Not all #1 overall picks in the NBA Draft are created equal; if you want proof of that, ask the Cleveland Cavaliers. As the only team with three #1 overall selections since 2000, the Cavaliers used those picks on guys who would end up becoming one of the greatest players in NBA history (LeBron James), a perennial All-Star with one of the most unique offensive skill sets in the NBA, and a guy who’s among the biggest “busts” in NBA Draft history (Anthony Bennett).
Given that, we tried our best to eliminate the idea of hindsight, and rank the last 19 players to be taken #1 overall in the NBA Draft since the year 2000, and to make this list a nice, round “20 players, we added in a certain phenom who’s a virtual lock to be taken with the top pick in 2019. Our criteria had three parts: 1) demonstrating a set of coveted NBA skills; 2) the players’ overall physical and basketball talents as viewed when he was coming out; and 3) how much better of a prospect than the guy who was acknowledged as the #2 prospect in their class.
With that in mind, here’s how we rank the 19 players taken with the top pick in their respective NBA Drafts, and where Zion Williamson would fit among that group, in order from worst to first: