Big Ten Basketball: Every B1G Team's Greatest NBA Product
If you could get in a time machine and put all of the best players Big Ten teams have produced throughout the years in their primes, it would be close to the perfect professional team.
The league gave the NBA two of the best point guards ever, one of the best centers and two of the best power forwards the game has seen.
When you get down to the historically irrelevant teams, they've sent mostly irrelevant players to the NBA. These are the best pros each Big Ten team has produced.
Illinois: Deron Williams
Bill Self left Bruce Weber with Deron Williams, Dee Brown and Luther Head. Those three led the Illini to a national title game and all ended up in the league.
Williams has by far been the most successful pro of the three. Williams has been one of the best assist men in the league throughout his career and still has a lot of miles left on his NBA odometer.
Indiana: Isiah Thomas
Bob Knight coached a lot of good ones, but none were better than Isiah Thomas. If not for Magic Johnson, Thomas would have been the best point guard of his era.
Thomas won two titles in the NBA and put up great numbers throughout his career. His professional life after playing basketball has not been as successful, but when he was on the court in sneakers, he was special.
Iowa: B.J. Armstrong
B.J. Armstrong is known best for his time spent playing with Michael Jordan and the Bulls. Armstrong was part of the Bulls' first three-peat, which were the best years of his 11-year career.
At Iowa, Armstrong helped lead the Hawkeyes to four NCAA tournaments, an Elite Eight in 1987 and a Sweet 16 in 1988.
Michigan: Chris Webber
Chris Webber was one of the best players of his era in the 1990s and early 2000s. He's also probably one of the most underappreciated because he never won a title.
Now that Michigan can acknowledge Webber's existence again, it's time the school does something to recognize him and the Fab Five.
Michigan State: Magic Johnson
Tom Izzo has sent some good ones to the NBA, but this is easy. Magic Johnson is the clear choice.
After winning the 1979 NCAA title, Johnson won the first of five titles in the NBA in his first season in the league. He was named league MVP three times, finals MVP three times and All-Star Game MVP twice.
Minnesota: Kevin McHale
It's pretty unreal that Minnesota had one of the best low-post scorers of all time for four seasons and never made an NCAA tournament.
For the first two years of McHale's career, the Gophers were banned from the postseason. But for the final two, they just weren't good enough.
McHale made up for it with postseason success as a professional. McHale helped the Celtics win three titles and was a seven-time All-Star.
Nebraska: Eric Piatkowski
Eric Piatkowski was one of the best players players in the Big Eight in the early 1990s—that's why it's weird to put him on this list.
Piatkowski had the misfortune of spending most of his career with the Clippers. He was always a reliable three-point specialist, shooting 39.9 percent from deep for his career, which lasted 14 seasons.
Northwestern: Don Adams
The Wildcats have never made the NCAA tournament and the players they've sent to the NBA haven't been very recognizable.
Don Adams is the best of the group. He played seven years in the league for six different teams from 1970 through 1977.
Ohio State: Jerry Lucas
Jerry Lucas took Ohio State to three straight NCAA tournament championship games, winning the first in 1960 and losing the final two.
Lucas didn't drop off in the NBA. He was a double-double machine until his final few years with the Knicks, who he finally won a title with in 1973. In 1996 on the NBA's 50th anniversary, Lucas was named one of the 50 greatest players to ever play the game.
Penn State: Frank Brickowski
This explains Penn State's basketball tradition when Frank Brickowski is the best NBA product the program has produced.
You know Brickowski, right? Hey, he played on a good Seattle team in 1995-96 that lost to the Bulls in the finals. Brickowski also lasted 12 seasons in the league from 1984 to 1997, averaging a respectable 10 points and 4.7 rebounds over his career.
Purdue: Glenn Robinson
Glenn Robinson isn't quite Sam Bowie, but the Milwaukee Bucks probably wish they had the first pick in 1994 to do over again to take Jason Kidd.
Robinson would have been a worthy No. 1 pick if it weren't for Kidd being in the same draft, and he was a dominant college player in his two years at Purdue, sweeping the national player of the year awards in 1994.
Robinson wasn't Kidd in the pros, but he still had a solid career. He played in two All-Star games and averaged better than 20 points per game in eight of his 11 seasons. His best season was 2000-01 when the Bucks were one win away from reaching the NBA Finals, losing in seven games to the 76ers.
Wisconsin: Michael Finley
The Suns got good value out of the 21st pick in the 1995 NBA draft when they took Wisconsin's Michael Finley.
Finley was part of a trade that sent Jason Kidd to Phoenix and Finley to Dallas in 1996. That trade worked out for the Mavs, as Finley was a part of a big three with Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash.
That group never won a title together, but Finley did win a ring as a role player with the Spurs in 2007.
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