The 10 Best Players in the Last Five NBA Drafts
With the 2010 NBA Draft coming up in a week, it's the perfect time to look back on the other recent drafts. John Wall is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick, and Evan Turner is projected at No. 2, but the rest of the draft is unpredictable.
Wall just might end up being the best point guard in the game, but we'll have to wait to find that out if he has to split time with Gilbert Arenas.
So instead of looking forward, let's look back to see the which 10 players from the last five NBA drafts have blossomed into stars.
These players just missed the cut, listed in no particular order.
George Hill: He didn't really produce much for the Spurs in the regular season. He'll have his time to shine once Parker leaves or gets traded.
Joakim Noah: He's a rebounding machine, but he has to become a more polished scorer if he wants to be the Bulls' future big man. They're probably going to lose Brad Miller, so they're going to lose some size. As a result, Noah will have to go up against bigger defenders.
David Lee: He has good stats, but he hasn't helped the Knicks win anything with those stats.
Rajon Rondo: I think he's a great player, but I want to see how he fares without the big three playing with him. He isn't a polished shooter, yet, and it probably hurt the Celtic's chances.
Stephen Curry: Some of his game lines were ridiculous, but you can't forget that he plays for the Warriors. All they do is shoot.
Brandon Jennings: He cares too much about scoring. He only averaged three assists per game as the Bucks' point guard. The 55-point game was impressive, but everyone has that one great game.
10. Brook Lopez
Lopez was drafted 10th overall by the New Jersey Nets in the 2008 NBA Draft.
He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting and was placed on the All-Rookie First Team.
He has played all 82 games each year for the Nets and started all 82 games last season. But each of those years, the Nets missed the playoffs.
During his rookie year, he had 154 blocks, which was fourth in the NBA and first among all rookies.
9. Russell Westbrook
Westbrook was drafted fourth overall by the Seattle Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) in the 2008 NBA Draft.
He was a great part to the Thunder success. He ended up starting all 82 games for them. His APG increased from 5.3 to 8.0, and he got away from three-point shooting.
The Thunder ended up being the eighth seed in the Western Conference and took the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers to six games. In that series, Westbrook averaged 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists.
8. Tyreke Evans
Evans was drafted fourth overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2009 NBA Draft.
He was voted the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year.
He also won the MVP award for the 2010 Rookie Challenge. He decided to share the award with DeJuan Blair, who produced 22 points and 23 rebounds.
He became the fourth player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists in his rookie year. The other three players? Oscar Robertson, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan.
7. Andrew Bogut
Bogut was drafted first overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2005 NBA Draft.
Even though his career has been plagued by injuries, Bogut has always been productive for the Bucks. He's averaged 13 points and nine rebounds in his career with the Bucks.
Bogut had the best season of his career this past year. He averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks, while shooting 52 percent from the field.
6. Brandon Roy
Roy was drafted sixth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2006 NBA Draft.
He was voted the Rookie of the Year despite playing only 57 games because of injuries. He was also selected as a reserve for the 2008, 2009, and 2010 All-Star Games.
He finished 9th in MVP voting for the 2009 season and earned All-NBA Second Team honors.
Roy has only had one year where he hasn't been injured.
He is one of 18 players to records 10 steals in a game.
5. Derrick Rose
Rose was drafted first overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2008 NBA Draft.
He was voted the Rookie of the Year and was named to the All-Rookie First Team.
He led the Bulls to the playoffs in his rookie year and helped push the series against the Celtics to seven games.
This past year, he played in his first NBA All-Star game.
He led the Bulls to the playoffs once again, but they once again lost, this time in five games to the Cavaliers. Rose averaged 27 points in that series.
Rose could end up being the best point guard in the game, but I think Deron Williams holds that title, with Chris Paul and Steve Nash still going at it.
4. Danny Granger
Granger was drafted 17th overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2005 NBA Draft.
He made the All-NBA Rookie Second Team and also helped lead the Pacers to the playoffs that same year.
Granger broke out in the 2007-08 season. He ended up being the Pacers' leading scorer with 19 PPG while starting 80 games.
He was named Most Improved Player in the 2008-09 season.
He is now one of the most elite players in the game, but most people don't know that since the Pacers haven't made the playoffs since his rookie season.
3. Chris Paul
Paul was drafted fourth overall by the New Orleans Hornets in the 2005 NBA Draft.
He was voted Rookie of the Year and has played in the NBA All-Star game in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
He lead the Hornets to the playoffs in his 2007-08 season. They eliminated the Mavericks in five games. He ended up second in MVP voting.
This past year, he missed 37 games due to an injury.
Paul has only led the Hornets to the playoffs in two seasons while Deron Williams has led the Jazz to the playoffs in four straight seasons.
2. Deron Williams
Williams was drafted third overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2005 NBA Draft.
He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
Williams was the starting point guard for the Jazz the next season, and they started off with a 12-1 record, which is the best in team history.
He led the Jazz to the playoffs in 2007, ending a three-year playoff drought. The Jazz ended up beating the Houston Rockets in seven games. He scored in double-figures in each of the seven games of the series.
They won the next series against the Golden State Warriors, but ended up losing in the conference finals to the San Antonio Spurs.
In the 2008-09 season, Williams became the second active player to records 20 assists in four or more games in their career.
In 2010, he was selected as a reserve for his first NBA All-Star Game.
In the 2010 playoffs, Williams played with an injured wrist and ankle, and the Jazz were also without key players Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko. He became the first player in NBA history to record at least 20 points and 10 assists in five straight games in a playoff series.
I do think he is the best point guard in the game, even though he took a terrible shot in these past playoffs. If he had made it, it could have extended the Jazz' playoff run.
1. Shelden Williams
Just kidding. :D
1. Kevin Durant
Durant was drafted second overall by the Seattle Supersonics (now the Thunder) in the 2007 NBA Draft.
He was voted the NBA Rookie of the Year, while his 20.3 PPG season broke the Supersonics 40-year-old record set by Bob Rule.
This past year, he made his first NBA All-Star Game, and also became the youngest player to win the scoring title, with 30 PPG. He started all 82 games.
He also led the Thunder to their first playoff appearance.
I picked him as the best player in the last five NBA Drafts because of how he turned a disappointing Oklahoma City Thunder team to a playoff contender in less than three years. That plus winning a scoring title makes him one of the best players in the game.