndre Ayton

Ayton was the most recent #1 pick and the Suns are no better now than they were last year. This team is bad but Ayton has done his part and is averaging a double-double (16 ppg, 10 rpg). It’s too early to tell how good or impactful he can really be, but he has a chance to jump over a few people on this list in the future.

10. Dwight Howard

Howard has had a terrific 15 year career, one that seems to be winding down. He is out for the rest of this season due to a back injury and his Wizards career is likely to last just 9 games total. He has been on 4 teams in the last 4 years. For his career, Howard has averaged 17 ppg, 12 rpg.

9. Andrew Wiggins

Wiggins has had an up-and-down career. He was drafted by the Cavs in 2014 and seemed destined to play with Lebron James and Kyrie Irving, but was traded months after the draft to the Timberwolves in a package for Kevin Love. The Wolves gave him a max contract before last season and also acquired Jimmy Butler, with whom Wiggins did not get along with. Now in his fifth season, Wiggins is averaging a career low 15.8 ppg and shooting less than 40% for the first time (39.2&).

8. John Wall

Wall has blazing speed but that might be his best quality in 2018. He has grown into more of a selfish player, rather than all-around player. His 2018 assist numbers are his lowest since his second season in in 2011-12. The Wizards have struggled this year and a big part of that has been attributed to the attitude and play of Wall, who is owed $170 million over the next four years.

7. Karl Anthony Towns

Towns has been consistent throughout his career, since being the first pick in the 2015 draft. He is averaging 21 points and 12 rebounds per game for his career, to date.

6. Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin has been reborn in Detroit! After spending the first 7+ seasons of his career with the Clippers, he was traded to the Pistons mid way through last year. Now in his first full season in Detroit, Griffin is averaging a career best 25 ppg and 9.3 rpg, which is his highest rebounding total since the 2013-14 season.

5. Derrick Rose

(stands and applauds). After the 2016 season, Rose’s one and only with the NY Knicks, he looked washed, and it looked like his career was just about over. He spent 16 games with the Cavs in 2017 and finished the year with the Timerwolves. Now, still with the Wolves, Rose is healthy and rejuvenated. His 18.3 scoring average is the highest of his career since 2011-12 season. Playing just under 30 minutes per game, Rose has become the frontrunner for the NBA’s 6th Man of the Year Award.

4. Ben Simmons

Simmons is in just his second full season (three years removed from college) but has already showed star power. In 2018, he is averaging nearly a triple-double at 15.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 7.9 apg. He is a core piece of “The Process” and a big building block for the Sixers moving forward. Simmons is the favorite for the 2019 Rookie of the Year Award and would be the first player to ever win it multiple times.

3. Kyrie Irving

Amazing to think Irving and Lebron James played on the same team for three years. They won the NBA title together in 2016. Two years later, Irving asked out and the Cavs got next-to-nothing in return. They got 15 games out of Isaiah Thomas and Collin Sexton who is averaging just over 15 points per game through his first 26 games.

2. Anthony Davis

Davis is now in his 7th season and performing at an MVP-elite level. He is currently averaging 28 ppg, 12.5 rpg and 2.5 blocks per game. Pelicans really need to get him better support or he could find himself in a larger market in a few years when his contract is up.

1 Lebron James

Duh. In his 16th year and still in his prime. Lebron is one of those players who was told by everyone that he was the greatest in the world at age 13. He has not only lived up to the hype, but exceeded it.

For more NBA talk, you can follow me on twitter @msschneid or instagram @mikedropsports 

Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.

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