5 Hard Decisions With No. 1 Pick In NBA Draft History
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(CBS) The NBA Draft takes place Thursday evening, and as of late Wednesday afternoon, the Cavaliers were reportedly still torn on whether to use the top overall pick on Kansas wing Andrew Wiggins or Duke forward Jabari Parker.
It’s not the first time a team holding the No. 1 overall pick had a tough decision to make. Here’s five other instances when an extremely difficult choice awaited at No. 1 overall, with a quick look at what happened.
1984 — Rockets select Hakeem Olajuwon over Sam Bowie, Michael Jordan
Revisionist history always finds its way back to this draft. While Houston made a shrewd selection in future Hall of Famer and two-time NBA champion Olajuwon, a little part of that front office always has to wonder what could’ve been if they’d drafted the greatest player to ever play in the NBA. Then again, at least they bypassed Bowie, a bust, in addition to Jordan.
1996 — 76ers select Allen Iverson over Marcus Camby, multiple Hall of Famers
This draft class was one of the deepest in NBA history — Kobe Bryant went 13th overall, for goodness sake. The 76ers had the top pick, and they had a plethora of talented individuals to choose from. They took the dynamic Iverson over big man Camby, who was followed by Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen and Antoine Walker. The pick worked out for Philadelphia and, at least initially, most teams involved in the lottery of this draft.
2001 — Wizards select Kwame Brown over Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol
This one’s on Jordan. After his illustrious career, Jordan was Washington’s president of basketball operations and oversaw this pick. The pure power and youth of Brown never panned out, while Chandler and Gasol became All-Stars, Olympic standouts and anchored NBA champions. Big miss by MJ.
2007 — Blazers select Greg Oden over Kevin Durant
It was the classic dominant big man-vs.-stud scorer conundrum. Oden was as polished as a college freshman center would come and capable of changing the game at both ends, but he had an injury history. Durant was otherworldly at filling the scoring column, but he was skinny and didn’t affect a game on the defensive end. Portland chose Oden, and we all know how that’s turned out. He sat the bench — again — almost this entire season while Durant won the league’s MVP award.
2013 — Cavaliers select Anthony Bennett over Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladipo
Oh, look at that! The Cavs find themselves in a tough position for the second straight year. Last year, they bungled the pick, surprising everyone by taking Bennett — who was disastrous for most of his rookie season — over a plethora of other players who either A) had higher ceilings B) proven more or C) had higher ceilings and had proven more. It was admittedly a poor draft, but Victor Oladipo looks to have a bright future, while Noel, who sat out the season with an injury, still looks to have the athleticism and instincts to leave his mark in the NBA.