Last 25 years of No. 1 overall picks
Is Markelle Fultz next?
With the Sixers poised to select guard Markelle Fultz first overall in Thursday's NBA draft, here is a look back at the last 25 years of top picks. By quick count, you'll see that 18 of the 25 became very good players, with some epic misses along the way. (All photos courtesy of AP Images)
2016: Ben Simmons (Sixers)
Simmons, one of the most hyped picks since LeBron James, missed his entire first season with a right Jones fracture suffered at the end of training camp.
2015: Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves)
Towns has already emerged into one of the top five big men in the league. He averaged 25.1 points and 12.3 rebounds last season.
2014: Andrew Wiggins (Cavaliers)
Shortly after he was drafted by the Cavs, Wiggins was traded to Timberwolves for Kevin Love. Cleveland was in win-now mode. Wiggins averaged a career-high 23.6 points in his third season.
2013: Anthony Bennett (Cavs)
Bennett was a complete bust and is already out of the NBA after beginning the 2016-17 season with the Nets.
2012: Anthony Davis (Pelicans)
A perennial All-NBA pick and the best big man in the league. Davis has averaged 22.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in five seasons. There's nothing he can't do on a basketball court.
2011: Kyrie Irving (Cavs)
The Cavs definitely hit on this pick, which was a bit controversial at the time given how small the sample size on Irving was.
2010: John Wall (Wizards)
The difference between the first and second picks in 2010 was John Wall and Evan Turner.
2009: Blake Griffin (Clippers)
Griffin's teams haven't gone as deep into the playoffs as any Clippers fan would have hoped, but his arrival helped transform an annual loser into a top Western Conference team.
2008: Derrick Rose (Bulls)
Rose's best days are well behind him, but he was an MVP before the series of knee issues began.
2007: Greg Oden (Trail Blazers)
Would go down as the worst top pick since 2000 if not for Bennett.
2006: Andrea Bargnani (Raptors)
A 7-footer who could shoot threes before that was really en vogue, Bargnani never became more than a rotational player. The Toronto general manager in 2006 that selected Bargnani? Bryan Colangelo.
2005: Andrew Bogut (Bucks)
An interesting case because Bogut never became a star but has been a solid pro for multiple teams and was instrumental in the Warriors' first title over the Cavs.
2004: Dwight Howard (Magic)
The last high-schooler to go No. 1, Howard was taken ahead of UConn's Emeka Okafor in a risky but correct move.
2003: LeBron James (Cavs)
He's been an OK player.
2002: Yao Ming (Rockets)
Yao lasted just eight seasons because of foot injuries but averaged 19.0 points and 9.2 rebounds and generated immeasurable interest in the NBA in Asia. He's already a member of the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame.
2001: Kwame Brown (Wizards)
Yikes. Side note: Remember when Doug Collins spent months praising Kwame Brown's defensive presence when Brown was a Sixer?
2000: Kenyon Martin (Nets)
Martin had his best years with Jason Kidd in New Jersey and was just average at his other stops.
1999: Elton Brand (Bulls)
Sixers fans best remember Elton Brand as the "Old School Chevy," but he averaged 20 and 10 in his first eight seasons.
1998: Michael Olowokandi (Clippers)
The pride of the University of the Pacific, "The Kandiman" was a huge bust.
1997: Tim Duncan (Spurs)
One of only three first overall picks in the last 25 years to lead the team that drafted him to an NBA championship.
1996: Allen Iverson (Sixers)
If Fultz or Simmons generate even 75 percent of the excitement A.I. did, the Sixers will be ecstatic.
1995: Joe Smith (Warriors)
A decent role player for many teams, but you obviously expect more out of the No. 1 pick. Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse were top-five picks behind Smith.
1994: Glenn Robinson (Bucks)
"Big Dog" made two All-Star teams with the Bucks before mailing it in as a Sixer in 2003-04.
1993: Chris Webber (Magic)
Webber was traded on draft night and the Magic instead ended up with Penny Hardaway. The Shaq-Webber pairing remains one of the great "what-ifs" in NBA history.
1992: Shaquille O'Neal (Magic)
Arguably the most immediate impact of any No. 1 pick ever.