#1 Overall NBA Draft Picks List of All Time

We will likely be adding Zion Williamson to the list here shortly. We have compiled the ultimate list of number one overall draft picks in NBA History. Some were better than others, and some were complete busts. Throughout you see Hall of Famers, and possibly future Hall of Famers when the time comes. There were also some first overall picks who struggled with injuries, and could never get going in the league. Of late, you have to say teams have been better at drafting the best overall player. Going into the 2000s, you have a lot of recognizable names that succeeded and lived up to the hype. There was also an international run of number one picks early in the 2000s too. Being selected number one is a great honor, but only so many live up to the hype. You can read all about our Best #1 NBA Draft Picks of All Time.

2019: Zion Williamson

SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Duke18FreshmanPF6'7285 lbs

2018: Deandre Ayton

Phoenix Suns
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Arizona18FreshmanCenter7'1250 lbs

2017: Markelle Fultz

Philadelphia 76ers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Washington19FreshmanGuard6'4200 lbs

2016: Ben Simmons

Philadelphia 76ers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
LSU19FreshmanGuard6'10230 lbs

2015: Karl-Anthony Towns

Minnesota Timberwolves
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Kentucky19FreshmanCenter7'0248 lbs

2014: Andrew Wiggins

Cleveland Cavaliers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Kansas19FreshmanGuard6'8194 lbs

2013: Anthony Bennett

Cleveland Cavaliers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
UNLV20FreshmanForward6'8245 lbs

2012: Anthony Davis

New Orleans Hornets
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Kentucky19FreshmanForward6'10253 lbs

2011: Kyrie Irving

Cleveland Cavaliers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Duke19FreshmanGuard6'3193 lbs

2010: John Wall

Washington Wizards
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Kentucky19FreshmanGuard6'4210 lbs

2009: Blake Griffin

LA Clippers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Oklahoma20SophomoreForward6'10250 lbs

2008: Derrick Rose

Chicago Bulls
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Memphis19FreshmanGuard6'3200 lbs

2007: Greg Oden

Portland Trail Blazers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Ohio State19FreshmanCenter7'0275 lbs

2006: Andrea Bargnani

Toronto Raptors
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Italy20N/AForward7'0245 lbs

2005: Andrew Bogut

Milwaukee Bucks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Utah20SophomoreCenter7'0250 lbs

2004: Dwight Howard

Orlando Magic
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
High School18N/ACenter6'11265 lbs

2003: LeBron James

Cleveland Cavaliers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
High School18N/AForward6'8250 lbs

2002: Yao Ming

Houston Rockets
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
China21N/ACenter7'6311 lbs

2001: Kwame Brown

Washington Wizards
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
High School19N/ACenter6'11290 lbs

2000: Kenyon Martin

New Jersey Nets
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Cincinnati22SeniorForward6'9234 lbs

1999: Elton Brand

Chicago Bulls
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Duke20SophomoreForward6'9254 lbs

1998: Michael Olowokandi

LA Clippers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Pacific23SeniorForward7'0270 lbs

1997: Tim Duncan

San Antonio Spurs
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Wake Forest21SeniorForward6'11250 lbs

1996: Allen Iverson

Philadelphia 76ers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Georgetown20SophomoreGuard6'0165 lbs

1995: Joe Smith

Golden State Warriors
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Maryland20SophomoreForward6'10225 lbs

1994: Glenn Robinson

Milwaukee Bucks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Purdue21JuniorForward6'7240 lbs

1993: Chris Webber

Orlando Magic
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Michigan20SophomoreForward6'10250 lbs

1992: Shaquille O’Neal

Orlando Magic
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
LSU20JuniorCenter7'1325 lbs

1991: Larry Johnson

Charlotte Hornets
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
UNLV22SeniorForward6'7250 lbs

1990: Derrick Coleman

New Jersey Nets
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Syracuse23SeniorForward6'10230 lbs

1989: Pervis Ellison

Sacramento Kings
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Louisville22SeniorForward6'9210 lbs

1988: Danny Manning

LA Clippers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Kansas22SeniorForward6'10230 lbs

1987: David Robinson

San Antonio Spurs
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Navy22SeniorCenter7'1235 lbs

1986: Brad Daugherty

Cleveland Cavaliers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
North Carolina21SeniorCenter7'0245 lbs

1985: Patrick Ewing

New York Knicks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Georgetown22SeniorCenter7'0255 lbs

1984: Hakeem Olajuwon

Houston Rockets
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Houston21SeniorCenter7'0255 lbs

1983: Ralph Sampson

Houston Rockets
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Virginia23SeniorCenter7'4228 lbs

1982: James Worthy

Los Angeles Lakers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
North Carolina21JuniorForward6'9225 lbs

1981: Mark Aguirre

Dallas Mavericks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
DePaul22JuniorGuard6'6232 lbs

1980: Joe Barry Carroll

Golden State Warriors
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Purdue22SeniorCenter7'0255 lbs

1979: Magic Johnson

Los Angeles Lakers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Michigan State20SophomoreGuard6'9215 lbs

1978: Mychal Thompson

Portland Trail Blazers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Minnesota23SeniorForward6'10220 lbs

1977: Kent Benson

Milwaukee Bucks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Indiana22SeniorForward6'10300 lbs

1976: John Lucas

Houston Rockets
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Maryland22SeniorGuard6'3175 lbs

1975: David Thompson

Atlanta Hawks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
NC State21SeniorGuard6'4195 lbs

1974: Bill Walton

Portland Trail Blazers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
UCLA22JuniorCenter6'11210 lbs

1973: Doug Collins

Philadelphia 76ers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Illinois State22JuniorForward6'6180 lbs

1972: LaRue Martin

Portland Trail Blazers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Loyola22SeniorForward6'11208 lbs

1971: Austin Carr

Cleveland Cavaliers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Notre Dame23SeniorGuard6'4200 lbs

1970: Bob Lanier

Detroit Pistons
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
St. Bonaventure22SeniorForward6'10250 lbs

1969: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Milwaukee Bucks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
UCLA22SeniorCenter7'2225 lbs

1968: Elvin Hayes

San Diego Rockets
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Houston22SeniorForward6'9235 lbs

1967: Jimmy Walker

Detroit Pistons
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Providence23SeniorGuard6'3195 lbs

1966: Cazzie Russell

New York Knicks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Michigan22SeniorGuard6'5218 lbs

1965: Fred Hetzel

San Francisco Warriors
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Davidson23SeniorForward6'8220 lbs

1964: Jim Barnes

New York Knicks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
UTEP23SeniorForward6'8210 lbs

1963: Art Heyman

New York Knicks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Duke22SeniorGuard6'5205 lbs

1962: Bill McGill

Chicago Zephyrs
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Utah23SeniorForward6'9225 lbs

1961: Walt Bellamy

Chicago Zephyrs
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Indiana22SeniorForward6'11225 lbs

1960: Oscar Robertson

Cincinnati Royals
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Cincinnati22SeniorGuard6'5205 lbs

1959: Bob Boozer

Cincinnati Royals
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Kansas State22SeniorForward6'8215 lbs

1958: Elgin Baylor

Minneapolis Lakers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Seattle23SeniorGuard6'5225 lbs

1957: Hot Rod Hundley

Cincinnati Royals
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
West Virginia22SeniorGuard6'4185 lbs

1956: Si Green

Rochester Royals
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Duquesne23SeniorGuard6'2185 lbs

1955: Dick Ricketts

St. Louis Hawks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Duquesne22SeniorForward6'7215 lbs

1954: Frank Selvy

Baltimore Bullets
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Furman22SeniorGuard6'3180 lbs

1953: Ray Felix

Baltimore Bullets
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
LIU Brooklyn22SeniorCenter6'11220 lbs

1952: Mark Workman

Milwaukee Hawks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
West Virginia22SeniorForward6'9215 lbs

1951: Gene Melchiorre

Baltimore Hawks
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Bradley24SeniorGuard5'8175 lbs

1950: Chuck Share

Boston Celtics
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Bowling Green23SeniorForward6'11235 lbs

1949: Howie Shannon

Providence Steam Rollers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Kansas State26SeniorGuard6'2175 lbs

1948: Andy Tonkovich

Providence Steam Rollers
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Marshall25SeniorGuard6'1185 lbs

1947: Clifton McNeeley

Pittsburgh Ironmen
SchoolAgeYearPositionHeightWeight
Texas Wesleyan28SeniorN/AN/AN/A

Worst #1 Picks Of All-Time

It is easy to pin the players as being a bust, but landing spots and teams being able to wait and give them the chance to develop. In more recent years, we look at Anthony Bennett as the big draft bust. He went to Cleveland first overall, and averaged just 4.4 points per game in his career. Bennett also never saw much of the floor, averaging less than 20 minutes per game. We can also safely say that Markelle Fultz is looking more and more like a bust. The injury situation really muddied up our vision to see if he was worth the first overall pick. Philadelphia has already moved on, and nobody was biting on trade bait. Fultz was a big bust.

Washington taking Kwame Brown back in 2001 was a major bust, especially when you look at Pau Gasol going two picks behind him. Going way back, Clifton McNeely and Gene Melchiorre never scored a point in the pros. One was banned, and the other went on to coach high school basketball instead. Kent Benson was drafted in 1977, and had an altercation with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He averaged less than ten points per game.

Not Great, But Good

You have the greats in this list, which is saved for a different article. Let’s dive into the guys that got overshadowed a bit because they didn’t live up to the hype, but still churned out strong careers. Elton Brand and Kenyon Martin both went number one in back to back years. This was around the time names like Shaq and Yao Ming were drafted. Brand went onto win the Rookie of the Year that season, and had a long 16-year career. He was a two-time all-star, and averaged 15.9 points per game. Martin was an all-rookie, and averaged 12.3 points per game. Both didn’t have notable careers, but playing that long is considered a success.

The All-Injured

Greg Oden played 105 games in the NBA, and this went with Portland’s unlucky streak of draft picks at the time. He also came a pick before Kevin Durant. Oden never averaged over 25 minutes in a season, and missed out on three full seasons. He tried to make a come back with the Miami Heat, and fell short again with injuries. When you have the nickname “Out Of Service Pervis” you know things are not going good. Pervis Ellison missed half of his rookie season, and injuries continued most of his career. He played 11 seasons, but had six of them cut short due to injury. Derrick Rose has played enough to where he can’t quite be compared, but you have to say Rose blowing out his knee a few times is a rough go.

  
Jason Guilbault has been writing and podcasting in the fantasy sports world for over five years. You can find his work at Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is an avid Tottenham fan, and follows the Boston sports teams. When he isn’t diving into stats, he is enjoying the outdoors or down at the local brewery.

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