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Exploring the 5 best draft classes in NBA history

Exploring the 5 best draft classes in NBA history

The 2023 NBA Draft could go down as a special class, with talented prospects such as Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson, Brandon Miller and the Thompson twins as well as some interesting depth pieces.

But will it ever be considered one of the best draft classes in NBA history? That remains to be seen.

Today, we're going to identify the crème de la crème of NBA draft classes.

The 2003 NBA Draft

The 2003 NBA Draft featured multiple generational talents that would come to define the NBA for the next two decades. Led by LeBron James, this class also included household names such as Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Not only did this draft have star power, it was also very deep. Twenty-seven players from the 2003 class played at least 10 seasons in the NBA: James, Wade, Anthony, Bosh, Kyle Korver, David West, Zaza Pachulia, Nick Collison, Boris Diaw, Kendrick Perkins, Leandro Barbosa, James Jones, Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich, Dahntay Jones, Steve Blake, Mo Williams, Luke Ridnour, Willie Green, Matt Bonner, Travis Outlaw, Keith Bogans, Darko Milicic, Mickael Pietrus, Sasha Pavlovic, Josh Howard and Luke Walton. This class featured nine All-Stars and plenty of quality role players.

The 1984 NBA Draft

The 1984 NBA Draft stands as a legendary class, and some might argue that it's the greatest draft of all-time. Two of the top three picks — Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon — would ultimately etch their names in the annals of basketball history and redefine greatness. In addition to Jordan and Olajuwon, players like Charles Barkley, John Stockton and Alvin Robertson showcased their immense talent as well. This class produced five Hall-of-Famers and seven All-Stars.

The 1996 NBA Draft

The 1996 NBA Draft changed the landscape of the league, heralding the arrival of future Hall-of-Famers and icons. Led by the legendary Kobe Bryant and the enigmatic Allen Iverson, this class boasted an array of talent that reinvigorated the game. This class also featured Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Jermaine O'Neal, Ben Wallace, Stephon Marbury, Peja Stojakovic, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Antoine Walker, Marcus Camby, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Derek Fisher. The 1996 NBA Draft was deep, producing 10 All-Stars and five Hall-of-Famers. Jon Finkel recently revisited this star-studded class in his book "1996," and he ran a terrific excerpt on Basketball News.

The 1985 NBA Draft

The 1985 NBA Draft was certainly special. This class featured 10 All-Stars including Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin, Joe Dumars, Detlef Schrempf, Xavier McDaniel, Charles Oakley,  AC Green, Terry Porter and Michael Adams. The class also featured Arvydas Sabonis, an overseas legend and terrific Portland Trail Blazer. Like the 1996 NBA Draft, this class has the star power and depth to be considered one of the best drafts in NBA history.

The 2009 NBA Draft

While not as immediately illustrious as some of the other classes on this list, the 2009 NBA Draft proved to be a treasure trove of talent. This class exemplified the importance of patience and player development, as Stephen Curry, James Harden, Blake Griffin, DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday and Jeff Teague would all go on to become All-Stars. Griffin missed his rookie year with an injury, but dominated as soon as he stepped on an NBA court. Curry battled injuries early in his career, but would become a four-time champion and two-time MVP. Harden went from being an elite sixth man to an MVP once he got the opportunity in Houston. This class also featured Brandon Jennings, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, Darren Collison, Ty Lawson, Patty Mills, Danny Green, Taj Gibson and Patrick Beverley among others.

Which class is the greatest in NBA history? Tweet us your thoughts

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