Breaking down the most effective and worst No. three picks in NBA historical past


When the Knicks misplaced the NBA draft lottery, they misplaced greater than Zion Williamson. Additionally they misplaced the knowledge that comes with selecting first total.

The primary choose comes with a excessive share of success, particularly in a yr with somebody like Williamson about to enter the league. That’s not at all times the case, nevertheless it’s loads tougher to whiff on the primary choose than wherever else. Which brings us to the third choose.

The Grizzlies seemingly will make the Knicks’ determination for them. Whoever they don’t choose between Ja Morant and RJ Barrett will seemingly find yourself in New York. However historical past tells us the success of that third choose is lower than ironclad.

The Put up regarded on the No. three choose all through the NBA’s historical past. Right here’s what we discovered:

The 5 finest

Michael Jordan (1984): It’s not likely a debate — there’s no higher draft choose in NBA historical past than getting arguably the best participant ever third total.

Kevin McHale (1980): Together with buying and selling for Robert Parish in the identical deal that offered this choose, the Celtics sparked a dynasty that went on to win three titles within the subsequent six years.

Bob Cousy (1950): There are a pair technicalities right here — Cousy was picked by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks earlier than later getting traded to the Celtics, and if you happen to rely territorial picks, he was fourth as an alternative of third. However it’s arduous to not embrace him because the Corridor of Fame level guard on basketball’s biggest dynasty.

Dominique Wilkins (1982): One other technicality, as Wilkins was drafted by Utah earlier than getting flipped to the Hawks just a few months later, however he put collectively a Corridor of Fame profession that included 9 All-Star appearances.

James Harden (2009): Although Harden continues to be within the prime of his profession, his first 10 seasons — an MVP and 7 All-Star video games by the age of 30 — will get him a spot right here.

The 5 worst

Adam Morrison (2006): The Gonzaga star was out of the league in 4 years, and half of his short-lived profession didn’t even include the crew that drafted him (Charlotte, picked mockingly sufficient by Michael Jordan).

O.J. Mayo (2008): Mayo by no means fairly clicked within the league, and regardless of a robust begin to his profession, didn’t final. What makes the choose robust to swallow is Memphis took him over Russell Westbrook.

Chris Washburn (1986): Drafted by the Warriors, Washburn performed simply 72 video games earlier than receiving a lifetime ban for drug use.

Jim Paxson (1956): It’s robust to observe Invoice Russell, however Paxson, the daddy of two future NBA gamers, managed to remain within the league for simply two seasons after the Lakers took him third.

Jahlil Okafor (2015): Although there’s nonetheless an opportunity for Okafor to show issues round, it’s been as unhealthy a begin as attainable for the previous Duke star. He’s been on three groups in 4 years and has but to search out something trying like a long-term match.

Current successes

Pau Gasol (2001): His Corridor of Fame profession now winding down, Gasol was traded by Atlanta to Memphis on draft night time and developed right into a star there earlier than cementing his legacy by serving to the Lakers to 2 championships.

Carmelo Anthony (2003): A part of a famed draft class, Anthony took the Nuggets to the 2009 Western Convention finals, their finest playoff end, and introduced them an enormous return in an eventual commerce to the Knicks.

Al Horford (2007): The ceaselessly underappreciated Horford goes down as probably the greatest gamers in Hawks historical past, and is at present a cornerstone on a Celtics crew that sits firmly in Jap Convention rivalry.

Joel Embiid (2014): Although Embiid was an enormous danger on the time, enjoying simply 31 video games in his first three seasons after being drafted, he seems like a long-term centerpiece for the Sixers.

Luka Doncic (2018): The Slovenian teenager took the NBA by storm as a 19-year-old with the Mavericks, posting eight triple-doubles and changing into simply the fifth rookie ever to common at the very least 20 factors, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.