Yes, I said it. The 1996 NBA Draft produced the best overall draft class ever. When you look at the overall impact that many of the draftees of ’96 made on the League, then surely you’ll agree with my statement.
To my fellow NBA historians, it probably comes off as seeming almost blasphemous that I’d make the statement that ’96 was the greatest draft class ever, considering that it’s more p.c. to give supreme reverence to the draft classes of 1984 and 2003 respectively. When the discussion of the best NBA draft classes come up, ’84 and ’03 are almost exclusively mentioned. I feel that the ’84 draft gets the nod as the best draft class because of the #3 pick that year (If you don’t know who was picked 3rd in the ’84 Draft, then look it up). No disrespect to anyone who was drafted on those years, but the ’96 draft class was a cut above the rest.
Think about it for a second. This draft class was LOADED. Some of the names who were products of this draft were guys like Iverson, Kobe, Ray Allen, and Steve Nash…and those were just the household names. Let’s not forget that the ’96 NBA Draft also saw the likes of Antoine Walker, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Marcus Camby, and Stephon Marbury enter the league as well. Rounding out the list were soon-to-be NBA veterans such as Derek Fisher, Peja Stojakovic, Erick Dampier, and Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams. I don’t think it hurts that the 1996 NBA Draft occurred on the same year as the League’s 50th anniversary, for all of my extra sentimental folks out there.
From here on out, when you visit your local barbershop, and some of the fellas want to engage in heated debates about whose NBA Draft class was the deepest, hit them with a curveball, and throw the class of ’96 into the mix. You’ll rest your case.