The top 10 Draft Steals in NBA History - Fan Arch

The top 10 Draft Steals in NBA History

The top 10 Draft Steals in NBA History

The NBA Draft is a highly anticipated event where teams select the best young talent to join their rosters. While some players are chosen at the top of the draft and go on to have successful careers, there are others who slip through the cracks and become unexpected gems for their respective teams. These players, known as draft steals, often exceed expectations and make a significant impact in the league. In this article, we will explore the top 10 draft steals in NBA history.

1. Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls, 1984 - 3rd Overall)

It's hard to believe that Michael Jordan, widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time, was not the first pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. The Houston Rockets selected Hakeem Olajuwon and the Portland Trail Blazers chose Sam Bowie before the Chicago Bulls grabbed Jordan with the third overall pick. Jordan went on to win six championships, five MVP awards, and became a global icon.

2. Kobe Bryant (Charlotte Hornets, 1996 - 13th Overall)

Kobe Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and one of the most skilled players in history, was selected 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1996 NBA Draft. However, he was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant's impact on the game, his numerous accolades, and his fierce competitiveness make him one of the biggest draft steals of all time.

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks, 2013 - 15th Overall)

Giannis Antetokounmpo, also known as the "Greek Freak," was taken with the 15th pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2013 NBA Draft. At the time, he was a raw prospect from Greece with unlimited potential. Fast forward a few years, and Antetokounmpo has become a two-time MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and led the Bucks to their first NBA championship in 50 years.

4. Dirk Nowitzki (Milwaukee Bucks, 1998 - 9th Overall)

Dirk Nowitzki, a 7-foot-tall forward from Germany, was chosen ninth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1998 NBA Draft. However, he was immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks, where he would spend his entire 21-year career. Nowitzki revolutionized the power forward position with his shooting ability and versatility. He won an MVP award and led the Mavericks to their first NBA championship in 2011.

5. Kawhi Leonard (Indiana Pacers, 2011 - 15th Overall)

Kawhi Leonard was selected 15th overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2011 NBA Draft, but he was quickly traded to the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard developed into one of the best two-way players in the league, winning two NBA championships and two Finals MVP awards with the Spurs and the Toronto Raptors. His impact on both ends of the court solidifies him as a draft steal.

6. Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs, 1999 - 57th Overall)

Manu Ginobili, a left-handed shooting guard from Argentina, was the 57th overall pick by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1999 NBA Draft. Ginobili brought a unique style of play to the NBA, with his crafty moves, clutch performances, and relentless competitiveness. He won four NBA championships with the Spurs and is widely regarded as one of the best international players in NBA history.

7. Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors, 2012 - 35th Overall)

Draymond Green was selected with the 35th pick by the Golden State Warriors in the 2012 NBA Draft. Despite being undersized for his position, Green's versatility, defensive prowess, and basketball IQ made him an integral part of the Warriors' dynasty, winning three championships alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

8. Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns, 1996 - 15th Overall)

Steve Nash, a two-time MVP and one of the best point guards of his era, was chosen 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 1996 NBA Draft. Nash's exceptional playmaking skills and shooting touch made him a fan favorite and a key contributor to the Suns' high-octane offense. He was a seven-time All-Star and a true floor general.

9. Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs, 2001 - 28th Overall)

Tony Parker, a lightning-quick point guard from France, was selected 28th overall by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2001 NBA Draft. Parker's speed, agility, and ability to finish at the rim made him a perfect fit for the Spurs' system. He won four championships with the team and was named the Finals MVP in 2007.

10. Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls, 2011 - 30th Overall)

Jimmy Butler, a hard-nosed shooting guard/small forward, was chosen 30th overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2011 NBA Draft. Butler's work ethic, defensive intensity, and ability to take over games propelled him to stardom. He has since become a multiple-time All-Star and led the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals in 2020.

The NBA Draft has produced numerous draft steals throughout its history. These players, though not selected at the top of their respective drafts, have gone on to make a significant impact in the league and etch their names in basketball history. Whether it's Michael Jordan's dominance, Kobe Bryant's killer instinct, or Giannis Antetokounmpo's rise to superstardom, these draft steals have left an indelible mark on the NBA.


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