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Kyrie Irving and LeBron James were first picks in some of the best NBA draft classes of all time

10 Best NBA Draft Classes of All Time: Which Year Produced the Most Stars

Choosing the best NBA draft class of all time is extremely difficult. The basketball league has a lot of talented players and many of them entered it through the drafting process.

However, several draft classes have had more stars than an average class. A lot of these players went on to lead their teams to championships and dominate the league for more than a decade.


Here are the 10 best NBA draft classes of all time.

#10 - 2011

Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler were both drafted in 2011 (Image via Getty Images)

The 2011 NBA draft class was widely regarded as one of the most talented and impactful in recent memory. This draft featured a plethora of young basketball talents who would go on to shape the league for years to come.


The 2011 draft was unique in that it took place during the NBA lockout, which resulted in a condensed season and limited preparation time for rookies. Despite this, many players turned out to be fantastic.

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All-Stars: Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Isaiah Thomas, Klay Thompson, Nikola Vucevic, Kemba Walker


#9 - 1960

Oscar Robertson was the most impactful player of the 1960 NBA draft class (Image via Getty Images)

The 1960 draft was significant because it was the first draft in which players from college teams were eligible to be selected, expanding the talent pool and setting the stage for future drafts. However, only players who graduated were eligible for the drafting process.

Furthermore, the league was in its early stages back then, and many players from the draft class helped it become very popular.

All-Stars: Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens, Lee Shaffer, Darrall Imhoff

#8 - 1987

The 1987 NBA draft class was headlined by Scottie Pippen and David Robinson (Image via Getty Images)

The 1987 NBA draft class was headlined by several future Hall of Famers, including David Robinson, Scottie Pippen, and Reggie Miller. It had numerous players who shaped the landscape of basketball.

David Robinson was the first pick in the draft, but he didn't play in the first two years due to his service in the Navy. Despite this, he still became one of the best big men of all time and he won two rings.

All-Stars: Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Reggie Miller, Horace Grant, Mark Jackson, Reggie Lewis, Kevin Johnson

#7 - 1979

Magic Johnson was the best player of his NBA draft class (Image via Getty Images)

The 1979 NBA draft class had many special players. Magic Johnson is arguably the greatest player in it, and some fans even believed that the LA Lakers legend saved the NBA.

The draft class had eight different All-Stars, which makes it one of the most influential drafts in the league's history.

All-Stars: Magic Johnson, Bill Cartwright, James Donaldson, Mark Eaton, Bill Laimbeer, Sidney Moncrief, Calvin Natt, Jim Paxson

#6 - 1998

The 1998 NBA draft class had many influential players (Image via Getty Images)

The 1998 NBA draft had only five All-Stars, yet most of them were notable superstars who gained millions of fans during their careers. While the first pick was Michael Olowokandi, who is mostly considered a bust, the best player of the class was arguably Dirk Nowitzki.

Paul Pierce was another fantastic player who spent a lot of time in the league, while Vince Carter is generally considered one of the most athletic players of all time.

All-Stars: Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Rashard Lewis, Antawn Jamison

#5 - 1970

Rudy Tomjanovich was drafted in 1970 (Image via Getty Images)

The 1970 NBA Draft class had 12 All-Stars, which is very impressive. However, it's also important to note that 239 players were picked in the draft, and that only 57 of them played in the NBA.

Essentially, 21% of the players who stepped on an NBA floor became All-Stars, a rare feat.

All-Stars: Rudy Tomjanovich, Tiny Archibald, Dave Cowens, Dan Issel, John Johnson, Sam Lacey, Bob Lanier, Pete Maravich, Calvin Murphy, Geoff Petrie, Charlie Scott, Randy Smith

#4 - 2009

Steph Curry has revolutionized basketball (Image via Getty Images)

The 2009 NBA draft had only six All-Stars, but one of them is Steph Curry. Thanks to his incredible shooting skills, he's completely changed the way teams play basketball.

Not only has Curry changed basketball, but he's also been the most successful player in his draft class. Besides him, James Harden has also been dominant, despite never winning a championship ring.

All-Stars: Steph Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Blake Griffin, James Harden, Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague

#3 - 1996

Kobe Bryant is the greatest player of his NBA Draft class (Image via Getty Images)

The 1996 NBA Draft class had many players that became legends. Most notably, it featured Kobe Bryant, another LA Lakers legend. Bryant spent his entire career with the Lakers, winning five championship rings.

Besides Kobe, the draft included many other fantastic guards, from Allen Iverson to Ray Allen. In total 10 players became All-Stars.

All-Stars: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Peja Stojakovic, Jermaine O'Neal, Stephon Marbury, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Antoine Walker

#2 - 2003

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are the best players from the 2003 NBA draft (Image via Getty Images)

The 2003 NBA Draft class featured many fantastic players who dominated the league for decades. LeBron James, the first pick of the draft, is still in the league and has shown no signs of slowing down in his 20th season.

The class also featured Dwyane Wade, one of the best shooting guards of all time, and Carmelo Anthony, a lethal scorer. In total, the draft class had nine All-Stars.

All-Stars: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Josh Howard, Chris Kaman, David West, Mo Williams, Kyle Korver

#1 - 1984


Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, was part of the 1984 NBA Draft class. Jordan was the third pick in the draft, but he ended up being one of the most successful players to ever play in the league.

The draft also featured many other players who established themselves as all-time greats, including Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and John Stockton. It had seven All-Stars.

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All-Stars: Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, Kevin Willis, Alvin Robertson, Otis Thorpe

Edited by
Asmir Pekmic
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