In honor of Thursday night's NBA draft, The Associated Press takes a look at the best and worst all-time picks for each of the league's 30 franchises.
The starting point for this exercise was 1966, when the territorial pick system went away and the draft began to look more like it does today. We're judging picks not on how sensible they seemed at the time, but on how much they ended up being worth to the selecting team — taking into account where each pick was in the draft and who else was available.
When it came to trades, we tried to use common sense, crediting whichever team was actually making the selection.
Best Value: Doc Rivers, No. 31 pick, 1983. Plenty of teams passed on Rivers, who was part of a draft that also included talented point guards Derek Harper and Darrell Walker. Rivers played eight solid seasons in Atlanta.
Worst Value: DerMarr Johnson, No. 6, 2000. The second Cincinnati product to go in the top six that year behind No. 1 pick Kenyon Martin, Johnson played two seasons with Atlanta before breaking his neck in a car crash. After missing the entire 2002-03 season, he was able to play again in the NBA — but his career with the Hawks was over.
Best Value: Larry Bird, No. 6, 1978. Red Auerbach drafted Bird in the first round even though it would be another year before the Indiana State star became a professional. Worth the wait, to say the least.
Worst Value: Chauncey Billups, No. 3, 1997. The most tragic pick for the Celtics was Len Bias, whose death shortly after the 1986 draft transcended the game, but in terms of mismanagement, Boston's handling of the third pick in '97 probably still stings a bit. Billups was a perfectly reasonable pick, but he had not even played a full season before the Celtics traded the future Finals MVP for Kenny Anderson.
Best Value: Buck Williams, No. 3, 1981. Williams is still the franchise's career scoring leader thanks to an impressive eight-year run in New Jersey.
Worst Value: Dennis Hopson, No. 3, 1987. The No. 3 pick wasn't as kind a few years later. Hopson played only five seasons in the NBA, three with the Nets.
Best Value: Emeka Okafor, No. 2, 2004. This young franchise has never picked No. 1 overall. Okafor gave Charlotte five solid seasons before being traded to New Orleans.
|Detroit - LP: J. Mantiply||4||FINAL|
|NY Mets - WP: C. Torres||5|
|Pittsburgh||0||Top 1st Inning|
|Chicago||4||1st Qtr 8:34|
|Sacramento||2||1st Qtr 10:13|
|Utah||2||1st Qtr 9:32|
|Miami||4||1st Qtr 9:44|
|Toronto||4||1st Qtr 8:56|
|LA Lakers||7:00 PM|
|Columbus||0||1st Prd 16:03|
|Minnesota||0||1st Prd 16:23|
|Miss Valley St||75|
|Towson||39||2nd Half 14:37|
|Gardner-Webb||46||2nd Half 12:59|
|Samford||38||2nd Half 17:25|
|Northern Ill||6||1st Half 15:57|
|Bowling Green||6||1st Half 16:12|
|Brown||8||1st Half 16:44|
|Toledo||6||1st Half 15:32|
|Akron||9||1st Half 14:07|
|Ill-Chicago||3||1st Half 15:14|
|Miami-Ohio||3||1st Half 18:05|
|Columbia||0||1st Half 18:35|
|Cornell||8||1st Half 13:58|
|Central Mich||0||1st Half 20:00|
|Bradley||3||1st Half 16:46|
|Morehead State||6:30 PM|
|Coll of Charleston||7:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||8:00 PM|
|Loyola Marymount||10:30 PM|
|(21) George Washington||77|
|(3) South Carolina||58|
|East Tenn St||66|
|(2) Notre Dame||77|
|(9) Arizona State||67|
|Miss Valley St||51|
|(18) Texas A&M||65||FINAL|
|Virginia Tech||22||2nd Half 14:34|
|(7) Florida State||55|
|Lehigh||54||2nd Half 12:39|
|Rhode Island||7||1st Half 15:27|
|North Florida||0||1st Half 17:45|
|(20) Fla Gulf Coast||8|
|Kennesaw St||2||1st Half 17:12|
|USC Upstate||0||1st Half 19:13|
|Lipscomb||2||1st Half 15:35|
|Nebraska||12||1st Half 15:59|
|Saint Peters||4||1st Half 14:10|
|Navy||6||1st Half 16:31|
|Lafayette||7||1st Half 15:40|
|Colgate||2||1st Half 16:18|
|Georgia||4||1st Half 15:55|
|Dartmouth||13||1st Half 12:21|
|Penn||2||1st Half 17:12|
|(13) Princeton||0||1st Half 20:00|
|Kansas||3||1st Half 16:22|
|Harvard||10||1st Half 13:28|
|(15) North Carolina||7:00 PM|
|San Jose St||7:00 PM|
|Utah State||8:00 PM|
|(8) Oregon State|
|New Mexico||8:00 PM|
|(12) Kentucky||8:25 PM|
|(11) Miss State|
|San Diego State||8:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||8:30 PM|
|Boise State||9:00 PM|
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