The History of No. 3

052014-sixers-three-600Next month, the 76ers have the number three overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.  All of us here at Philadunkia are hoping and praying, just like all of you, that Sam Hinkie will select a player that has a huge impact on this franchise for years to come (cough…D’Angelo Russell..cough) and one would think that type of player would be very easy to find and draft at No. 3.

However, when we reviewed the list of No. 3 selections from the last twenty-four years of the NBA Draft, we found plenty of evidence that the Sixers (or any team for that matter) are just as likely to misfire badly with the No. 3 overall pick as they are to get it right. 

To be honest, this Draft history crash course made our stomachs a little queasy, so of course we thought we’d share it with our readers.

First, a look back at the history of the 3rd overall pick n the NBA Draft since 1990…

YEAR                      No. 3 Selection

2014                         Joel Embiid  (76ers)
2013                         Otto Porter (Wash.)
2012                         Bradley Beal (Wash.)
2011                         Enes Kanter (Utah)
2010                        Derrick Favors (NJN)
2009                       James Harden (OKC)
2008                       OJ Mayo (Memphis)
2007                       Al Horford (Atlanta)
2006                       Adam Morrison (Charlotte)
2004                       Ben Gordon (Chicago)
2003                       Carmelo Anthony (Denver)
2002                       Mike Dunleavy (GSW)
2001                       Pau Gasol (Atlanta)
2000                      Darius Miles (LAC)
1999                       Baron Davis (Charlotte)
1998                       Raef LaFrentz (Denver)
1997                      Chauncey Billups (Boston)
1996                       Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Vancouver)
1995                       Jerry Stackhouse (76ers)
1994                       Grant Hill (Pistons)
1993                       Anfernee Hardaway (GSW)
1992                       Christian Laettner (MIN)
1991                       Billy Owens (Sacto)
1990                      Chris Jackson (Denver)

So here’s how we break down the success of the No. 3 election in the NBA Draft since 1990…

Hall of Famers (0-3) — No definition necessary.

Pau Gasol; James Harden; Carmelo Anthony…

Note:  To be honest I could see a scenario where none of the above listed prior No. 3 overall selections end up in the Basketball Hall of Fame, but if Gasol, Harden and Anthony continue on the current career paths, one or all of them could sneak into the HoF.

Consistent All-Star Level Players (6)  These guys have / had all the skills and accomplishments necessary to go down as a “great” and/or at times “dominant” player in NBA history, but not a HOF’er.  For the players who remain active, their resume gets more impressive with each passing year.  With some hard work and some luck on the injury front, they could be a long shot to jump into the first category. 

Bradley Beal; Al Horford; Baron Davis; Chauncey Billups; Grant Hill; Penny Hardaway…

Impact Players (5) — These guys may have an All-Star appearance or two on their resume and at times can / could take over a game.  At their peak or possibly still today you’d be happy to have each of them on the Sixers roster.

Derrick Favors; OJ Mayo; Ben Gordon; Shareef Abdur-Rahim; Jerry Stackhouse…

Solid Players (6) — These players know their role, do it well and could be a piece to an NBA Championship puzzle, but in hind sight going #3 in the NBA Draft was too high given their career performance.

Enes Kanter; Mike Dunleavy; Raef LaFrentz; Christian Laettner; Billy Owens; Chris Jackson…

Straight Flops (2)  What can you say?  The warning signs were there for some of these guys.  Others not so much.  Either way, some NBA GM probably lost his job after these No. 3 overall picks could not hack it in the Association.

Adam Morrison; Darius Miles (yes, I know injury had a great deal to do with Miles washing out of the League)…

TBD (2) — The early returns have been average or less than, but there have been flashes of brilliance.  Everyone is still talking about potential and upside with these players.  Injury may be a factor in this group.

Otto Porter; Joel Embiid…

Philadunkia Notes:

  • Having the No. 3 overall pick doesn’t guarantee that the 76ers will draft a prospect that has a long range positive impact on the franchise.  Out of the twenty-four players drafted at #3 since 1990, only three (Gasol; Anthony; HArden) have HoF potential and each of them still has work tod do to reach that lofty status.  Overall 14 players were rated as “Impact Players” or higher on our scale.  A 58% success rate is a nice number in a lot of areas of life, but not when you are talking about whether or not you got it right with the 3rd pick in the NBA Draft.
  • Guards are a safe bet.  Of the 20 players rated as “Solid” or higher on the above scale, 11 were guards (point; shooting or combo) and there was an intelligent argument made that Carmelo should be considered a shooting guard not a forward based on his style of game and skill set.  If you put Anthony in with the guards, then that would bring their total to 12 out of 20.

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