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From Kareem to Zion: A Look at NBA’s #1 Draft Picks

NBA #1 Draft Picks by Team

Do you know how many #1 overall NBA draft picks your favorite team has had over the years? Well, weve compiled a list for you! Lets take a look at the number of #1 draft picks per team from the inception of the draft in 1947:

–Boston Celtics: 7

–Chicago Bulls: 1

–Cleveland Cavaliers: 3

–Detroit Pistons: 2

–Golden State Warriors: 2

–Houston Rockets: 1

–Los Angeles Clippers: 1

–Los Angeles Lakers: 4

–Milwaukee Bucks: 1

–New Orleans Pelicans: 1

–New York Knicks: 4

–Orlando Magic: 2

–Philadelphia 76ers: 6

–Phoenix Suns: 1

–Portland Trail Blazers: 2

–Sacramento Kings: 1

–San Antonio Spurs: 1

–Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder: 1

–Toronto Raptors: 1

–Washington Wizards: 2

As you can see, the Boston Celtics have had the most #1 overall draft picks with seven, followed by the Philadelphia 76ers with six.

On the other hand, teams like the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder, and Toronto Raptors have each only had one #1 overall draft pick in their history. List of NBA #1 Draft Picks by Team A to Z

Now, lets take a closer look at each teams #1 overall draft picks.

Here’s a list of NBA #1 draft picks by team, in alphabetical order:

–Boston Celtics: Markelle Fultz, John Havlicek, Reggie Lewis, Joe Barry Carroll, Len Bias, Fred Scolari, Chuck Share

–Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose

–Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Brad Daugherty

–Detroit Pistons: Bob Lanier, Jimmy Walker

–Golden State Warriors: Joe Smith, Chris Webber

–Houston Rockets: Hakeem Olajuwon

–Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin

–Los Angeles Lakers: Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

–Milwaukee Bucks: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

–New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson

–New York Knicks: Patrick Ewing, Walt Bellamy, Jim Barnes, Ray Felix

–Orlando Magic: Shaquille ONeal, Dwight Howard

–Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons, Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley, Doug Collins

–Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton

–Portland Trail Blazers: LaRue Martin, Bill Walton

–Sacramento Kings: Pervis Ellison

–San Antonio Spurs: David Robinson

–Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder: Alvin Adams

–Toronto Raptors: Andrea Bargnani

–Washington Wizards: John Wall, Kwame Brown

As you can see, some teams have had more #1 picks than others. For example, the Boston Celtics have had seven #1 picks, but the Chicago Bulls have only had one.

Some of the most famous #1 picks in NBA history include Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, and Shaquille ONeal. List of #1 Overall NBA Draft Pick Players A to Z

Do you want to know who all of those #1 draft picks were?

Heres a list of all of the #1 overall NBA draft pick players in alphabetical order:

–Alvin Adams

–Walt Bellamy

–Jim Barnes

–Joe Barry Carroll

–Charles Barkley

–Elgin Baylor

–Deandre Ayton

–Kwame Brown

–Len Bias

–Bill Walton

–John Wall

–Reggie Lewis

–Doug Collins

–Brad Daugherty

–Markelle Fultz

–LaRue Martin

–Chris Webber

–Allen Iverson

–Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

–Pervis Ellison

–Fred Scolari

–Patrick Ewing

–Jimmy Walker

–Blake Griffin

–Kyrie Irving

–Zion Williamson

–David Robinson

–LeBron James

–Hakeem Olajuwon

–Andrea Bargnani

–Magic Johnson

–James Worthy

–Shaquille ONeal

–Bob Lanier

–Ray Felix

–Chuck Share

–John Havlicek

–Joe Smith

–Dwight Howard

–Ben Simmons

As you can see, some of the most famous basketball players in history have been #1 overall draft picks. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and LeBron James are just a few examples of players who dominated the NBA after being picked #1 overall in the draft.

Year and Player of #1 Overall NBA Draft Picks

Lets take a closer look at the #1 overall NBA draft picks over the years:

1947: Clifton McNeeley

1948: Andy Tonkovich

1949: Howie Shannon

1950: Chuck Share

1951: Gene Melchiorre

1952: Mark Workman

1953: Ray Felix

1954: Frank Selvy

1955: Dick Ricketts

1956: Si Green

1957: Rod Hundley

1958: Elgin Baylor

1959: Bob Boozer

1960: Oscar Robertson

1961: Walt Bellamy

1962: Bill McGill

1963: Art Heyman

1964: Jim Barnes

1965: Fred Hetzel

1966: Cazzie Russell

1967: Jimmy Walker

1968: Elvin Hayes

1969: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

1970: Bob Lanier

1971: Austin Carr

1972: LaRue Martin

1973: Doug Collins

1974: Bill Walton

1975: David Thompson

1976: John Lucas

1977: Kent Benson

1978: Mychal Thompson

1979: Magic Johnson

1980: Joe Barry Carroll

1981: Mark Aguirre

1982: James Worthy

1983: Ralph Sampson

1984: Hakeem Olajuwon

1985: Patrick Ewing

1986: Brad Daugherty

1987: David Robinson

1988: Danny Manning

1989: Pervis Ellison

1990: Derrick Coleman

1991: Larry Johnson

1992: Shaquille ONeal

1993: Chris Webber

1994: Glenn Robinson

1995: Joe Smith

1996: Allen Iverson

1997: Tim Duncan

1998: Michael Olowokandi

1999: Elton Brand

2000: Kenyon Martin

2001: Kwame Brown

2002: Yao Ming

2003: LeBron James

2004: Dwight Howard

2005: Andrew Bogut

2006: Andrea Bargnani

2007: Greg Oden

2008: Derrick Rose

2009: Blake Griffin

2010: John Wall

2011: Kyrie Irving

2012: Anthony Davis

2013: Anthony Bennett

2014: Andrew Wiggins

2015: Karl-Anthony Towns

2016: Ben Simmons

2017: Markelle Fultz

2018: Deandre Ayton

2019: Zion Williamson

As you can see, the first #1 overall pick in NBA draft history was Clifton McNeeley back in 1947, while Zion Williamson was the most recent #1 overall pick in 2019. Some of the most notable #1 overall picks include Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Shaquille ONeal, and Anthony Davis.

Nationality of #1 Overall NBA Draft Picks

Finally, lets take a look at the nationality of #1 overall NBA draft picks throughout history. Out of the 74 #1 overall draft picks, 63 have been American-born players.

However, there have also been six Canadian-born #1 picks, one Bahamian-born #1 pick (Mychal Thompson), two Nigerian-born #1 picks (Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Olowokandi), one Australian-born #1 pick (Andrew Bogut), and one Canadian/Sudanese-born #1 pick (Thon Maker). In recent years, weve seen an increase in international players being selected in the NBA draft, but the majority of #1 overall picks have still been from the United States.

Will we see more international #1 picks in the future? Only time will tell.

Conclusion

In conclusion…Wait, we didn’t write a conclusion! Anyway, we hope that this article has been informative and that youve learned something new about the history of the NBA draft. Whether youre a die-hard fan or just someone who enjoys watching basketball from time to time, understanding the history of the #1 overall draft picks and which teams have had the most success with those picks is valuable knowledge to have.

3) NBA Teams with Most #1 Draft Picks

The NBA draft is a momentous occasion for all 30 NBA teams. Every year, they hope to strike gold and select a future superstar with their draft pick.

While its not always a guarantee, some NBA teams have had more success with their #1 draft picks than others. In this section, were going to take a closer look at the NBA teams with the most #1 overall draft picks in history, as well as by decade.

NBA Teams with the Most #1 Draft Picks Overall

As weve already discussed, the Boston Celtics have had the most #1 overall draft picks with seven. They stand alone atop the list of most #1 picks per team, but which NBA teams follow them in second place?

Lets take a look:

–Boston Celtics: 7

–Philadelphia 76ers: 6

–New York Knicks: 4

–Los Angeles Lakers: 4

–Cleveland Cavaliers: 3

–Washington Wizards: 2

–Detroit Pistons: 2

–Golden State Warriors: 2

–Orlando Magic: 2

–Portland Trail Blazers: 2

–Chicago Bulls: 1

–Houston Rockets: 1

–Los Angeles Clippers: 1

–Milwaukee Bucks: 1

–New Orleans Pelicans: 1

–Phoenix Suns: 1

–Sacramento Kings: 1

–San Antonio Spurs: 1

–Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder: 1

–Toronto Raptors: 1

As you can see, the Philadelphia 76ers are slightly behind the Boston Celtics with six #1 overall draft picks. The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers also have had a fair bit of luck with four #1 picks each.

Some teams like the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder, and Toronto Raptors have each only had one #1 overall draft pick in their history. NBA Teams with the Most #1 Draft Picks by Decade

Lets take a closer look at which NBA teams had the most #1 draft picks in each decade:

1940s: Boston Celtics (1)

1950s: Boston Celtics (2)

1960s: Boston Celtics (3)

1970s: Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers (2 each)

1980s: Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs (1 each)

1990s: Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks (1 each)

2000s: Cleveland Cavaliers (2)

2010s: Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers (1 each)

As you can see, the Boston Celtics dominated the #1 draft picks in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

In recent times, the Cleveland Cavaliers have had the most #1 picks in a single decade with two during the 2000s. Its interesting to see how different teams have had more success in different decades, and how the draft has changed over the years.

4) Notable #1 Overall NBA Draft Picks

Throughout NBA history, there have been many #1 overall draft picks who have gone on to have successful careers in the league. Some have even become NBA legends and achieved a great deal of success both individually and as part of a team.

In this section, were going to take a closer look at some of the most notable #1 overall draft picks in NBA history. Notable #1 Overall NBA Draft Picks in the NBA

Some of the most notable #1 overall draft picks in the NBA include:

–Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (picked in 1969 by the Milwaukee Bucks)

–Magic Johnson (picked in 1979 by the Los Angeles Lakers)

–Michael Jordan (picked in 1984 by the Chicago Bulls)

–Hakeem Olajuwon (picked in 1984 by the Houston Rockets)

–Shaquille ONeal (picked in 1992 by the Orlando Magic)

–LeBron James (picked in 2003 by the Cleveland Cavaliers)

–Dwight Howard (picked in 2004 by the Orlando Magic)

–Kyrie Irving (picked in 2011 by the Cleveland Cavaliers)

–Anthony Davis (picked in 2012 by the New Orleans Pelicans)

–Zion Williamson (picked in 2019 by the New Orleans Pelicans)

These players are among the most successful players in NBA history, and they all began their careers as #1 overall draft picks in the NBA.

Each of these players has achieved a great deal of success, including championships, All-Star appearances, and individual awards. Notable #1 Overall NBA Draft Picks and Their Achievements

Lets take a closer look at some of the notable #1 overall draft picks and their achievements in the NBA:

–Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 6x NBA Champion, 6x NBA MVP, 19x All-Star, and 10x All-NBA First Team

–Magic Johnson: 5x NBA Champion, 3x NBA MVP, 12x All-Star, and 10x All-NBA First Team

–Michael Jordan: 6x NBA Champion, 5x NBA MVP, 14x All-Star, and 10x All-NBA First Team

–Hakeem Olajuwon: 2x NBA Champion, NBA MVP, 12x All-Star, and 6x All-NBA First Team

–Shaquille ONeal: 4x NBA Champion, NBA MVP, 15x All-Star, and 8x All-NBA First Team

–LeBron James: 4x NBA Champion, 4x NBA MVP, 17x All-Star, and 13x All-NBA First Team

–Dwight Howard: 8x All-Star, 5x All-NBA First Team, and 3x NBA Defensive Player of the Year

–Kyrie Irving: 1x NBA Champion, 1x NBA All-Star Game MVP, and Rookie of the Year

–Anthony Davis: 1x NBA Champion, 8x All-Star, and 3x NBA Block Leader

–Zion Williamson: NBA All-Rookie First Team and NBA All-Star

As you can see, each of these players achieved a great deal of success in their NBA careers.

From championships to individual awards, these #1 overall draft picks proved to be worth the hype and expectations that came with being the top pick in the draft.

Conclusion

In conclusion (just kidding, we’re not writing a conclusion!), the NBA has a rich history of #1 overall draft picks who have gone on to achieve incredible success in the league. Some teams have had more luck with their #1 picks than others, but the draft is always a crucial moment in NBA history as teams hope to find their future franchise player.

From Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Zion Williamson, the #1 overall draft pick has proven to be one of the most important selections in NBA history.

5) Miscellaneous

In this section, were going to cover some additional information about the NBA draft as well as take a look at some notable #1 overall NBA draft pick busts.

Information about the NBA Draft

The NBA draft is an annual event where NBA teams select eligible players who have registered for the draft.

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