Today is the day of two of the best drafts in NBA history. 1996 and 2003 can be both be reasonably argued to be the best drafts the NBA has ever seen. The 1996 NBA Draft is highlighted by Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, and Steve Nash! Bryant, Nash, and Allen are in the Hall of Fame. We all know these are some of the best players to ever play the game. All 4 players were selected at least once for the prestigious all-NBA teams. These are players that have defined the game we have all come to love for the last couple of decades. Steve Nash was even able to parlay his Hall of Fame career into a head coaching gig with the Brookyln Nets.
It’s hard to imagine a draft being better than the 1996 class, but the 2003 draft class just may have done it. Of course, the draft was highlighted by arguably the best player to ever play in the NBA, with LeBron James going #1 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade came out of this draft as well. James, Bosh, and Wade formed arguably the best superteam in NBA history when they teamed up on the Miami Heat. They went to 4 straight NBA Finals together, winning two of them. While Carmelo Anthony never played in the NBA Finals, he was a 10-time All-Star, 7-time All NBA selection, all-rookie selection in 2004, and is widely considered to be one of the best pure scorers in NBA history.
Each of these selections completely changed the NBA and the franchises that drafted them. It’s important to know that while these were all historically good picks by these teams, it shows how the fortunes of an entire organization can change off just one pick in the draft. We won’t know for years to come who the winners and losers are from this year’s draft, but this is why hope springs eternal after every single draft class. As is always the case, hope springs eternal after every single draft class.