NBA Draft Throwback: 5 most valuable picks since 2000
While young college stars look to forward to hearing their names announced at the NBA Draft on Thursday, the city of Cleveland is still recovering from the hangover of the long Championship parade that was conducted on Wednesday. The 2016 NBA Championship, won by the Cleveland Cavaliers was their first in franchise history and first in the city’s pro sports history since 1964, when Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns won the NFL.
With the NBA title, Cleveland also became the first team in league history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit in the Finals. Finals MVP LeBron James became the first player ever to lead the players on both teams in all five categories of points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. He averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 blocks and 2.3 steals while playing 42 minutes on the floor.
Despite all of the history, Cleveland would probably among the first cities to not undermine the Draft. Many key players of the 2016 Championship campaign were Cavaliers through the Draft, including their home state King LeBron James (2003 NBA Draft). Kyrie Irving (#1 overall) and Tristan Thompson (#4 overall) were both acquired through the Draft in 2011.
And with small ball being the most trending style of play, here’s a throwback draft edition of the most valuable and versatile picks since 2000:
#5 Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans, 2011
A 6 foot 10 inches forward with a 7’5.5” wingspan, who can shoot the mid-range jump shot and runs like the wind, is one of the dream bodies you envision for a basketball player. That’s Anthony Davis for you. At the age of 23, he already has 3 All-Star Game selections and 1 All-NBA First Team selection. In three of his four seasons so far, he has registered a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 25 or above, including a 30.8 during the 2014-15 season (age-22).
Davis was drafted number 1 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) after playing for a year under John Calipari at Kentucky. So what makes a four-year NBA player on the top 5 picks list since 2000 list?
Davis’ ability to be able to contribute to the team all across the board, which is basically what the PER suggest, is what makes destined for greatness. In his best year, the NBA’s 2014-15 season, he averaged 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.9 blocks (led the league), 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals in just 36 minutes on the court. Since that season, he’s had a couple of games where he comes mighty close to registering a quadruple-double.
In a double overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets, Davis registered 36 points, 14 rebounds, 9 blocks and 7 assists. As it can be seen, he was 1 block and 2 assists away from the remarkable achievement while scoring 36 as well. If the Pelicans can only build a respectable contending supporting cast around him, expect multiple league MVP trophies being raised by Davis in the future.