LeBron James and the Best NBA Draft Picks from the Last 10 Drafts

Jeff Chase@@Real_Jeff_ChaseSenior Analyst IISeptember 18, 2011

LeBron James and the Best NBA Draft Picks from the Last 10 Drafts

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    Every year at the NBA Draft, there is always an obvious player who is above the rest. That player is usually taken first.

    Does that mean they ended up being the best?

    Not always, as their fellow draftees sometimes end up outperforming those taken at the top of the draft.

    This list will look back at the past 10 drafts (excluding 2011 since we cannot compare those players).

    Enjoy and feel free to object.

2010-John Wall

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    The 2010 draft class was rather weak, so No. 1 overall pick John Wall easily takes the cake this year.

    In his rookie season, the Kentucky product averaged 16.4 points and 8.3 assists per game. Good numbers for a rookie, but he didn't score as much as people expected him to.

    Wall is in a difficult situation in Washington, as they are rebuilding around him. If Wall wants to blossom, they will need to figure things out quick.

    Honorable Mention: Paul George. He has yet to prove anything, but the potential is there. He could take over this spot down the line.

2009-Blake Griffin

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    Blake Griffin is a freak of nature. He can get up like nobody else can.

    Even though Griffin missed his debut season after be drafted in 2009, he proved to be the great player he was this season, ultimately capturing the Rookie of the Year award and being named an All-Star.

    Griffin will have big expectations for his sophomore season, especially after a 2010-11 season of posting 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.

    Griffin has the potential to become not only a superstar, but also an MVP.

    Honorable Mention: Tyreke Evans. In Griffin's absences, Evans was a surprising candidate to come out and win the Rookie of the Year award. The No. 4 overall pick was able to bring something good to Sacramento since their glory days of Webber, Bibby, Christie, Divac and Peja. Tyreke spent much of 2010-11 on the bench with injuries, but he should return to form this season.

2008-Derrick Rose

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    The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft takes top spot on the list for 2008.

    Derrick Rose has proven to already be an No. 1 pick, while also exceeding expectations.

    In three seasons, Rose has already won the Rookie of the Year award and MVP, the youngest ever.

    Rose led the Bulls to new heights for the first time since Jordan retired, and has brought a new hope to the city of Chicago.

    Rose's numbers just keep improving, following a 2010-11 campaign of 25 points and 7.7 assists per game.

    Derrick Rose is already on a path to greatness, and the Bulls couldn't be happier. Especially with how No. 2 pick Michael Beasley has looked over the years.

    Honorable Mention: Kevin Love/Russel Westbrook. It is tough to decide between the two, but both have played incredibly well. Either would top this list if it wasn't for Rose and his accomplishments.

2007-Kevin Durant

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    We are finally breaking away from the ongoing No. 1 overall picks.

    Even though Durant was the No. 2 pick, he still would likely trump Greg Oden, the No. 1 pick.

    Durant has proven to be a superstar, and in my opinion is extremely underrated.

    I say underrated because he is in such a small market that people sometimes forget Durant when they speak of players like LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.

    Kevin Durant is one deadly player, and he is just getting better and better. His numbers were down from last season, but still, averages of 27.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game are nothing to complain about.

    Let's just say, the Blazers are very unhappy.

    Honorable Mention: Al Horford. The No. 3 pick in the 2009 Draft has proven to be an excellent player for the Hawks. With a career average of 12.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, Horford has become an excellent player at the power forward position. 

2006-Rajon Rondo

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    Rajon Rondo is the youngest of the four between him, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

    Despite his age, he is the floor general, and if it was not for him, who knows if the Celtics would have won their 2008 championship.

    Rondo is not much of a scorer, but nobody runs the floor better. His defense is also notable, and his speed is with the best of them.

    Rondo was the 21st pick in the draft, and has proven that he should have been the No. 1. Rondo is the youngest player on an aging team, so the Celtics can only hope that he will carry the torch once they start to bring in new guys.

    Honorable Mention: Brandon Roy. The No. 6 pick in the 2006 draft was an excellent player in his first few seasons, but nagging injuries have slowed him down. He is need of an excellent season to get his name back on top.

2005-Chris Paul

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    2005 was the battle of the point guards. 

    Two fantastic guards came out of this draft in Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

    In the end, it is too tough to go against the No. 4 pick, CP3.

    Paul quickly rose to elite status in the NBA, and even after serious injuries, he has come back to prove that he is still one of the best.

    Paul has been stuck in New Orleans, where the team has just been a constant slide downhill since he arrived. His future with the team has been brought into question time and time again over the years, but time will just have to tell.

    Honorable Mention: Deron Williams. As previously mentioned, this was close. Williams has proven to be one of the best point guards in the league, and he is ready to become the face of the Brooklyn Nets.

2004-Dwight Howard

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    There was no competition against Superman in 2004.

    The No. 1 pick has played to the ability of Orlando's previous No. 1 overall pick, Shaq.

    Dwight Howard has been at the top of MVP votes, but he has yet to the capture the award.

    He has also taken the Magic to the playoffs every year, but they have yet to capture a championship.

    Howard has been arguably the most dominant player in the league for many years, and his slam dunks have been loved by fans across the world.

    Howard is in the last year of his contract, and we will have to see if he sticks with the team who drafted him.

    Honorable Mention: Andre Iguodala. Like I said, I didn't really like the 2004 class. Iguodala has proven year after year that he his a solid player for the Sixers. He has been a staple there since the Allen Iverson days, and he took over after AI's departure.

2003-LeBron James

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    No need for guessing here. LeBron James obviously takes the spot of the 2003 draft.

    The No. 1 pick, and perhaps the most highly-anticipated player to enter the league, LeBron has proven to be one of the best.

    His composure late in games has been called into question, but there is no doubt about what the two-time MVP has been able to do throughout the game. To say the least, he is the definition of a game changer.

    James has yet to capture a championship, but he has put himself in good position to capture one under the reign of Pat Riley, and teaming up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

    LeBron will no doubt continue to be the player he is, and will continue to carry an impact on the entire league for many years to come. Hate him or not, LeBron is the center of the NBA.

    Honorable Mention: Dwyane Wade. Tough call between Wade and Carmelo Anthony, but in the end, the ring wins. Carmelo has a lot of work ahead of him in New York, but we will have to see if he ever gets his due. Wade, on the other hand, has proven year in and year out that he is in the top five in the league. He has had some big injuries, but in the end, he proves his value to the Heat.

2002-Amare Stoudemire

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    I know many will ask why this is not Yao Ming, but in the end, Yao missed too much time.

    He was an incredible talent, but he just has not put in the same amount of work and value as Stoudemire.

    Stoudemire fell to the ninth pick in the 2002 draft, and he played like a star in Phoenix alongside Steve Nash for eight years. He now finds himself in New York, and is looking to get himself a ring with running mate Carmelo Anthony.

    With a career average of 21.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, Stoudemire has proven to be one of the most dynamic and valued players in the NBA.

    Honorable Mention: Yao Ming. Like I said, Yao just couldn't make the cut due to time he missed and his recent retirement, but he still was an amazing player. Yao closed up the lane, and he will be greatly missed by not only Rocket fans, but NBA fans worldwide as well.

2001-Tony Parker

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    Tony Parker has been a cornerstone of the San Antonio Spurs since his second season where he averaged 15.5 points per game.

    Parker was 28th-overall pick in the 2001 draft, and his three championships brought him the reputation of being one of the most consistent and positive players in the NBA.

    Parker has not slowed down to this day, but rumors have recently said he could be on the move very soon.

    We will have to see what happens, but no matter what, the Spurs have found him to be a late draft pick gift.

    Honorable Mention: Pau Gasol. Gasol was taken with the third-overall pick in the 2001 draft, but it took him awhile to finally claim a championship. After many dismal seasons with the Grizzlies, even with his solid play, Gasol finally found himself with the Lakers and winning two championships.