The NBA Drafts are the ceremony where NBA teams select young players for their franchise. They may be role players, All-Star, Hall of famers or a bust. Nonetheless, these are the players who make or break a franchise.
Among these drafts, there are certain times when the Draft Class is loaded with talent. The potential of the draft might have been unknown at that time but their performance on the court shows their achievements since the day they had gotten drafted.
The 1996 draft was one such draft which was loaded with talent and potential. This draft had 5 Hall of Famers, 8 All-NBA players and a total of 68 All-Star Appearances. In short, the draft class was way more than just talented. They broke through their ceiling and contributed to the NBA. Some of these players are discussed below:-
The 1st pick of the draft, Allen Iverson was simply brilliant. He was drafted to the Philadelphia 76ers. Iverson’s offensive ability was a sight to watch especially his sick crossovers. He became an All-Star 11 times, was a 4 times scoring champion, an MVP, 2 times All-Star MVP and so forth.
There are numerous stories about Iverson; his crossover and basket on Jordan, his step over on Tyron Lue during the NBA Finals of 2001, his interview on practice and so on. Iverson finished his Hall of Fame career with averages of 26.7 ppg, 6.2 apg and 3.7 rpg, getting inducted in the year 2016.
Selected with the 5th pick of the draft, Ray Allen was more than the sharpshooter we know today. His array of skill set included him attacking the rim, taking jumpshots from the midrange and making clutch shots.
He developed into a lethal sharpshooter after he got traded to the Seattle SuperSonics. Allen was a 10 time All-Star and a 2 time NBA Champion. He was first in the All-Time 3 pointers made which was broken by Stephen Curry this season. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the year 2018.
The next on the list is the Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant. He was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th overall pick and was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe was the embodiment of the Lakers as he brought 5 championships to Staples Center.
There are endless Kobe Stories that can be told. His challenge with Jordan, his 81 point game against the Raptors, his 65 points in Madison Square Garden and so on. His constant thirst for basketball skills made him most feared and respected in the league. He finished his career with 25 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 4.7 apg.
He made 18 appearances in the All-Star Team, won the Finals MVP 2 times, one time MVP, won the All-Star MVP 4 times, 2 times scoring title, 15 All-NBA selections and 9 All-Defensive selections. Such a resume is a dream come true for any NBA player. This shows the amount of work and dedication he has put on the Basketball court and the results it yield. He got inducted into the Hall of Fame at 2020 and his idol Michael Jordan gave the enshrinement speech on his behalf.
Steve Nash was the definition of a player who turned his career around with one trade. He was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 15th pick. His passes were charismatic and beautiful to look at. The Phoenix Suns’ offence got the name ‘7 seconds’ all thanks to Nash running the offence.
He was an 8 time All-Star, 5 time assist champion, 2 times MVP and 7 All-NBA selections. Nash finished his career with averages of 14.3 ppg, 8.5 apg and 3 rpg, getting inducted to the Hall of Fame in the year 201
Ben Wallace was the only player who is in the Hall of Fame despite going undrafted. He was picked up by the Washington Bullets. He was known for his ability on the defensive end of the floor because of his shot blocking and his rebounding ability despite being just 6 feet 9 inches tall.
It was with the Detroit Pistons that his defense was appreciated. He became a 4 time Defensive Player of the Year, a 4 time All-Star, an NBA Champion, 2 time rebounding leader and one block leader. He got inducted into the Hall of Fame in the year 2021.
There are other players who are not in the Hall of Fame but made an impact in the NBA. Stephon Marbury, Peja Stojakovic, Jermaine O’ Neal, Antoine Walker and Shareef Abdur Raheem. Such talent in a single draft is unprecedented. Thus it can be concluded that the 1996 Draft was the greatest of All-Time.