When talking about some of the best Draft Classes to enter the NBA, three of them seem to always stand out and repeat themselves as the best ones. The 1984, 1996, and 2003 classes are widely regarded as the biggest and best collections of talent entering the NBA, as each year had numerous Hall-of-Famers, All-Stars, and good players start their NBA journey. Going chronologically, these are some of the biggest names from these three classes:
1984: Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, Alvin Robertson, Sam Perkins
1996: Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Jermaine O’Neal, Stephon Marbury, Marcus Camby, Antoine Walker, Peja Stojaković
2003: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, David West, Kyle Korver
As you can see, we have some of the biggest names in the history of the NBA in these classes, and the debate of which is the better one always sparks an argument. Even the players that were drafted in those years want to make a case for their class being the best, as the legendary Allen Iverson shared his opinion on the debate.
While talking with Al Harrington and Allen Iverson on his podcast, Shannon Sharpe asked which class is the best by listing some of the key guys from each year. “The Answer” had no doubt which one is the best:
“You already said the best draft class because when you named ours, look how many players you named. And then you forgot some. You forgot Lorenz Wright. Did you say Kerry Kittles? Marcus Camby? Did you say J-Wallace?… It’s hard when you got, and I’m not taking anything away from Dwyane and Carmelo, I love these guys on and off the court, and same thing with Olajuwon and Mike, when you put LeBron in the class, and you got Mike, it’s hard man, it’s hard not to choose that class.”Allen Iverson, Club Shay Shay
AI, Harrington, and Shannon were having a blast explaining which Draft Class they prefer, as both Iverson and Harrington chose the 1996 Class to be the best. Shannon didn’t share his thoughts, but knowing his love for Lebron, it’s hard to imagine him taking anyone over the 2003 Class. But Sharpe did make a valid point saying how all three of these classes have four Hall-of-Famers or at least locks to make in the foreseeable future.
If you want to look at the depth, there is no match for the 1996 Class, as they had a considerable number of All-Stars and great role players to go along those Hall-of-Famers. But if you just look at the top guys, it’s hard to go against MJ, Hakeem, Charles or LeBron, Melo, and Wade.
So when making a choice, it’s all about preferences and what matters to you the most when looking at a draft class. Is it simply revolved around a few players or the whole class in general? In my opinion, if you have a large number of great players, that is more impressive than having one transcendent player. But of course, this is very subjective, as a case for the other side can easily be made. Any way you look at it, it’s an entertaining conversation.