NBA fans are always super excited about the draft night. And why not? There are so many fresh, young talented players with their unique skillsets joining the league. This is always worth the excitement.
Even before the draft night, speculation remains abuzz about which players are going to be superstars in the league. The top 10 draft prospects always steal the limelight, as most of the NBA superstars have been one of the top 10 picks.
However, there are some who did not let their draft position define their stardom. These five superstars were not talked about during their respective debuts. Very few enthusiasts knew about them and not a lot was expected out of them. But these dark horses outdid what the experts thought and ruled the NBA. They became so awesome that today their draft positions may be shockers to you.
Nope, the legendary Black Mamba was not the first pick of his draft class. He was not second or third pick, either. He didn’t even make the top 10! Kobe Bryant was drafted at the 13th position. He averaged 7.6 points in his rookie year, a total that rose dramatically to 15.4 in his second season and then kept climbing. He later went on to carve out an NBA legacy that deserves nothing less than reverence.
Draymond Green, who forms pretty much the backbone of Warriors' defence, was drafted at in the fifth position of the second round of 2012 NBA Draft, which was the 35th slot overall. He has since won two championships with the Warriors and was named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. Green has become the harbinger of a position-less era in the NBA where versatility is preferred over specialization.
Known for his defence on King James in 2014 NBA Finals, Kawhi Leonard was drafted away from the limelight at #15 overall in 2011. He later went on to win the NBA championship and the NBA Finals MVP award in 2014. Since then, Leonard has evolved into a lethal two-way player and an expert marksman from beyond the arc.
If I were to ask you the draft position of a four-time NBA champion, a two-time NBA All-Star, an Olympic gold medallist and someone whose name is synonymous with the deadly Euro step, you would probably not be thinking outside of the top 10. With all of these honours and many more, Manu Ginobili was surprisingly a second round pick in the 57th overall position back in 1999.
The return of this superstar to the Cleveland Cavaliers is probably the most awaited return this season. The two-time NBA All-star averaged 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game while shooting 46% from last season, and he led the Boston Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals. Thomas has proven that short guys can not only play basketball but be elite guards in the NBA. Shockingly, he was the 60th and final pick in the 2011 draft.