We will have continual coverage of the #AllTimeNBADraft as the draft progresses. Here is the first batch of analysis after the completion of the first round from Jacob Collins and Adi Joseph.
Jacob Collins (@JacobCollins34) is a guest analyst for this project, and has provided in-depth insight after the first round, and will have more after round three.
The First Round:
First three picks are Wilt, MJ, and……..TMac? Huge surprise coming early in the draft. With NBA history mainly being dominated by Centers and bucket getters it seems like TMac would not quite fit that mold. Not that McGrady wasn’t an amazing scorer (he was) or great facilitator (he was) it just doesn’t seem like he has the all-time numbers or playoff chops to go 3rd overall.
Rounding out the top 10 are Shaq, Larry Legend, Bill Russell, and Tim Duncan. The draft goes big! We are back in the 80s! Joe Dumars has two phones! Shaq has arguably the most dominant prime of any player in NBA history, Larry Bird is Larry Bird, Bill Russell and Tim Duncan are defensive geniuses who lead their respective teams to championships a decade apart.
C—4, SF—3, SG—1, PG—1, PF—1
Next three picks, (H)Akeem the Dream, KG, and Jerry West. Staying with the big man who can protect the rim them, Hakeem and KG are two of the best at it while also boasting great offensive games. So far big man has been the obvious cornerstone for teams drafting. The Logo going 13 seems low and about right at the same time. A notorious competitor may be discounted because of his losing finals record. Moses Malone comes in at pick 14. Having Moses as the first player on your team means that your team is very likely to get every rebound available.
The first steal of the draft comes with the 15th pick and Oscar Robertson. The man averaged a triple-double one season and is overall one of the most underrated players in basketball history. He is the LeBron archetype.
Picks 16 and 17 are in….Steph Curry and David Robinson. Steph being the 3rd Point Guard selected comes as a surprise but hey building your team around the guy who had the best shooting season of all time is actually a no brainer. The Admiral had a long and illustrious career that is probably underrated because he played in the Jordan era, played against Hakeem and Shaq without ever having as dominant of a peak, and was immediately succeeded by one of the greatest players in NBA history in Tim Duncan. The man played on the Dream team as a pseudo-veteran and then started on the team that won the 2003 NBA Finals.
Finishing up the first round are a few more guys that can put the ball in the basket. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Charles Barkley. Kobe has had some of the greatest individual seasons of all-time, KD had one of the most efficient scoring seasons in the history of the game, and Chuck robbed MJ of an MVP (and was robbed of an MVP by Magic Johnson). All three are great cornerstones.
C—7, SF—4, SG—3, PG—3, PF—3
- TMac at 3 (strong pick)
- Big O at 15 (fire emoji)
- No Karl Malone
- No Isiah Thomas (shouts to the Dream Team)
Bigs--exactly half of the teams have gone C/PF in the first round (with two of those Power Forwards nominally playing Center) and the other being Charles Barkley. This makes for an interesting case study as the league as presently constructed is going small.
McGrady, LeBron, Magic, Larry Bird, Steph, KD, and Chuck are all guys whose impact will not change because of the 2nd player selected on their team. Most are all great scorers, facilitators, and have another elite skill. The SG category that features MJ, Kobe, and West have three assassins. I can’t wait to see what the strategies will be for the next two rounds.
You’ll see me again after round three where the focus will be more on the specific teams (and how awesome the team names are) and how these legends will fit together. Can’t wait to do it again.
Adi Joseph spent time as an editor and NBA digital producer for USA Today and is now the deputy editor for Sporting News. Adi is a highly respected and credentialed NBA writer and we are honored to have him contribute his insight for this project.
Some Things From Adi Joseph:
Tracy McGrady had a really incredible prime, but the guy never even won a first-round playoff series. The only thing he does better than LeBron James is scoring, and the differences in IQ, defense, leadership, rebounding and passing are enough that it seems like a pretty dramatic mistake to take McGrady ahead of James.
Second, as much as I love Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, I would worry about them in a time-machine scenario compared to some of the players they were taken ahead of. Chamberlain in particular was the tallest player or second-tallest player in the NBA for most of his career.
Finally, I just think you start with Michael Jordan. Do you want Wilt Chamberlain quitting on your coach at the end of Game 7?
Stay tuned here for more analysis as we get further into the #AllTimeNBADraft.