The NBA Draft offers NBA franchises the opportunity to pick promising prospects and improve their rosters. Having a top Draft pick gives a franchise the chance to select a talented young player or the leverage to pull off a trade for an established NBA pro.
Throughout the history of the competition, Draft nights have determined the futures of several franchises. On that note, let us have a look at the five greatest moves in NBA Draft history.
NBA Draft - 5 greatest moves in league history
A great move in the NBA Draft is not always about finding the best player available; it can also involve using a top pick to get the right veteran to fit a team's roster.
For example, the Golden State Warriors have the second pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. They could well utilize it to land an established player, as several other contending teams have done before.
Like the Golden State Warriors, other teams with talent on their rosters had high picks in the NBA Draft after torrid, injury-plagued seasons. An example in this regard is the 1996-97 San Antonio Spurs that managed to land Tim Duncan with the first pick in the 1997 NBA Draft.
So, without further ado, let us rank the five greatest moves in NBA Draft history that have gone on to change a franchise's history for the better.
#5 The Boston Celtics (Robert Parish and Kevin McHale) - 1980 NBA Draft
In the 1980 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics had the first and 13th picks which they used to land center Robert Parish from the Golden State Warriors in a trade that also gave them the third pick in the NBA Draft.
Golden State selected Joe Barry Carroll, who became a solid 20-point eight-rebound-per-game player for them but wasn't quite comparable with The Chief. The Utah Jazz picked up Darrell Griffith from Louisville, who won the Rookie of the Year among his class but did not make an All-Star Game in his career.
On the other hand, the Boston Celtics used the third pick on Kevin McHale, forming what became arguably the greatest frontcourt pairing in the history of the NBA. Parish and McHale, alongside Larry Bird and other stars, won three titles for the Celtics in the 1980s and entered the Hall of Fame.
#4 Dallas Mavericks (Dirk Nowitzki) - 1998 NBA Draft
In the 1998 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks drafted Robert Traylor from Michigan and traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks for their ninth pick, Dirk Nowitzki, and Pat Garrity (who they traded to Phoenix for Steve Nash).
While Traylor was a highly-ranked prospect, the move did not greatly benefit the Bucks, but it was an all-time great trade for the Mavs.
Nowitzki went on to play 21 years in Dallas, making the NBA Playoffs 15 times. The player led the franchise to their first NBA championship in 2011, earning Finals MVP recognition.
The NBA MVP is one of only seven players to score more than 30,000 points in league history and the only non-American to do so.