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Top 10 NBA Draft Picks of the Decade

Wed, 12/30/2009 - 2:18am

As the final hours of 2009 come upon us, NBADraft.net has taken to listing off the best picks of the past decade. The list is based on the value a player provided at his given pick spot in the draft. For instance, an All-Star picked 15th is more common than a starter picked 50th.

Tomorrow, we'll have the 10 worst picks of the decade. For now, enjoy:

Michael ReddMichael Redd1. Michael Redd - 43rd pick in the 2000 draft by Milwaukee
Career stats: 20.3 ppg, 19.8 PER, 1x All-Star

The merits of some of the other players on this list may be greater than Redd's, but the former All-NBA third-team shooting guard lasted all the way until the middle of the second round of the worst draft in the lottery era. The bottom line is this: when healthy, Redd is one of the league's best sharpshooters. Without injuries, he could have followed right in line behind his mentor Ray Allen for the Bucks. But even with the injuries, the former Ohio State star was clearly the best player in the 2000 draft, an absurd and arguably unprecedented feat for such a low pick. Redd was a gold medalist for Team USA in 2008, one of just two players not selected in the first half of the first round to represent America in the games, joined by another player on this list. Injuries have slowed Redd down dramatically in 2009, but he still serves as a shining reminder of how valuable a second-round pick can end up being.

2. Tony Parker - 28th pick in the 2001 draft by San Antonio

Career stats: 16.7 ppg, 5.6 apg, 18.4 PER, 3x All-Star, 1x Finals MVP

I think it's fair, at this point, to say Tony Parker is now known as more than Eva Longoria's main squeeze. The French point guard has taken home three NBA Championships with the Spurs, starting for each title squad. He even stole an NBA Finals MVP trophy from Tim Duncan. To call it laughable that Parker was picked at the end of the same first round in which Kwame Brown was selected first overall is putting it mildly. These days, the 180-pounder has put a trademark on his tear drop shot in the lane, a big part of why he manages to consistently shoot nearly 50 percent from field goal range (his career mark is 49 percent). Parker has even continued developing his passing skills, a testament to the fact this guy is just 27 years old.

3. Carlos Boozer - 34th pick in the 2002 draft by Cleveland
Career stats: 17 ppg, 10 rpg, 20.7 PER, 2x All-Star

The other member of the "Redeem Team" that went for Olympic gold in Barcelona, Boozer's career path is not unlike Redd's. Similarly, he's never been one of the league's most exhilarating players to watch, but with a steady hand and hard work, Boozer has become among the league's most consistent. One of the most intruiging aspects of Boozer's career was that he went from second rounder to starter by the middle of his rookie season. By his second year, he was a budding All-Star playing next to the game's great new superstar, LeBron James. While it would have been great to watch them develop together, the 28-year-old former Dukie has grown into a star in his own right playing with Deron Williams in Utah, and the future remains bright.

4. Gilbert Arenas - 30th pick (second round) in the 2001 draft by Golden State
Career stats: 22.7 ppg, 5.6 apg, 20.6 PER, 3x All-Star

A crucial NBA talking point this season has been a discussion of whether Gilbert Arenas's time as a star in this league has expired. If it has, he's already exceeded expectations. The Warriors drafted Arenas out of Arizona not sure whether they were getting a point guard or a shooting guard or a combo guard who would never adjust to the NBA game. Turns out, they got a unique talent with a flair for the dramatic and a huge chip on his shoulder, one which only grew when he was shipped to Washington. Injuries essentially stole two years from Arenas's prime and have limited the signature quickness that made him unguardable in the past, but he remains one of the league's most exciting and unpredictable players.

5. Josh Howard - 29th pick (first round) in the 2003 draft by Dallas
Career stats: 15.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 17.7 PER, 1x All-Star

I fully expect, 10 years from now, to look back on Howard's career and never be sure how good he was or wasn't. With the Maverick offense centered around Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry, and opponents doing the same, Howard has emerged as a key cog but hardly a superstar for the Mavs. There are times when he looks completely dominant and others where he blends in and plays his part. In seemingly every phase of the game he qualifies as "above average." It was that lack of stand-out ability and potential that kept him from the top of a super-talented draft class. But it has been that versatility keeping him as a starter in this league.

6. Rajon Rondo - 21st pick in the 2006 draft by Boston (via Phoenix)
Career stats: 10 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.3 rpg, 1.8 spg, 16.7 PER

We've long understood that greatness, in the NBA at least, is defined by playoff performances. We'll never see Mitch Richmond in the same light as Reggie Miller. And we'll always think of Rajon Rondo as the guy who put up three triple-doubles in two harrowing series last spring. Rondo finished the 2009 playoffs with averages of 16.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 9.8 assists in 41.2 minutes per game. In doing so, he made a serious argument for his status as the most valuable player on a team known for its "Big Three" - a group Rondo is noticably missing from. And to think, this is a guy whose draft rights were traded by the Suns for a pick they later traded for journeyman James Jones and cash.

7. Danny Granger - 17th pick in the 2005 draft by Indiana
Career stats: 16.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 17 PER, 1x All-Star

Granger has averaged 25.5 points per game the past two seasons. While it's worth keeping in mind that he essentially asked to carry a bad Pacers team on a nightly basis, that number speaks for itself on some level. After a serious slip on draft night, one that saw several significantly worse swingmen drafted ahead of the powerful shooter, Granger has played with intensity and grace, proving too big in the post for most small forwards while stepping outside and burning power forwards. He's a scoring machine and still has room to grow.

8. Monta Ellis - 40th pick in the 2005 draft by Golden State
Career stats: 17.1 ppg, 3.7 apg, 1.5 spg, 16.3 PER

Similar to Granger, Ellis scores at a fairly unbelievable clip. But Ellis is even more a product of his team. The perfect fit for Warrior coach Don Nelson's fun-and-gun system, Ellis has taken off as an unrestrained gunner. He flings shots with reckless abandon and runs the offense -- if you can call four shooters and a combo-guard at the point an offense -- with great confidence, if not hubris. For Ellis to make the jump to true star -- and he certainly has that potential at just 24 years old -- the former high school pick will have to be reeled in occasionally. But for now, sit back and watch the show.

9. Mehmet Okur - 37th pick in the 2001 draft by Detroit.
Career stats: 13.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 17.4 PER, 1x All-Star

The same year the Jazz brought in Boozer, they brought in Okur. The results have been just as steadying. The Turkish import is an absolute model of consistency, providing a great perimeter shooting from the center position and decent rebounding and team defense. That he was an All-Star may have been an issue of voters putting too much weight into statistics, but Okur is a valuable commodity for an offense with a star post player and a lack of shooters, particularly in the starting lineup.

10. Mo Williams - 47th pick in the 2003 draft by Utah

Career stats: 13.8 ppg, 4.8 apg, 15.8 PER, 1x All-Star

Williams made his name subbing for the oft-injured T.J. Ford in Milwaukee. Ford was a stud in college and a top-10 pick; Williams earns the right to be called the latest pick to make it onto this list. You don't expect much out of players picked in the draft's final quarter, and you certainly don't expect a perfect running mate for an MVP. Williams has given the Cavs a scoring point guard and a stabilizing force, though he does need to step his game up in the playoffs.

Honorable mention; Marc Gasol (48th pick in 2007), David Lee (30th pick in 2005), Kevin Martin (26th pick in 2004), Paul Millsap (47th pick in 2006), Tayshaun Prince (23rd pick in 2002), Luis Scola (55th pick in 2002), Gerald Wallace (25th pick in 2001), Josh Smith (17th pick in 2004)

Basketball-reference.com used as a reference for statistics. 

The Hoops Manifesto
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Parker/Boozer

I probably would have put Parker and Boozer over Redd on this list, but then again I'm not a big fan of Redd. Regardless, he was a nice pick at No. 43 in one of the worst drafts of all-time.

Jeff Fox
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the I in win
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i don't think danny granger

i don't think danny granger should be on the list he only has had 1.5 good seasons

knicksfreak
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Trevor Ariza

He deserves at least an honorable mention at pick #43.

Mr. Basketball
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wheres manu?

wheres manu?

goldenshots
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Manu Ginobli

Yah I was expecting Ginobli top 3 at least, but then I realized, he was drafted in 1999, 1 YEAR before the decade....

Adi Joseph
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At this time next year, I

At this time next year, I may be more willing to add Ariza. Though maybe honorable mention would have been good for him.

And yes, Ginobili was 1999. He would have been first on the list had he not been. In the last 20 years, I would say Ginobili and Kobe Bryant were the best choices. No player of an elite level has been taken as low as Bryant since Karl Malone, and Bryant has eclipsed even Malone.

As far as Redd as No. 1, I think the big thing to me was that Redd was actually the unquestionable best player in his draft class and taken later than Parker and Boozer.

In regards to the Granger comment, that's just silly. In his second year, he averaged 13.9 ppg, by his third he was up to 19.6. Yes, he's taken off in the past two seasons. But he's been good for quite some time.

Grandmama
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Ellis

The way Monta Ellis is playing and the future he has, and also being picked 40th....I'd have to say he should be #1. Redd was nice for a few years, but only had 1 all-star appearance and is strictly a jump shooter. He doesn't create offense for his teammates nor does he play a lick of defense. Although he's accomplished a little more than Ellis, he's done this because he's been around longer. Ten years from now after it's all said and done, Ellis will easily be regarded as the better NBA player.

You can say the same thing about Granger, he also will have the better career.

Looking at this list I would also put Parker, Arenas, and Boozer over Redd....and wouldn't think twice

thunderforthewin
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Kyle Korver for honourable

Kyle Korver for honourable mention
51st pick in 2003 draft

bobbyb
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cdr

cdr

0211355
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2003 draft

tht was not the worst draft of all time tht was the second best draft of all time cus of the majors stars wade,lebron,melo

bdoody42
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Error in article

When talking about The Redeem Team The author says the Olympics were played In Barcelone, he must have meant Beijing. Barcelona was 1992 lol.

Opppss

Otherwise good article but would not have voted Redd number 1.

auber
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Hello, what about Rashard

Hello, what about Rashard lewis? How are Gilbert, Parker, Boozer, Redd, and Arenas on this list over lewis. Astonishing to say in the least that Mo Williams of all people has had a better NBA career in terms of draft position than Rashard lewis.

Redd's not the highest. He was just really the only guy who actually did something with his game in the nba from the horrendous 2000 draft class.

kacey
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Lewis was drafted in 1998

Rashard was selected in the 98 draft.

sunshipballoons
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Top 10 picks?

Are you kidding me? This might be a list of the 10 players who were drafted the most below where their eventual careers justified. I could pick nits (I totally disagree that Ellis is just a product of Nelson's system -- he'd excel on almost any team). But it's probably a pretty good list overall.

In my opinion, however, there is no question that Lebron James was the best pick of the past decade. He's clearly the best player to come into the NBA in the last decade. Who cares that he was drafted #1? Still the best pick. Hands down.

Sheed36
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I would put Josh Smith,

I would put Josh Smith, Gerald Wallace and Prince higher, but anyway its a nice list

Adi Joseph
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I see your argument, auber,

I see your argument, auber, and it was one strongly considered. This list is being viewed as the best value picks of the decade more than anything. With LeBron, no one missed him. He simply wasn't available.

But definitely there is a case for Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul, along with several other top-10 picks. I decided it would be best to push them aside for this purpose, which was to kind of remember the brilliant late picks, the guys who really exceeded all expectations.

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Darko?

Wait a minute your missing Darko on this list. The guy was clearly the best pick of the decade hahahahahahahah

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Jon_Pastuszek
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D-Wade

Surprised that D-Wade isn't on here.  Remember, at the time, Pat Riley took varying degrees of criticism for taking the undersized, poor-shooting Wade over Kaman, Lampe, Hinrich and even T.J. Ford and Pietrus.  And the Wade pick was even more gutsy because it was made in the face of non-stop trade rumors that had been swirling around the no. 4 pick in the weeks leading up the Draft.

We forget, but the consensus was that Riley reached on Wade.  Maybe it's not in the mold of Redd, Parker, Boozer etc., he at least deserves to be top 10. 

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