Every NBA Team’s Best Draft Pick of All-Time: Eastern Conference Edition

Atlanta Hawks: Bob Pettit

The Hawks drafted Bob Pettit with the second overall pick in the 1954 NBA draft. Bob appeared in 11 All-Star games and won MVP of the league twice. He averaged 26.4 points, 16.2 rebounds and 3.0 rebounds per game. Two years later, the Hawks would draft a guy by the name of Bill Russell, who would have been their best player ever, however they traded Russell to the Celtics.

Boston Celtics: Larry Bird

The Boston Celtics drafted Larry Bird sixth overall in the 1978 NBA Draft. He averaged 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game. Bird was a 12 time All-Star and was the MVP of the league three years in a row. Bird also won three NBA championships with the Celtics.

Brooklyn Nets: Buck Williams

The Nets drafted Buck Williams with the third overall pick in the 1981 NBA Draft. Buck was the face of the Nets organization for nearly a decade as he recorded 7,576 total rebounds (Nets record) as well as leading the organization in games played with 635 games played and minutes played with 23,100 minutes.

Charlotte Hornets: Larry Johnson 

The Charlotte Hornets drafted Larry Johnson with the 1st overall pick in the 1991 NBA draft. Larry played in Charlotte for 5 seasons and made the All-Star team twice. Johnson is the only top overall pick in Hornet history. He led them to their best season in franchise history and averaged 19.6 points per game, 9.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists.

Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan  

The Chicago Bulls drafted Michael Jordan with the 3rd overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft. This one is easy. Jordan is the best player in NBA history. 6 Championships, 4 MVPs, 14 time All-Star, and led the league in scoring 10 times, as well as countless other accolades and statistics that prove his greatness. It’s hard to believe that 2 players were drafted before him, even if one was a hall of famer.  

Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James

The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted LeBron James with the 1st overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft.  LeBron is a 3 time NBA champion, 4 time MVP of the league and has made the NBA All-Star team the past 15 years in a row. His ability to come up in the clutch makes him so amazing to watch. He is a future Hall of Fame player and is in the discussion of the best basketball player ever behind Michael Jordan.

Detroit Pistons: Isiah Thomas

The Detroit Pistons drafted Isiah Thomas with the 2nd overall pick in the 1981 NBA draft. Thomas was a 12 time All-Star and led the Pistons to back to back Championships.

Indiana Pacers: Reggie Miller 

The Indiana Pacers selected Reggie Miller with the 11th overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft. Reggie was a 5 time All-Star and was the franchise’s leader in points, assists, steals, games, minutes, and field goal attempts.

Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade 

The Miami Heat drafted Dwayne Wade with the 3rd overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. He leads the organization in total points, assists, steals, offensive and defensive win shares, games, and minutes played. Wade is an 8-time All-NBA selection and 3-time NBA champion.

Milwaukee Bucks: Lew Alcindor 

The Bucks selected Lew Alcindor with the 1st overall pick in the 1969 NBA draft. Before he was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he was drafted by the Bucks, and also the Nets of the ABA. The Bucks outbid the Nets, and Alcindor would start for Milwaukee for 5 years- winning 3 MVPs, 2 scoring titles and a Championship. He was a strong force in the paint before being traded to the Lakers in 1975.

New York Knicks: Patrick Ewing

With the 1st overall pick in the 1985 NBA draft, the New York Knicks selected Patrick Ewing.  Ewing was selected to 11 All-Star games and is the Knicks all-time leader in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks. He also led them to the 1994 NBA Finals.

Orlando Magic: Shaquille O’Neal 

Shaq was drafted with the 1st overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft. Most of his awards came after his 4 year stint with the Magic, but while he was in Orlando, he took them to the finals, won a scoring title and made the All-Star team every year.   

Philadelphia 76ers: Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley was selected with the 5th overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft. He was selected to 6 All-Star games in his 9 years in Philadelphia, leading the league in rebounding in 1987. Charles was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Toronto Raptors: Chris Bosh 

The Toronto Raptors drafted Chris Bosh with the 4th overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. Other players like Tracy McGrady and Damon Stoudamire were great picks, but they did not contribute as much over the long term. Bosh was selected to 5 All-Star games while in Toronto, and led the Raptors to their first division title before he was traded to the Heat in 2010.

Washington Wizards: John Wall 

The Washington Wizards drafted John Wall with the 1st overall pick in the 2010 draft. John is a 5 time All-Star and is the leader of this great organization. He has a very bright future still to come.