25. 2000 NBA Draft
Best pick: Michael Redd (43rd overall)
Worst pick: Marcus Fizer (4th overall)
With a combined total of three All-Star games and one All-NBA team selection out of the draft’s 58 players, it’s not a shock to call the 2000 draft the worst class of the past 25 years. Of the top 15 picks, only two remain active, and that’s only if you consider whatever it is Mike Miller is still doing on a basketball court as an “active player.” Michael Redd and Jamal Crawford were the true prizes of the class, while the aforementioned Miller, Kenyon Martin, Hedo Turkoglu, and Quentin Richardson played key roles on good teams throughout their respective careers. But with a “who’s who” of draft busts including Darius Miles, Stromile Swift, and Marcus Fizer, there just aren’t many redeeming qualities to this class.
24. 2013 NBA Draft
Best pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo (15th overall)
Worst pick: Anthony Bennett (1st overall)
What makes 2013 stand out from the pack is the lack of talent in the lottery picks. Of the 14 players drafted in the lottery, only Victor Oladipo, C.J. McCollum, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Steven Adams look to have promising careers ahead of them. Guys like Ben McLemore, Alex Len, and Cody Zeller don’t look like serviceable rotation players, and the jury remains out on whether Nerlens Noel can be an impact player. The best talents come from outside the lottery, with Antetokounmpo (15), Dennis Schröder (17) and Rudy Gobert (27) forming a solid threesome that will compete at a high level for the next 10 years. But when you have arguably the worst No. 1 overall draft pick of this millennium (Bennett), your place on this list can’t be too great.
23. 2016 NBA Draft
Best pick: Ben Simmons (1st overall)
Worst pick: Jakob Pöltl (9th overall)
Gauging how this class will do in the coming years is an impossible task, but on the surface, 2016 doesn’t seem to provide as much depth as recent years. Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram could end up developing into All-NBA players, but it’s difficult to find anybody else that could reach even an All-Star level. Malcolm Brogdon captured the Rookie of the Year award despite averaging a meager 10.2 points per game, which doesn’t exactly speak highly of this class. Every year, a few players in the class break out, whether it be because they were put into a good situation or that their game is better suited for the NBA, meaning only time will tell how this class stacks up. For now, placing them in this spot is short-selling the talent level a bit, but it’s only fair to the classes that have come before them.
22. 2002 NBA Draft
Best pick: Amar’e Stoudamire (9th overall)
Worst pick: Nikoloz Tskitishvili (5th overall)
Picks 1 (Yao Ming), 9 (Amar’e Stoudemire), and 10 (Caron Butler) were great. It was just the seven picks in between them that keep 2002 from being a dominant draft class. With names like Jay Williams, Dajuan Wagner and Chris Wilcox, the meat of the lottery picks didn’t provide much for the teams that spent valuable draft picks on them. Delving deeper into the draft, Carlos Boozer and Matt Barnes were the only second rounders that found any sort of sustained success throughout their careers, making this a fairly thin class overall.