The NBA Draft: This Decade

Neel PatelContributor IFebruary 25, 2009

Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, John Stockton, Charles Barkley. Four future hall of famers were drafted in the 1984 draft first round.


1996 brought you the likes of Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Antoine Walker, Kerry Kittles, Eric Dampier, Kobe Bryant, Peja Stojakovic, Steve Nash, Jermaine O'Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Derek Fisher, and undrafted Chucky Atkins and Ben Wallace.


1998 brought us Mike Bibby, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Al Harrington, Rashard Lewis, and undrafted Brad Miller.


What is the defining class of this decade. Lets take a look at the best player from each position, and I've added three bench players in case you have guys like Caron Butler that were drafted the same year as Tayshaun Prince, but your best PG drafted that year is Dan Dickau.



Year - PG, SG, SF, PF, C, Bench 1, Bench 2, Bench 3



2000 - Jamal Crawford, Michael Redd, Mike Miller, Kenyon Martin, Jamaal Magloire


Hedo Turkgolu, Deshawn Stevenson, Desmond Mason


Decent role playing starters at every position, no champions, and Redd is the only real all star.



2001 - Tony Parker, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Pau Gasol, Tyson Chandler


Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, Richard Jefferson


A formidable starting five, all eight players are all stars or have all star potential.



2002 - Dan Dickau, Fred Jones, Tayshaun Prince, Amare Stoudemire, Yao Ming


Caron Butler, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy Jr.


Weak at pg, sg, two good small forwards, Amare and Yao are franchise players.



2003 - Mo Williams, Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, David West, Chris Bosh


Carmelo Anthony, Chris Kaman, Josh Howard


Eight standouts, King James, four franchise players, all eight are all stars or have all star potential.



2004 - Devin Harris, Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, Emeka Okafor, Dwight Howard


Andris Biedrins, Al Jefferson, Jameer Nelson


Eight starters, everyone is an all star or has all star potential, Nelson is the weakest of the class and he's good, No. 1 center in the game in Howard.



2005 - Chris Paul, Monta Ellis, Danny Granger, David Lee, Andrew Bynum


Deron Williams, Andrew Bogut, Nate Robinson


No. 1 pg in the NBA, a possible future Kobe in Ellis, all stars in Granger, Lee, and Williams. Bynum has potential to be the best center behind Howard of this era.



2006 - Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, Tyrus Thomas, Paul Millsap, Lamarcus Aldridge


Rajon Rondo, Rodney Carney, Andrea Bargnani


Roy and Rondo the only standouts, Roy the only franchise player, Gay, Thomas and Aldridge have potential, weak class. 



2007 - Ramon Sessions, Rudy Fernandez, Kevin Durant, Al Thornton, Al Horford


Rodney Stuckey, Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook


Everyone is ok, but unproven except Durant.



2008 - Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo, Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love


DJ Augustin, Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon


Already looking better than last year's class.


While there are standouts each year such as Paul and Howard who may be the best at their position, the strength of a draft class has to come from depth. Of course, you have to have five quality starters as well, which is why it was easy to dub 2002 as the weakest class of this decade.


While Boozer and Butler are all stars on the bench, Dickau and Fred Jones are no where near as good as any of the other pgs or sgs mentioned. As for the best class, another easy answer.


Every year has great players, even on the bench, but when you have King James, who many consider to be the best player in the NBA, and three other top 20 NBA players in Wade, Bosh, and Anthony, you have the best class of this decade.


Not to mention that Josh Howard and David West have been to the all-star game, and Kaman and Williams are also possible all stars and are coming into their own.