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The Best Player Drafted By Every NBA Team (Only Active Players)

Fadeaway World logo Fadeaway World 7/31/2022 Nick Mac
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The NBA draft is like a game of Russian roulette. One pick and your franchise’s future can either be set to build around and become successful or it can send that franchise into a tailspin. A good pick can energize a fanbase giving them hope for the future and excitement about their team once more. A lousy pick can send a fanbase into more profound despair with zero hope for brighter days. The NBA Draft is a beautiful time of the year but it can also have entire cities on edge waiting to see if they made the right move or not.

The teams and picks you see today fall on both sides of the spectrum I explained above. Some of these picks turned into franchise cornerstones. Some of them didn’t pan out as well as the team and fanbase would have hoped. Some of these players were even traded on draft day, catapulting a different franchise in a positive direction. Some of these players’ stories are still being written while others have cemented their legacy either with the team that drafted them or elsewhere.

Here are the greatest current players drafted by every NBA team.

Atlanta Hawks - Luka Doncic (2018 3rd Overall Draft Pick)

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Career Stats: 26.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 8.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG

Luka Doncic was drafted 3rd overall in 2018 by the Atlanta Hawks and immediately traded to the Mavericks on draft night for Trae Young. Mavericks fans like myself are eternally grateful. Now the trade happened to work out for both teams as Young and Doncic are 2 of the league’s greatest young talents. They have each elevated their franchises in their own unique way but Doncic might just be on a whole different level.

The Mavericks were desperately searching for answers with Dirk Nowitzki's career coming to an end. Enter Luka Doncic. Just 4 years into his young career, Luka had the Mavs back in serious championship contention in 2022. He has elevated the Mavs back into relevance with his incredible feel for the game, elite scoring, and other world-like playmaking. Just 4 years into his career and he already ranks 8th in Mavs franchise history in points and is the franchise’s all-time leader in triple-doubles. The draft night trade for Doncic could very well change the course of Mavericks history. All Mark Cuban and Nico Harrison have to do now are fill in the right pieces around their star.

Boston Celtics - Jayson Tatum (2017 3rd Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 20.9 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.7 BPG

Since entering the league in the 2017-2018 season, Jayson Tatum has made leap after leap en route to becoming a franchise cornerstone for the Boston Celtics. His scoring has improved every season and it isn’t just about numbers and statistics. It is the way that Tatum gets his buckets that has also improved. He has vastly improved his finishing at the rim shooting 74.1% from 0-3 feet in the 2021-22 season. He has evolved into a real three-level threat and one of the more serious offensive threats in the NBA.

The 2021-22 season was his best yet. Yes, his percentages from three dropped and he struggled in the NBA Finals with turnovers and shot selection. Let’s not let that distract us from how much his game has gotten better. Defensively he has become a near lockdown defender evidenced by his performance in the first round guarding Kevin Durant in a 4- series sweep against the Nets. Entering his 6th season the year after leading the Celtics to the Finals, Tatum is looking to establish himself as a Top 10 player in the NBA and hopefully become an NBA champion.

Brooklyn Nets - Brook Lopez (2008 10th Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 16.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.8 BPG

Brook Lopez spent the first 9 seasons of his career with the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets. He quickly became one of the greatest players in franchise history. He is the team’s all-time leader in points, field goals made, blocks, and offensive win shares. He is just one of two players in Nets history to score over 10,000 points with the franchise. Year after year, even when battling injuries, Lopez improved his game and became more versatile.

Lopez had 4 different seasons where he averaged at least 20.0 PPG and 5.0 RPG as a Net. He made the only All-Star appearance of his career back in the 2012-13 season when he averaged 19.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 2.1 BPG. These days Brook Lopez is a member of the Milwaukee Bucks where he starts as the team’s center alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo. He has regressed a bit into a 12.0 PPG and 4.0 RPG kind of player but provided a big spark to the Bucks on their 2021 title run. Lopez averaged 13.0 PPG and 5.9 RPG in the 2021 playoffs and earned the first NBA championship of his career.

Charlotte Hornets - Kemba Walker (2011 9th Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 19.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.4 BPG

Kemba Walker isn’t just the Charlotte Hornets’ best current player drafted, he is probably the franchise’s greatest player ever. Walker began his career with 8 seasons with the Bobcats/Hornets. He ended his tenure as the franchise’s all-time leader in minutes, field goals made, three-pointers, free throws, points, and offensive win shares. He made three All-Star teams and peaked in 2019 when he averaged 25.6 PPG and 5.9 APG while playing all 82 games.

Since being traded to the Celtics in 2020, Walker has had a few ups and downs. He was an All-Star again his first season in Boston with 20.4 PPG and 4.8 APG. However, since 2020, Walker has failed to appear in more than 56 games with the Celtics and Knicks. Knicks Head Coach Tom Thibodeaux couldn’t seem or didn’t want to find a spot for him in his rotation in 2022 and he was shut down pretty much after appearing in just 37 games. Recently he was traded on draft night by the Knicks with Jalen Duren to the Pistons where he is expected to be bought out and seek employment elsewhere.

Chicago Bulls - Derrick Rose (2008 1st Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 18.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 5.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Every time I have to write about Derrick Rose’s time with the Chicago Bulls I think I shed a little tear. Rose’s career was supposed to be one of the greatest we had ever seen from a point guard. It was certainly on that type of trajectory when he became the league’s youngest MVP in history at just 22 years old in 2011. That season he was a 25.0 PPG and 7.7 APG player who led the Bulls to the best record in the East with a 62-20 record. Then 2012 came when Tom Thibodeaux left him in a playoff game just a little too long in a blowout victory.

Now, Derrick Rose has had some great moments since the injury but never returned to the MVP form he once was in his MVP season. As NBA fans, we were robbed of his peak which makes every victory he has had since just so much more rewarding to see. His 50-point game in 2018 felt like we saw him win a championship and the raw emotion Rose showed afterward was felt by all of us. Even though he could never be the player he was before, he is still by far the greatest Bulls player that is currently active in the NBA.

Cleveland Cavaliers - LeBron James (2003 1st Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 27.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG

On and off the court, LeBron James is the greatest player to ever come out of Cleveland. Never mind what he did to bring them to relevance in his first stint with the Cavaliers, James brought home the first major sports championship in the city’s history. LeBron has an argument to go down as the greatest player to ever live and his story began and peaked with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In one of the greatest NBA Finals performances of all time, James brought the Cavs back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat one of the greatest teams ever assembled. He averaged 29.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG, and 8.9 APG.

At 38 years old, James is still putting up ridiculous numbers, nearly winning a scoring title in the 2021-22 season. He has won 4 championships with 3 different franchises in his career. Wherever he goes, immediately that team is a contender to compete for a title. As he gets set to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record, LeBron seems to have only one thing on his mind. Get back to the playoffs and bring the Lakers one more championship before he rides off into the sunset. It’s a shame that such a great career may be coming to an end in just a few years but man, what a ride it has been.

Dallas Mavericks - Trae Young (2018 5th Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 25.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 9.1 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG

As discussed earlier, the second half of the Luka Doncic draft night trade was the Atlanta Hawks' acquisition of Trae Young. Since entering the league, Young has wowed audiences with his unbelievable shooting range and natural knack for playmaking. Maybe the most impressive thing about Young is his ability to thrive in hostile environments. With fans spitting at him in Madison Square Garden and hurling personal insults, “Ice Trae” had no issues stepping up and sending them packing in the 2021 NBA playoffs.

The 2020-21 NBA playoffs were the best playoff run of his young career. He led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals behind averages of 28.8 PPG and 9.5 APG. Even though he shot just 31.3% from three, Trae seemed to hit every big shot in crunch time that the Hawks needed to regain momentum. The 2021-22 season for the Hawks ended in disappointment but Young had the best season of his four in the NBA. He averaged 28.4 PPG and 9.7 APG on 46/38/90 splits. Trae Young is the future in Atlanta for sure and with the addition of new backcourt teammate Dejounte Murray, fans in Atlanta are chomping at the bit to get the season started.

Denver Nuggets - Nikola Jokic (2014 41st Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 19.7 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.7 BPG

When the Denver Nuggets selected Nikola Jokic 41st overall in 2014, I don’t think even they knew what kind of steal they were getting. After a quiet first 3 seasons to start his career, Jokic has developed into a back-to-back MVP and a top 2 center in basketball. His 4 All-Star selections are synonymous with his 4 All-NBA Team selections and he has earned the title of the best big man passer the game has ever seen.

Let’s take a look at Jokic’s historic MVP seasons. In the 2020-21 season, Jokic put up 26.4 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 8.3 APG. Towards the end of the season, Denver lost their 2nd best player in Jamal Murray and Jokic was still able to lead them to the 3rd seed in the West. A year later, Murray still wasn’t back and Denver lost rising star Michael Porter Jr. to back issues as well. Jokic put the team on his back and averaged 27.1 PPG, 13.8 RPG, and 7.9 APG while leading the Nuggets to the 6 seed without any real help. As we head into 2022-23, we anxiously anticipate what Jokic has for us as a follow-up to his amazing past 2 seasons.

Detroit Pistons - Khris Middleton (2012 39th Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 17.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Khris Middleton spent just one season with the team that drafted him in which he only appeared in 27 games. In the offseason of 2013, Middleton would be traded to the Bucks with others for Brandon Jennings. I bet Detroit wishes they could have that one back as Middleton has developed into an All-Star and NBA champion with a clutch gene that shows up on the biggest of stages. I mean Middleton’s play was so good in the 2021 playoffs, that Kendrick Perkins even called Middleton Batman to Giannis’s Robin.

The past 5 seasons have been the meat of Middleton’s development. He has matured into a consistent 20.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 5.0 APG player. In the 2020-21 playoffs that saw the Bucks win their first championship since the 70s, Middleton stepped up big time and they probably don’t win without him. He averaged 23.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 5.1 APG while shooting 41.7% from the field. Sorry, Pistons fans.

Golden State Warriors - Stephen Curry (2009 7th Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 24.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG

No one knew that Stephen Curry would be the greatest shooter to ever live when the 2009 NBA Draft rolled around. The Minnesota Timberwolves certainly didn’t. All Curry has done since entering the league is become a 4x champion, 2x MVP, 1x Finals MVP, and the all-time leader in three-point field goals. Again, Curry is another player who we all know doesn't shy away from the big moment. He thrives in it and wants the ball in his hands late in the game no matter the result.

Stephen Curry’s 2016 season that saw him named the league’s 1st ever unanimous MVP was one of the greatest single-seasons ever. He led the league in scoring with 30.1 PPG and also led the league in steals with 2.1 SPG despite being known as a relatively negative defender. Even with 2 MVP seasons under his belt and 4 titles, 2021-22 was the most important season for his legacy. When the Warriors were counted out by pretty much every media pundit and expert analyst, Curry led the Warriors to their 4th championship in 8 years while finally grabbing his 1st Finals MVP award. When most thought he wouldn’t be as successful as he has been in his career, the Warriors helped to mold him into one of the greatest to ever play.

Houston Rockets - Rudy Gay (2006 8th Overall Pick)

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Career Stats:16.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.7 BPG

Rudy Gay had all the tools when coming into the league to be one of the best scorers we had seen. He was fluid, agile, athletic, and fast. When he was working toward the basket he was pretty much unstoppable with his Durant-like ability to use his length to rise above defenders and get his shot off. He showed his ability as a defender as well when focused on using his length to disrupt passing lanes regularly.

He was drafted by the Rockets and then traded to Memphis Grizzlies for Shane Battier. In Gay’s first few seasons with Memphis, he developed into a 19.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG star for them. After a short stint in Toronto, Rudy moved on to Memphis where he kept his scoring prowess and upped his game to a peak 21.1 PPG scoring average in 2015. It is hard to believe that Rudy Gay is getting ready to turn 36 and is on the last legs of his career but it was quite the ride to watch.

Indiana Pacers - Kawhi Leonard (2011 15th Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 19.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.6 BPG

Imagine being the team that traded Kawhi Leonard for George Hill on draft night. That is exactly what then Pacers GM Larry Bird did. All Leonard did to respond was go on to become one of the best two-way players in NBA history while being a 2x Finals MVP. Leonard has always been a defensive stopper tasked with taking on an opponent’s best player. It is his developing offense that has made him an all-time great.

In Leonard’s 3rd season in the NBA, he became a Finals MVP with the San Antonio Spurs. It was his defensive efforts that won him the prestigious award but in 2019 with the Toronto Raptors, it was both his defense and offense that came into play. The Toronto Raptors had Kawhi Leonard for one season and in that season, they made history. Kawhi led the Raptors to their only title in franchise history behind Finals averages of 28.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, and 2.0 SPG. We anticipate his return to the Clippers lineup in the upcoming 2022-23 season. Can he lead the 3rd franchise to a championship and take home a 3rd Finals MVP award?

Los Angeles Clippers - Blake Griffin (2009 1st Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 19.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 4.1 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG

When the Clippers selected Blake Griffin 1st overall in the 2009 draft, they had hoped he would be a franchise changer, and they were right. It seemed like every night Griffin was making SportsCenter’s Top 10 with another highlight reel dunk. He was explosive and built like a brick wall with hops that were out of this world. In his first 5 seasons with the Clippers, Griffin was named an All-Star and a member of 4 All-NBA teams.

The Clippers hadn’t had much luck with draft picks in recent history before Griffin made his debut. I mean, Elton Brand was pretty good but never to the levels that Blake Griffin reached. He helped the Clippers reach new heights with division titles and higher expectations than ever before. Even though it may have not worked out for the best, the buzz that Griffin brought around the city for the Clippers was a game changer for a franchise that was desperately clinging to life.

Los Angeles Lakers - Brandon Ingram (2016 2nd Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 18.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 5.6 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG

Brandon Ingram lasted just 3 seasons in Los Angeles with the Lakers before he was shipped out to New Orleans in the blockbuster deal that sent Anthony Davis back in return. His 3rd and final season with the Lakers was the first glimpse at his true potential as a rising star in the league. He averaged 18.3 PPG and 5.1 RPG that season shooting 49.7% from the field overall.

Since arriving in New Orleans, Ingram’s game has reached another level. In his first season with the team, he was selected to his first All-Star team and averaged 23.8 PPG and 6.1 RPG on 46.3% shooting. His best performance with the Pelicans however came this past season in the playoffs. In the first-round series against the Phoenix Suns, Ingram averaged 27.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 6.2 APG. The arrival of CJ McCollum has helped Ingram tremendously to take the pressure off of him to be their primary option with Zion Williamson out due to injury. Ingram looks primed to make it back to the All-Star Game and even more important to make the Pelicans playoff contenders once again.

Memphis Grizzlies - Ja Morant ( 2019 2nd Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 21.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 7.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG

After completing just his 3rd season in the NBA, Ja Morant has made the Memphis Grizzlies look like geniuses for selecting him 2nd overall in 2019. The potential showed itself in his rookie and sophomore seasons but in his 3rd year, Ja made the leap from star to superstar. He made it look effortless as he led the Memphis Grizzlies to be true contenders in the West with a 56-win season and a 2nd place finish in the conference.

In 2021-22, Morant took home the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, and rightfully so, although he won’t tell you that. Ja has much higher expectations for himself but fans know just how special this past season was. He averaged 27.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 6.7 APG for the Grizzlies while leading a very young team to the 2nd round of the playoffs. Sure, he struggled with some injuries but that doesn't take away from the season that was. If the first 3 years of his career are a sign of things to come then look out for the young start in 2022-23.

Miami Heat - Bam Adebayo (2017 14th Overall Pick)

Career Stats: 13.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.9 BPG

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After a slow start to his career in Miami, Bam Adebayo has flourished into an integral part of the Heat’s recent success. The first 2 seasons of Adebayo’s career saw him mostly come off the bench in South Beach with little to no impact. When he was finally named a starter in the 2019-20 season, he blossomed into an All-Star. It is not his impact on offense that has pushed Miami to the top of the Eastern Conference standings, but his ability to defend every position on the court that stands out.

Adebayo is a center trapped in a power forwards frame but that doesn’t matter when it comes to his play on the court. He can easily switch onto guards at the perimeter and have no problem slowing down their production. At the same time, he can control the paint on defense making big men’s lives miserable and trying to get things going. Although his defense is the glaring strength for him, Adebayo did average a career-high 19.1 PPG in 2021-22 and is improving every year. Many greats have come through Miami but there is no better active player drafted by the franchise than Bam Adebayo.

Milwaukee Bucks - Giannis Antetokounmpo (2013 15th Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 21.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 4.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.3 BPG

Giannis Antetokounmpo has certainly come a long way from the skinny kid out of Athens, Greece drafted in 2013. Since then, he has bulked up and taken over the NBA claiming the top spot as the league’s best player. His first 3 seasons in Milwaukee were met with growing pains and even rumors of his departure amid a lack of team success and failure to build around their budding superstar. Since 2018, Giannis has averaged a minimum of 26.9 PPG and 10.0 RPG en route to claiming 2 MVPs, 1 Defensive Player Of The Year, 1 championship, and 1 Finals MVP.

Giannis has always been incredible on the defensive side of the ball nearly making it impossible for opponents driving the lane to have an easy basket. It is his offense that continues to rapidly improve even as we head into 2023. His 202-21 playoff run is one of the all-time greats even when met with a gruesome injury that would sideline most human beings for an extended period. After dropping the first 2 games in the 2021 NBA Finals to Phoenix, Giannis had seen enough and reached a whole different plane of NBA greatness. He averaged 35.2 PPG, 13.2 RPG, and 5.0 APG including a 50-point performance to close out the series. He took home the Finals MVP award and gave the Bucks their first title since the days of Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar.

Minnesota Timberwolves - Karl-Anthony Towns (2015 1st Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 23.2 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 3.1 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.4 BPG

In a few years, we may be having a conversation about the best current player drafted by the Timberwolves but for now, it remains Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns has emerged as one of the league’s best big men improving in every aspect of his game, especially on offense. Towns has emerged as one of the best shooting big men the league has ever seen shooting 40.0 % from three 3 separate times in his career including 2021-22. It has been more than that to propel him to the top of the league’s center rankings with his insatiable appetite to win and drive to the basket.

The only other player to have more success driving to the hoop than Towns in 2021-22 was Giannis. Incredible company to be a part of. After dealing with tremendous loss in his family during Covid-19, Towns had a resurgent season in 2022. He averaged 24.6 PPG, 9.8 RPG,3.6 APG, and 1.1 BPG. The Timberwolves found themselves in the playoffs for the first time since 2018 and left fans excited about the future despite a first-round exit. With the offseason addition of Rudy Gobert, the sky's the limit for Minnesota and Towns will be at the center of it.

New Orleans Pelicans - Chris Paul (2005 4th Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 18.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 9.5 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG

There is no way around it, Chris Paul is one of the best point guards to ever play this game. It all started in New Orleans where he transformed before our very eyes into one of the most outstanding two-way guards in the league. With the Hornets, he led the league in assists twice and steals 3 times. He has the best offensive year of his career with the Hornets when he averaged 22.8 PPG, 11.0 APG, and 2.8 SPG. in 2009. His assists and steals led the league that year.

Since leaving the Hornets, Paul has still playing two-way ball at an elite level. He has led the league in steals three times as well as assists including a spectacular 2021-22 season. In 2021, he had the Suns just 2 wins from his 1st NBA championship but fell just shy thanks to a man named Giannis. In 2021-22, Paul kept it up even at 37 years old. He led the league in assists once again and averaged 14.7 PPG and 1.9 SPG. The window could be closing on his chance at a ring but with Phoenix’s talent, anything is possible for them to be right back in contention.

New York Knicks - Kristaps Porzingis (2015 4th Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 18.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.9 BPG

Kristaps Porzingis has all the tools in the world to be one of the league’s best bigs. He just cannot keep himself healthy enough to stay on the floor. Porzingis has not played more than 57 games in a season since 2017 including a year hiatus due to a torn ACL. When he was with New York for the first 3 seasons of his career is when all the previously mentioned tools were on full display. He was named an All-Star for the only time in his career with the Knicks in 2018 averaging 22.7 PPG.

Since being traded to Dallas in 2019, Porzingis has struggled to remain healthy but when on the court is still living up to “The Unicorn” nickname. He can still give you 20.0 PPG and 8.0 RPG when available which is a nearly priceless piece to have on a roster. Dallas traded Kristaps to the Wizards at this year’s trade deadline to Washington where he appeared in just 17 games. In those 17 contests, he put up 22.1 PPG and 8.8 RPG while shooting 47.5 % from the field. He appears to be in the Wizards’ plans as of now and with Bradley Beal’s contract extension has the potential to form a dominant duo depending on both players’ health.

Oklahoma City Thunder - Kevin Durant (2007 2nd Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 27.2 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.1 BPG

The first 9 seasons of Kevin Durant’s career were spent with the team that drafted 2nd overall in the 2007 NBA Draft. During that time he became one of the most feared scorers in league history. He won 4 scoring titles and an MVP award while pushing Oklahoma City to the brink of a championship on more than one occasion. Durant is truly a special talent the likes of which we had never seen beforehand. A 7-footer who can handle the ball like a guard and knock down jumpers at an extremely efficient rate. It is nearly unguardable.

The way things ended with the Thunder was not ideal when he left for Golden State in the summer of 2016. It paid off though to the tune of 2 championships and 2 Finals MVPs. Despite a setback with a torn Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals, Durant has stayed consistent as one of the league’s top players. Now in Brooklyn with the Nets, he is looking to finally get back to championship glory. Can he and Kyrie stay together long enough to reach that goal together?

Orlando Magic - Dwight Howard (2004 1st Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 15.7 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.8 BPG

As basketball fans, we all remember the dominant force that was Dwight Howard with the Orlando Magic. He was a 3x Defensive Player Of The Year, 6x All-Star, 4x rebounding champ, and a 2x blocks leader. He was unstoppable on both ends of the floor. No one could contain him on offense and he wasn’t the man you wanted to see across from you on defense. When you are consistently putting up 20.0 PPG 10.0 RPG or more, and over 2.0 BPG, you have to be considered one of the best to ever grace the court.

Although he was robbed of a spot on the NBA’s Top 75, Howard’s impact on the game does not go unrecognized. Basketball was dying in Orlando before Howard came along and saved it. He made the Orlando Magic perennial championship contenders and it culminated in 2009 with a trip to the NBA Finals. Howard averaged 20.9 PPG and 15.3 RPG with 2.6 BPG in the 2009 playoffs and although it ended in heartbreak, Howard was able to hold his head high. Who knows? Maybe in 15 years, we will be talking about Paolo Banchero as the best player to be drafted by the Magic.

Philadelphia 76ers - Joel Embiid (2014 3rd Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 26.0 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.7 BPG

As of 2022, Joel Embiid has established himself as a Top 2 center in basketball. He is a versatile scoring threat who brings an intensity and passion for the game that the City Of Philadelphia just loves and gets behind. For his size, his athleticism and footwork are on a different level which helps him as a disruptive pain presence, grab rebounds, and get high-percentage baskets.

In the 2021-22 season, Embiid became the first center to lead the league in scoring since Shaq in 2002. He finished 2nd in MVP voting behind Nikola Jokic, sparking debates worldwide about comparisons between the two. He is just 1 of 3 active players to average 20.0 PPG and 10.0 RPG for the entirety of his career. If all "The Process” ends up producing is Joel Embiid’s career, then we as basketball fans should just be grateful to have witnessed it.

Phoenix Suns - Devin Booker (2015 13th Overall Pick)

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Career Stats: 23.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.7 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Over the past 7 seasons, we have watched Devin Booker develop into a serious three-level offensive threat. His scoring is flawless, able to pick apart opponents at the basket, from the mid-range, and three-point range as well. Since his 2nd season in the league, Booker has been able to consistently put up 22.0 PPG or more every season, making him one of the league’s premier shooting guards.

The past 4 seasons of Booker’s career have been the biggest evidence of his elite status. He has earned it by averaging at least 25.0 PPG each year. Alongside Chris Paul, Booker’s playmaking has taken a huge leap forward as well. He can find his spots as good as anyone else in the league but if his shot isn’t there he can also find his teammates for good open looks. He is at his best when he puts the ball on the floor and heads toward the hoop. He can either stop on a dime and rise for a shot that he loves or kick to his teammates for an open look when the defense inevitably collapses on him. Without Booker, The uns aren’t finalists in 2021 and they certainly wouldn’t be contenders moving forward.

Portland Trail Blazers - Damian Lillard (2012 6th Overall Pick)

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Fadeaway World Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Career Stats: 24.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG

One of the most exciting players of the past decade has been Portland’s, Damian Lillard. He is an electric scorer, savvy playmaker, and as clutch as anyone to ever pick up a basketball. Not to mention that his loyalty is unmatched across the NBA, especially in this era. He also happens to be one of the most efficient high-usage playmakers in all of basketball.

After an injury-plagued 2021-22 season, Lillard is looking to return to form for Portland in 2023. The Blazers are a better basketball team when he is on the floor and what team wouldn’t be? In his last full season, Lillard averaged 28.8 PPG and 7.5 APG. In 2021, he shot 63% from the field in clutch situations and there is almost no one in basketball you would rather the ball be in their hands than “Dame Time”. As we move into 2022-23, I know that all basketball fans are looking forward to seeing him back at full strength.

Sacramento Kings - DeMarcus Cousins (2010 5th Overall Pick)

Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Fadeaway World Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Career Stats: 19.6 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.1 BPG

At his peak with the Sacramento Kings, DeMarcus Cousins was considered the league’s top big man and one of the very best overall. He was a walking video game stat line, usually putting up numbers that resembled an NBA2K stat line in easy mode. He was a bully in the paint, unwilling to back down from any challenge that opponents threw at him. When he finally started to hit his stride, there was simply no stopping him.

Before an Achilles injury completely changed the trajectory of his career, Cousins was a consistent 26.0 to 27.0 PPG scorer and double-digit rebounder. Not only was his offense unstoppable, but his defense began to shut down opposing bigs at a high clip too. He was never afraid to get physical or get his grievances off his chest at any given time. “Boogie” could have been classified as an all-time great with the path he was on. Injuries can just break your heart sometimes.

San Antonio Spurs - Dejounte Murray (2016 29th Overall Pick)

Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Fadeaway World Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Career Stats: 12.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Dejounte Murray is coming off of the best season of his professional career thus far in 2021-22. Under the tutelage of Coach Gregg Popovich, Murray has become one of the best young two-way point guards in the NBA. In 2021-22, he led the league in steals with an average on 2.0 SPG. More than his defensive efforts, his offensive game has become much more polished and well-rounded.

Murray has a career-high 21.1 PPG in 2021-22 and 8.3 RPG along with 9.2 APG. his leadership skills were on full display too. He became the go-to guy in San Antonio, often being the one they would turn to in clutch situations. Even though it didn’t always end well, he still always wanted the ball which speaks volumes about the leader he is. Murray does most of his damage from the mid-range although his abilities as a finisher and creator have improved vastly. Now with the Hawks after an offseason trade, I know I am one of the ones who cannot wait to see what they create together.

Toronto Raptors - DeMar DeRozan (2009 9th Overall Pick)

Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Fadeaway World Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Career Stats: 20.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG

As far as consistency goes, DeMar DeRozan is towards the top of the list of current players. He is excellent as a scorer, Above average as a defender, and one of the most reliable in clutch situations. Eben though he has never been known as a consistent three-point shooter, DeRozan can change the flow of a game in many other ways, He is deadly from the mid-range and has one of the quickest first steps in the game that often makes defenders look lost.

Another thing that goes unnoticed by others from DeRozan is his toughness. He never goes away from contact, always going right at a defender’s chest ready to draw contact and finish through it. In 2021-22, DeRozan had a resurgent season of sorts. After 4 All-Star seasons with the Raptors, he found himself back in the mid-season classic with the Bulls after a 3-year stop in San Antonio. His first season in Chicago saw him average a career-high 27.9 PPG to go with 5.2 RPG and 4.9 APG. Heading into 2023, he will be looking to lead the Bulls back to the postseason once more to compete in a heavily loaded Eastern Conference.

Utah Jazz - Gordon Hayward (2010 9th Overall Pick)

Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Fadeaway World Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Career Stats: 15.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.4 BPG

The first 7 seasons of Gordon Hayward’s career were spent in Utah with the Jazz where he did eventually prove himself to be an All-Star caliber player. It wasn’t without some growing pains though. Hayward struggled early on to insert himself as a mainstay in Utah’s lineup. With hard work and the right guidance, he would become a premier player and All-Star for the Jazz in 2017.

The 2016-17 season saw Hayward average 21.9 PPG and 5.4 RPG. The season earned him a lucrative contract with the Boston Celtics which saw him team up with Kyrie Irving in Beantown. Unfortunately, Hayward’s start to his Celtics career was short-lived after he suffered a gruesome leg injury on opening night against the Cavaliers. Hayward has fought back and found a new role with the Charlotte Hornets as a complimentary scorer next to LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier. In 2021-22, Hayward averaged 15.9 PPG. Although it was a drop from 2021, Hayward still shows flashes of the potential he showed early in Utah.

Washington Wizards - Bradley Beal (2012 3rd Overall Pick)

Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Fadeaway World Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Career Stats: 221. PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG

Over the past decade, Bradley Beal has become one of the best scorers in the entire NBA. He is reliable as they come from all 3 scoring levels and shows zero signs of slowing down. Beal has been particularly efficient from within the three-point arc, shooting over 50.0% from that range every year since 2016-17. He has also become a premier distributor among combo guards in the league, ranking in the 90th percentile in assist percentage.

The 2021-22 season wasn’t the best given Beal’s horrible wrist injury that ended his season early. The Wizards would like to see their $248 million man return to his 2020-21 form. That season, Beal averaged 31.3 PPG on 45.3% shooting overall. If he can combine his newfound passing skills with his elite scoring of the past, the Wizards will be in good shape in a very competitive Eastern Conference. 

Next

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