The National Basketball Association’s first overall pick is the participant who is selected first one of all eligible draftees by a team during the annual National Basketball Association (NBA) draft. The pick is given to the team that wins the NBA draft lottery; in most cases, that group had a losing record in the preceding season. The team with the first pick attracts significant media attention, as does the player who’s selected with that selection.
First picks have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award: Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (album six-time winner), Bill Walton, Magic Johnson (three-time winner), Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan (two-time winner), LeBron James (four-time winner), and Derrick Rose (youngest winner).
Since the advent of the draft lottery in 1985, seven number one entire picks have won an NBA title. They’re LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Glenn Robinson, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Andrew Bogut, and Kyrie Irving.
China’s Yao Ming (2002) and Italy’s Andrea Bargnani (2006) are the only two players with no aggressive experience in the United States to be drafted first overall. Eleven other international players with U.S. college experience have been hailed overall–Mychal Thompson (Bahamas) in 1978, Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria) in 1984, Patrick Ewing (Jamaica) in 1985, Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands) in 1997, Michael Olowokandi (Nigeria) in 1998, Andrew Bogut (Australia) in 2005, Kyrie Irving (Australia) in 2011, Anthony Bennett (Canada) at 2013, Andrew Wiggins (Canada) in 2014, Ben Simmons (Australia) at 2016, and Deandre Ayton (Bahamas) in 2018. Duncan is an American citizen, but is considered an”international” participant by the NBA because he wasn’t born in one of the fifty states or the District of Columbia. Ewing had double citizenship when he had been drafted and Irving and Simmons had dual citizenship when they had been drafted.
Be aware that the drafts between 1947 and 1949 were held by the Basketball Association of America (BAA). After absorbing teams in the National Basketball League in the fall of 23, the Basketball Association of America became the National Basketball Association. Official NBA books include the BAA Drafts within the NBA’s draft background.
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