NBA Draft: 1970 Class the Most Underrated Ever?

Ian ZymarakisSenior Analyst IMay 24, 2008

When basketball historians recall some of the best draft classes in NBA history the typical draft class that gets brought up is the class of 1984, 1996 and most recently the class of 2003.

The 1984 class produced some of the best talents we have ever seen.

This draft produced such Hall of Famer's as, Hakeem Olajuwon (No. 1 overall), Michael Jordan (No. 3 overall) and Charles Barkley (No. 5 overall) and not to mention future Hall of Famer John Stockton (No. 16 overall).

The 1996 class included future hall of famers such as Allen Iverson (#1 overall), Kobe Bryant (#13 overall) and Steve Nash (#15 overall). It also includes all star players such as Shareek Abdur Rahim, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Peja Stojavic, Antoine Walker, Jermaine O'Neal and Zydrunas Ilgauskus.

The 2003 draft included superstars such as Lebron James (#1), Carmelo Anthony (#3), Chris Bosh (#4) and Dwyane Wade (#5). It also included all star players such as David West (#18) and Josh Howard (#29).

But many people forget what could be one of the best if not the best, but also most underrated draft classes of all time.

That being the class of 1970.

This class boasts five, count them five, current hall-of-famers, more then the class of 1984 has.

The first overall pick in this draft was Bob Lanier, taken by the Detroit Pistons. During his 14-year NBA career, Lanier was named to the All-Star game six times, his number 16 was retired both in Detroit with the Pistons and in Milwaukee with the Bucks.

The third overall selection was "Pistol" Pete Maravich, taken by the Atlanta Hawks. Many call him the greatest college basketball player of all time and he was also recognized as being one of the NBA's 50 greatest players in its history. His career was short due to injuries and though he only played 10 seasons, his accomplishments are amazing. Two-time NBA first teamer, five-time All Star. He was the youngest person to ever be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. His number 7 was retired both in Atlanta with the Hawks and in New Orleans with the Hornets where he played when they were known as the New Orleans Jazz.

The fourth overall selection was Dave Cowens, taken by the Boston Celtics. He was the NBA MVP in 1973 and an All-Star seven times, winning the game MVP in 1973. He was also named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, his No. 18 was also retired with the Boston Celtics.

The 18th overall selection was Calvin Murphy, selected by the San Diego Rockets. Murphy was inducted in the the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 and his jersey was also retired by the Houston Rockets. He was also an NBA all star in 1979.

The 19th overall selection was Nate "Tiny" Archibald, selected by the Cincinnati Royals. He was a three-time All NBA selection, a six-time NBA All Star and one of the greatest scoring and passing point guards of all time. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991 and was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.

The class of 1970 is an often forgotten class among many NBA fans, often lost in the group when the class of '84, '96 and '03 are brought up.

Many great players were drafted in 1970, not just hall of famer's, Rudy Tomjanovich was selected that draft with the number two overall selection. He went on to have a great playing career as well as a great coaching career.

The class of 1970 may not always be discussed—but it sure is not forgotten as it was as complete as any other draft in history.