NBA’s Best Draft Picks – Active Players (Lottery only)

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In honor of tonight’s 2013 NBA Draft, I’ve compiled a list of the very best lottery picks at each overall draft position for currently active players. Enjoy telling me how wrong I am!

#1 Tim Duncan – I have to give this one to Tim over LeBron James because of longevity, and because Tim is still a Spur. The team that drafted LeBron is still hoping to replace his splendiferous presence with another #1 overall pick tonight. Tim’s MVPs, titles, and shocked at the officials faces make him unquestionable in their own right.

#2 Kevin Durant – There have been a lot of #2 overall picks that bombed out, but KD is the real deal. I don’t think there’s really a case to be made against him right now. Unless somebody loves Marvin Williams.

#3 Carmelo Anthony – Melo’s not with Denver any longer, but he did give them 7 great years and a conference finals appearance which is as far as they’ve ever made it in the playoffs. Deron Williams would have stolen this one, if he hadn’t left Utah.

#4 Chris Paul – Here’s another guy who didn’t last with his original team but did keep them on the map while he was there. Russell Westbrook would be a good option at this spot if CP3’s exodus from New Orleans is too onerous.

#5 Dwyane Wade – He’s played a decade with the team that drafted him. He’s been the best or second best player on 4 finals teams and 3 champions. His Olympic team collusion helped to secure the services of Lebron and Chris Bosh which led to two of those titles. Kevin Garnett is the best counter for this spot, but the fact that he had his best team success in Boston instead of Minneapolis probably disqualifies him.

#6 Damian Lillard – This is an odd spot for active players. The best would be Brandon Roy, another Trailblazer ROY, except for those injuries. I say stick with the kid and hope he holds up and stays put long enough to pass Roy’s accomplishments.

#7 Stephen Curry – Same as Lillard, we’re going on potential for this pick because the active players picked at this spot don’t stack up to how good he’ll likely become. Sorry to fans of Luol Deng, who probably deserves this spot for his solid career spent entirely in Chicago (though technically he was drafted by the Suns).

#8 Andre Miller – Hey, it’s not his fault the Cavs let him go. He played great for them, and he’s still playing great to this day. No super-uper-duper stars at this spot to contest him either.

#9 Dirk Nowitzki – There are a few contenders at the 9th pick, including Tracy McGrady, Amare Stoudemire, and Shawn Marion, but none of them live up to the longevity, production, accomplishments, or team loyalty of Mark Cuban’s 7 foot German shot-making savant. This one is a no contest.

#10 Paul Pierce – This one is also a no contest. Paul George and Joe Johnson would also be available here… boooo! This is the Celtic captain’s without question. He’s spent his whole career in green, and he was the finals MVP on the only C’s title team since Larry Bird had a functioning spine.

#11 Klay Thompson – Talk about a wasteland of no-stars! The best active #11 I could find was JJ Redick. We already know he’s never going to be great. Thompson still has a chance to develop into something more than a steady starter on a good team, which might actually already make him better than JJ.

#12 Nick Collison – 12 is even worse than 11. Not only are there no active star players picked 12th overall, there aren’t even any players with the potential to become stars. Collison has been a starter and a productive bench player on contending teams for a decade. Not too shabby.

#13 Kobe Bryant – Most overwhelmingly uncontestable pick of all. 5 titles, 2 finals MVPs, 17 seasons wearing purple and gold, and the next best active player chosen with the 13th pick is Richard Jefferson. Really. Richard Jefferson. Undisputed.

#14 Luke Ridnour – Talk about anti-climactic… The #14 pick has not resulted in much of anything from an active player perspective. But hey, now the Seattle Supersonics have 3 active lottery picks that have turned out to be the best at their spots, and the Sonics haven’t had a draft pick in a long time now.

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