The NBA Draft is perhaps the most important night for all 30 NBA teams during the year, as it allows them to take one of the surging talents either out of College or from overseas to try and get the new world star to build for the future.
Either if you keep him or you trade him, you need to make the right choice come NBA Draft night, and even if most of the times guys fall short of what was expected out of them, sometimes general managers and scouts find a diamond in the rough that winds up being a superstar.
And even if you’re not the best player in the draft, landing on a top 3 spot pretty much tells a lot of good things about your game, and it’s pretty hard to be a flop at this point. So today, we’ll rank the last 10 3rd overall picks, obviously excluding this year’s selection, Jayson Tatum, as he hasn’t made his professional debut.
10. Jahlil Okafor
Jahlil Okafor has been a major bust since being drafted 3rd overall a couple of seasons ago, as he was expected to be an offensive beast but has mightily struggled to adjust to the NBA with his old school skill set, besides being a lousy free throw shooter as well.
In fact, he didn’t even make the rotation for a big part of the season and has struggled to remain healthy, while coach Brown favors Holmes over him. The only reason why the Sixers haven’t traded him is because everybody knows he’s not worthy of pretty much anything in return.
9. Enes Kanter
Kanter has been a pretty solid back up big man when he has been needed to step up, being a nightly double double threat and showing some offensive versatility while also being able to gain position and own the glass for most of the time.
Nonetheless, he’s a horrid defender that just gets torched in pretty much every possession, something that makes him a huge liability on the court unless you pair him with an elite rim protector.
8. OJ Mayo
There was a time when OJ Mayo was actually the highest ranked player in the nation, and his offensive explosiveness and talent have never been doubted, although he’s also been a terrible defender for most of his career.
Still, his biggest problem is his poor work ethic and lack of discipline, and he’s not even in the league anymore due to a suspension for violating the league’s drug policy, although he’s expected to make a comeback as soon as it’s lifted.
7. Jaylen Brown
The only reason why Jaylen Brown is so low in our rank is because he hasn’t been in the league that much time, but it’s pretty clear that Danny Ainge landed a hell of a player when he decided to go with Brown this prior Draft, showing glances of greatness for most of the season.
Of course, he had some growing pains especially on the defensive end, but he has a very high ceiling and has proven to already adjust to the pace of the NBA on the open court, being a very explosive and versatile player.
6. Joel Embiid
Embiid had a lot of doubters coming out of Kansas, as he hadn’t played this sport for long and had a lot of durability issues, even missing a couple of campaigns before finally making his pro debut this year until he got hurt once again.
Of course, health is going to be a huge issue with him, but he really managed to put on a show on the court this season on the early going, completely dominating every single aspect of the game, so let’s hope he can stay healthy, as he’s one of the most exciting youngsters in the league right now.
5. Derrick Favors
This guy seemed like he was going to be a superstar during his first couple of campaigns, being the main guy on Utah’s frontcourt and showing a lot of good things on both sides of the glass, being able to post 20-10’s like he was playing on his local YMCA.
Nonetheless, Rudy Gobert’s surge and his constant injuries have now made him an expendable asset for the Utah Jazz, although you just can’t deny how good Derrick Favors actually is, despite how much he regressed this past season.
4. Otto Porter Jr.
Porter just earned a huge paycheck with the Washington Wizards as one of the best small forwards of this summer’s free agency, as he became a very consistent scorer and has also significantly improved his defense.
Of course, it’s pretty unlikely that he blossoms into a superstar with Bradley Beal and John Wall on the team, but he’s become a very productive and disciplined player, and he’s a big part of the Wizards young core at this point.
3. Bradley Beal
Beal has grown into a complete offensive player after coming into the league as a three point specialist, becoming more aggressive and constantly attacking the rim while also being able to pull up from everywhere on the court.
Alongside John Wall, Beal has been the main reasons why the Wizards have resurged as a winning team, and even though they’re still pretty far from being title contenders, he’s developed into a very solid player.
2. Al Horford
The Dominican has been amazing since entering the league, improving his range to even be a consistent and reliable choice from distant, while his playmaking ability keeps getting better and better with the years.
Of course, he’s not the most dominant or athletic presence in the paint and can tend to be kind of slow against opposing big men, but his versatility and leadership have made him a very important player in Brad Steven’s project.
1. James Harden
And of course, the best 3rd overall picks of the past 10 years (and perhaps one of the best in NBA history) has to be the MVP front runner, the Beard himself, a guy that flourished into an incredible playmaker under Mike D’Antoni’s offense.
Defensive issues aside, James Harden is the best offensive player in the Association not named Kevin Durant, being able to score on a bunch of different ways while also making everybody around him play better, and he's coming off his best year in his entire career.