Ranking the Top 5 NBA Draft Classes

In the words of the ageless Jennifer Lopez: “Waiting for tonight, I’ve dreamed of this love for so long.”

Ah yes, Draft Day is upon us. A brimming young crop of hoopers will have their lives forever changed tonight. Draft Grades, thinkpieces and deep dives are surely on their way. For now, however, I will bless you all with the top 5 NBA Draft Classes of all time.

Honorable Mention – Class of 1985

Oh boy. A class with Patrick Ewing and Karl Malone finishing outside of the top 5? My Twitter mentions are going to take a beating tonight. Let me explain my choice.

Quick Hitters:


5 HOFers

10 All-Stars

The Patrick Ewing Theory

Titleless Malone and Ewing


Upon first glance, this draft is tight. Chris Mullin, The Mailman (El Cartero for my spanish speaking friends), The Other Half of the Bad Boys Backcourt aka Joe Dumars, Oakley, and of course Ewing…this is a stacked lineup. Throw in the OG Sabonis, AC Green and Terry Porter and we’re not looking bad. So why are they not in the top 5?

2x MVP Karl Malone never won a title and I am firm believer in the Ewing Theory. The theory states that teams actually play better when X player is injured or not playing for some reason. Mr. Ewing, you lose the “Pat” in your name, good sir. You can earn it back when you win a title as a head coach with Georgetown.

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5. Draft Class of 2009

Edgy, provocative, and relevant. You are really bringing it today, Espo.

My case:

(Soon to be) 3 MVPS

The First Ever Unanimous MVP

6 All-Stars

4 potential Hofers

Blake Griffin Phenomenon

Best Shooter of all time


I’m all in. While it lacks depth, this draft class is top heavy. Steph can go down as a top 15 player of all time and the best person to ever shoot a basketball. Harden single handedly transcended what it means to be a modern shooting guard and will go down as a top 25 player, at worst. Demar Derozan is on track for at least a couple more All-Star game appearances, bringing his total to somewhere around 6 or 7, with some All-NBA honors as well. And then there’s Blake.

An enigmatic figure, nobody is quite sure what to do with Griffin nowadays. How he fits in the NBA’s future is unclear but I do know this, the BG phenomena period was real. My man was jumping over KIAs, slyly throwing water on fans and actually created a new place called Lob City. Oh, and there’s this.


Nah but for real, having Steph and Harden in the same class brings this one into the top 5.

4. Draft Class of 1987

What’s the sitch?


4 HOFers

7 All-Stars


7 points

Some dude who hit 8 points in 9 seconds


Ight, fam.

The Admiral. Pippen. Miller Time. Reggie Lewis (RIP). Kevin “The Mayor” Johnson. Horace Grant. Mark “That’s Just Playoff Basketball” Jackson. 4th on this list seems right for this bunch.

3. Draft Class of 2003

Sorry again, Twitter mentions.

The skinny:

4 MVPs (All LeBron’s)

9 All-Stars

Way of Wade

Hoodie Melo

Oh and the 1st or 2nd best basketball player of all time


History has not been kind to this draft class yet, I still have it ranked at 3rd all-time. LeBron and Wade carry this group. The King is well…the King. People forget just how dominant The Flash was during his early years. Dude came back 0-2 in the Finals and carried his squad. He is a top 5 shooting guard of all-time, probably top 3. What holds them back?

Current NBA society is starting to declare Carmelo, gulp, overrated. Perhaps I am starting to see it too. His ball-stopping, ISO offensive firepower has grown out of style in today’s game. Plus, he just did not win meaningful games. Unfortunately, Bosh and his illness has also set this group back a bit. But guess who is still going strong…my man Kyle Korver!

2. Draft Class of 1996

Don’t shoot me, Kobe Bryant.



3 HOFers

Top 3 shooter of all time (Ray Allen)

11 All-Stars


The culture savior to MJ, Kobe “Bean” Bryant

A handful of weird Nash MVPS

Allen “Practice?” Iverson


There is a lot to love, here. The NBA went through an early 2000s talent drought. Wally Szczerbiak was an All-Star and that dude has a pair of Zs in his name that are way too close together. Kobe brought the NBA back to life, both on and off the court. The Black Mamba was the cultural savior needed to socially revive a Jordan-less NBA. AI was a hard-to-not-love figure who simply made the NBA a players league, making it okay to have a personality. Steve Nash was a wizard. No hate here.

1. Draft Class of 1984

How could I not?

The Scoop:

7 MVPs

4 HOFers

7 All-Stars


A guy who brought the NBA out of a 1970s lull…

…who happens to be the best player of all time…

…and arguably the most well known athlete ever

Olajuwon was dope too

¼ of the TNT crew

Short shorts God


Do I even need to do a write up? I’ll let the GIF do the writing for me.

MJ shrug.gif