There’s a definitive answer every year to the question of who is No. 1 in the NBA draft.
But who is the No. 1 pick of all No. 1 draft picks ever? Or No. 1 among the list of No. 2 draft picks? Those are questions that have no definitive answer Tevin Coleman Jersey , except perhaps in a handful of rare cases.
Here’s a look at The Best of The Best – the top all-time NBA picks in each of the top 30 draft spots. The best No. 1 overall pick, the best No. 2 overall pick … and so on.
One note: This doesn’t include the territorial selections that were used through 1965, which ruled out Wilt Chamberlain.
The list of top picks in each of the 30 draft slots:
1. KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR
Arguments for the best-ever overall pick could and should be made for LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson, among others. When in doubt, give it to the man who has more points than anyone who ever played the game and who mastered perhaps the most difficult shot to guard in NBA history.
2. BILL RUSSELL
You didn’t know Bill Russell was a No. 2 overall pick? Jerry West was too, and he’s The Logo for goodness sake, but the 11 rings make Russell the call here. Also, it’s time to lay off Portland. Sam Bowie wasn’t the biggest ”oops” pick of all time. Si Green was picked before Russell in 1956.
3. MICHAEL JORDAN
The easiest pick of them all. Except for Portland in 1984, when the Trail Blazers took Bowie No. 2 ahead of MJ. OK, now it’s really time to lay off Portland.
4. CHRIS PAUL
Dikembe Mutombo, Chris Bosh and Russell Westbrook were all No. 4s as well, but Paul’s body of work over 13 seasons and counting can’t be overlooked.
5. DWYANE WADE
Charles Barkley will think this pick is terrible. So will fellow No. 5s Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Scottie Pippen and Vince Carter. Wade’s scoring wins out.
6. LARRY BIRD
Second-easiest pick of this process. Only Adrian Dantley comes close, and he absolutely doesn’t come close.
7. STEPHEN CURRY
He will be the leader in 3-pointers, by a ton, when his career is over. Fellow No. 7s John Havlicek and Chris Mullin merit consideration, but why wait?
8. ROBERT PARISH
As time goes on Kenny Stills Jersey , people might forget how vital The Chief was to those Celtics teams of the 1980s. That shouldn’t happen.
9. DIRK NOWITZKI
Jordan was the only true candidate at No. 3, Bird was the same at No. 6, and Nowitzki stands alone at No. 9 as well.
10. PAUL PIERCE
Pierce and Nowitzki have haunted those who made the decisions at the top of the 1998 draft – where Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby and Raef LaFrentz went 1-2-3 – for 20 years and counting.
11. REGGIE MILLER
Kiki VanDeWeghe was a No. 11 pick and so was Klay Thompson, but Miller is the deserving call here. His shot was art.
12. JULIUS ERVING
Drafted in 1972 and didn’t come to the NBA until 1976, Doctor J ekes out the pick here over Chet Walker – a seven-time All-Star.
13. KOBE BRYANT
This could easily have been Karl Malone. But Kobe has five rings and an Oscar.
14. CLYDE DREXLER
The Glide was automatic for 20 points a night for basically his entire career. Apologies to Tim Hardaway.
15. STEVE NASH
Someday, this spot might go to Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kawhi Leonard. But Steve Nash going this low in 1996 should remind everyone how good that draft was.
16. JOHN STOCKTON
This is yet another reminder that Sam Bowie wasn’t the only mistake made in 1984.
17. DON NELSON
This was a difficult group, and Shawn Kemp was probably the better player. Nellie gets the call on total body of NBA work.
18. JOE DUMARS
There are some really good players at No. 18, including Calvin Murphy and the vastly underrated Ricky Pierce. Dumars’ role on the Bad Boys was invaluable.
19. TINY ARCHIBALD
When looking at No. 19 picks, two things stand out: Rod Strickland should have been an All-Star, and that Tiny was better than many remember.
20. LARRY NANCE
So consistent for so long, and now with his son in the league that means more people will get educated about Sr.’s game.
21. RAJON RONDO
Michael Finley and Ricky Davis also went this far down in the draft. Rondo was an absolute steal in 2006 – except he wasn’t a steal for Phoenix, which drafted him and then traded him to Boston for cash.
22. REGGIE LEWIS
Still sad. Still missed.
23. ALEX ENGLISH
Tayshaun Prince was so good and World B. Free was as much fun as anyone, but English had about a 10-year run where he hardly ever missed a game and dropped about 25 every time he was out there.
24. ARVYDAS SABONIS
Officially, the hardest of all 30 picks. Don’t just look at his NBA numbers. Look at his whole career. He did things no big man was doing 20 years ago. Terry Porter, Andrei Kirilenko, Kyle Lowry, Sam Cassell, Derek Fisher, Latrell Sprewell all went No. 24 as well … good luck to whoever No. 24 is this year. There’s a legacy to follow.
25. MARK PRICE
Jeff Ruland was known as ”McFilthy” and became a good college coach Marcus Cannon Jersey , Tony Allen was a true defensive star, but Price’s game is too solid to miss here.
26. VLADE DIVAC
Now running the Sacramento Kings, Divac gets to pick No. 2 in this year’s draft. The guy he takes there would be well-served to learn from Vlade.
27. DENNIS RODMAN
Before he became a political operative, Rodman was as good at rebounding and defense as anyone in the game.
28. TONY PARKER
Teddy Bridgewater can’t help but smile these days.
Even through the sweat and exhaustion that mark the blazing hot days of training camp, the New York Jets quarterback still appreciates the little things about being a professional football player.
Because he almost wasn’t anymore.
“I get excited every day I get to get my ankles taped, lace my cleats up and run out of the locker room and practice because it was taken away from me for two years,” Bridgewater said after a recent practice.
“To be able to just wake up and know you have the opportunity to continue to do something that you love doing, it’s a great feeling.”
Bridgewater has the type of perspective few players ever get, or want to get, for that matter. He was able to come back from the type of injury that would end most playing careers.
But when the Jets open their preseason schedule Friday night against the Atlanta Falcons, Bridgewater will step on the field — and probably smile some more.
And then, he’ll get under center for what will likely be his most extensive game action in almost two years.
“Right now, I am doing everything I dreamed of doing and that is waking up and continuing to play football,” Bridgewater said. “It’s a wonderful feeling. It gives me the chills right now just thinking about it, knowing how the previous two years were. But you take advantage of this opportunity. I look forward to every day.
“Some people may say, ‘This is training camp. This is the grind of things, and I can’t wait to get to the regular season, things will be easier,” but I look forward to it. You embrace the grind because it was once taken from you.”
On Aug. 30, 2016 Eddie Vanderdoes Jersey , the former Louisville star was practicing with the Minnesota Vikings when he went down with a non-contact injury. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and dislocated the knee joint, and it is believed that only quick work by the team training staff and doctors saved Bridgewater’s leg.
Playing football again didn’t seem likely, given the severity of the injury. But Bridgewater never gave up believing in a big-time comeback.
“Never, never,” he said. “I had nothing but positive thoughts. I didn’t allow any negativity to even creep into my circle. I knew that if I’m negative, I’m going to have those negative thoughts and it may hinder my progress.”
So, Bridgewater approached his recovery and arduous rehabilitation with the same type of determination.
He learned to move his leg again. And walk. Then, jog. And, now, run.
Bridgewater gradually regained strength in his knee and trusted that it would hold up when he dropped back to throw a pass.
On Dec. 17, 2017 — nearly 16 months after he went down in a heap of pain and uncertainty — Bridgewater walked onto the field at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis in the fourth quarter against Cincinnati. The fans gave him a standing ovation, and he went on to throw two passes in the Vikings’ 34-7 win, including one that was intercepted.
The stats didn’t matter. He had made it back.
Just as he always believed.
“I definitely feel like I’m good,” Bridgewater said of his health. “I’ve been working with the training staff here and we’ve been hitting it hard, and I’m excited. I’m looking forward to these upcoming preseason games and just getting out there and having fun playing football again.”
The Vikings moved on from Bridgewater during the offseason and allowed him to become a free agent. The Jets, with uncertainty at the quarterback position, signed him to a one-year deal.
The also brought back Josh McCown, the incumbent starter, and drafted Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick out of USC who is considered the future of the franchise. Having them on the field with Bridgewater this summer has made for an intriguing quarterback competition.
“He has been a great team player Michael Pierce Jersey , great in the meeting room and for the guys as well,” coach Todd Bowles said of Bridgewater. “I’ve got to say, this is the best three-quarterback combination room I’ve been around from a mental standpoint, so that is great to have.”
McCown is No. 1 on the depth chart, followed by Bridgewater and Darnold, and all three have had up-and-down moments on the field this summer. Off the field, all three quarterbacks have repeatedly talked about the camaraderie they have quickly established. And, there’s a ton of respect for Bridgewater willing himself to even get back to this point.
“Obviously, he’s had a long road recovery-wise from his knee, but his mind has been on football,” McCown said. “You can tell he’s sharp and I’ve been really impressed with everything he’s done. I think the future is really bright for Teddy. I’m excited for him.”
Bridgewater has been checking off milestones for most of the past 24 months. He’s not sure how long he’ll play Friday night, but whatever he does will be another positive.
The next goal on his list, though, is yet to be determined.
“I have to sit down and think about the next milestone,” Bridgewater said. “But for now, it’s just living in the moment, enjoying this opportunity and taking advantage of it.”