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Magic Johnson, LeBron James Among Five Most Valuable No. 1 Draft Picks Of All-Time

Magic Johnson, LeBron James Among Five Most Valuable No. 1 Draft Picks Of All-Time NBA History

The NBA Draft is the first step to building successful championship dynasties. How did the Chicago Bulls win six NBA titles in eight years? They had drafted Michael Jordan, who went on to be known as, arguably, the best player the game has ever seen, with the third overall pick in the 1984 Draft. Therefore, as we welcome in new talent into the league with the upcoming 2017 Draft, let’s take a look back at the top five No. 1 Draft picks of all-time:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee Bucks/Los Angeles Lakers

WATCH: Montage of Kareem’s unstoppable move – the skyhook

Drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one on the most durable 7-footers the league has ever seen. After a 20-year career, he sits atop the league’s scoring charts with 38,387 points and was named an All-Star a record 19 times. He along with LeBron James are one of only two players to be named the Finals MVP for two different teams – Milwaukee Bucks (1971) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1985).

Standout Stat: Won the league MVP award a record six times.


Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers

WATCH: Magic Johnson’s top 10 career assists

Drafted in 1979 by the Los Angeles Lakers

In a relatively short 13-season career, Magic Johnson, the versatile 6-9 ‘point’ guard, showed why he’s a winner. Johnson became a 5-time NBA Champion, 3-time league MVP, 3-time Finals MVP, 12-time NBA All-Star while leading the league in career assists average (11.2).

Standout Stat: The only rookie in NBA history to be named Finals MVP.


Shaquille O’Neal, Orlando Magic/Los Angeles Lakers/Miami Heat

WATCH: Shaquille O’Neal ultimate career mixtape

Drafted by the Orlando Magic in 1992

One of the most physically dominant centers the game has ever seen. In a 19-year career where he played for six teams, Shaquille O’Neal won four NBA Championships (Lakers -3, Heat -1) and was named an All-Star 15 times. O’Neal is one of only two players to win three straight NBA Finals MVP awards.

Standout Stat: He is one of only three players to win the league MVP, All-Star Game MVP and Finals MVP in the same year (2000).


Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

WATCH: Tim Duncan and his trademark Bank Shot

Drafted in 1997 by the San Antonio Spurs

Tim Duncan is considered possibly the greatest power forward of all-time. He was the pivotal reason behind the Spurs’ historic record-setting success of 20 straight Playoff appearances (tied for third all-time). A two-time league MVP, Duncan is one of only two NBA players (John Sally) to win championships in three different decades (1999, 2003, ’05, ’07, 2014).

Standout Stat: Duncan’s Spurs made the NBA Playoffs in each of the 19 seasons he played for the franchise.


LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers/Miami Heat

WATCH: LeBron James’ 2016 Finals series highlights

Drafted in 2003 by the Cleveland Cavaliers

There shouldn’t be any discussion about this, right? Well, that is the case with most of these picks. LeBron James is one of only two players to make it to seven straight NBA Finals since the Boston Celtics of the 1960s. He has four league MVP’s’ to his name (tied for 4th all-time) and is the only player to take two franchises to four NBA Finals.

Standout Stat: Only player in NBA history to lead both teams in all major stats categories (pts, rebs, asts, stls, blks) in a Finals series – 2016.

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