Top 30 Post-Lottery First Round Draft Picks
Ranking the absolute steals since 1989.
25. Doug Christie | Drafted by Seattle SuperSonics | 1992 Draft | 17th Overall
A combo guard who did a little bit of everything, Christie was selected 17th in the 1992 Draft by the Sonics. His career really started to take off once he was traded from the Knicks to the Raptors during his fourth season in the League. His career numbers of 11.2 points 4.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists aren’t stellar but I still remember watching him with the Sacramento Kings and seeing the passion with which he played the game and how hard he worked on the defensive end, where he averaged 1.9 steals per game over the course of his career.
24. Wilson Chandler | Drafted by New York Knicks | 2007 Draft | 23rd Overall
Along with Jefferson, Chandler is the type of player who has shown consistency and potential to rise up this list. The multidimensional wing can score from the mid-range and attacks the basket powerfully in the up-tempo pace for the New York Knicks and has increased his scoring averages each of the three seasons he has played. Over time Chandler might prove to be most useful on the defensive end of the floor, as he is capable of guarding a wide array of players because he is tall, quick and strong. He wasn’t so highly touted when he left DePaul University after his sophomore season and was drafted 23rd by the Knicks overall, but he is proving he can be a great role player for the right team.
23. Al Jefferson | Drafted by Boston Celtics | 2004 Draft | 15th Overall
In his six seasons so far Jefferson has shown the capability to become a nightly 20-10 guy (which he has done three of the last four years). A dominant center in high school, Jefferson averaged 42.6 points, 18 rebounds and 7 blocks per game but he still fell out of the lottery in 2004, where he was scooped up by the Celtics 15th overall. Jefferson has shown a perfect amount of production and potential over his six years in the League to make this list and he should keep rising towards the top as long as he doesn’t get content. Next season he will be running the pick-and-roll offense with premier point guard Deron Williams while Jerry Sloan should enhance his development as a player in his system.
22. Mookie Blaylock | Drafted by New Jersey Nets | 1989 Draft | 12th Overall
Known for being a ball-hawking, lockdown defender, Blaylock averaged 2.3 steals per game and finished his career with 2,075 career steals—good for 11th all time. After being selected 12th overall by the New Jersey Nets in the 1989 Draft, Blaylock went on to play for the Atlanta Hawks in his prime and finished up with a three-year stint in Golden State, retiring in 2002. His career numbers of 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists compliment his steal numbers well enough to get him on to this list.
21. Danny Granger | Drafted by Indiana Pacers | 2005 Draft | 16th Overall
Even though the 6-7 small forward averaged over 16 points for his college career while improving his field goal and 3-point percentages in practically every year, Granger had to wait until the 16th pick in the 2005 Draft to hear his name called. The smooth shooting forward was not on the national radar as much as some of the other prospects because he played in two mid-major conferences for Bradley and New Mexico State, but this should serve as a lesson that any player who looks the part of an NBA player and improves his shooting numbers year after year, he’s probably going to find a way to score at the next level. Granger has been solid so far and has a lot of potential as a scorer to continue to improve.
20. Gerald Wallace | Drafted by Sacramento Kings | 2001 Draft | 25th Overall
Wallace is a do-it-all player who leaves it all on the floor. The wiry and ultra athletic small forward/power forward was selected 25th in the 2001 Draft by the Kings, which was based purely on athleticism and upside as he averaged just 9.8 points and 6 rebounds per game in his single season at Alabama. Unfortunately for the Kings, they did not get to see Wallace morph in to the All-Star caliber player that he is today in Charlotte where last season he averaged a career best 18.2 points per game to go along with 10 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks while hustling the floor like a mad man, hence his nickname “Crash.”
19. Kevin Martin | Drafted by Sacramento Kings | 2004 Draft | 26th Overall
Following a career in which he became the fourth leading scorer in Western Carolina history, Martin was drafted 26th by the Sacramento Kings in the 2004 NBA Draft. If Martin were to have similar success in the NBA, his best shot was to emerge as a scorer and that is exactly what took place in his third season in the League, averaging just over 20 points per game for the year and making himself in to a valuable commodity in the process. He continued to improve his numbers for two more years and signed a five-year, $55 million contract which he is in the middle of right now, although he was shipped to the Houston Rockets in the middle of last season for the remainder of his deal.
18. Vlade Divac | Drafted by L.A. Lakers | 1989 Draft | 26th Overall
The Yugoslavian center was a magician with the ball. He was an awesome passer, could shoot the rock out to 20 feet with consistency and banged down low. Pretty much, Vlade did a little bit of everything he could when playing the game and made a substantial development from the time he came in to the League after being drafted 26th in 1989 by the Lakers to when he was playing against them as a starting center for the Kings. The Lakers took a flyer on the young Yugoslavian not knowing that he would help to create more of a global image for the game and become one of the games beloved players.