NBA Draft: Ranking the best classes

NBA Draft: Ranking the best classes

ALL-USA

NBA Draft: Ranking the best classes

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With the NBA draft scheduled for June 26, we’re ranking the top high school classes of the USA TODAY era (1983-present), based on how players from American Family Insurance ALL-USA boys basketball first teams fared in the NBA:

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1.       1995. All five first-teamers (Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury and Ron Mercer), were taken in the first round of the NBA Draft and averaged double-digits in the NBA. All of them, with the exception of Mercer, were NBA All-Stars with Carter and Garnett likely headed to the Hall of Fame.

2.       2002. With LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton, the class has four NBA Draft first-round choices who have averaged double-digit scoring for their NBA careers, including three perennial All-Stars (James, Anthony and Stoudemire). As a bonus, another perennial All-Star, Chris Bosh, was a second-teamer in 2002. James and Anthony are likely Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers.

3.       1988. Start with Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning, then add in four quality NBA players who averaged double-digit points for their careers (Chris Jackson, Chris Mills, Billy Owens and Kenny Williams).

4.       1991. Five first-rounders (Alan Henderson, Juwan Howard, Glenn Robinson, David Vaughn and Chris Webber) and three perennial All-Stars in Howard, Robinson and Webber.

5.       1989. All five (Kenny Anderson, Doug Edwards, Allan Houston, Bobby Hurley and Jim Jackson) were drafted in the first round. Anderson and Houston were All-Stars and Hurley might have been if not for a car accident that shortened his career.

6.       2009. Yes, it’s early, but the class includes four first-round picks (John Wall, Avery Bradley, Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins). Of that group, Wall was an All-Star this season and the other three had career years this season. That doesn’t count a second-teamer, Lance Stephenson who is looking like a future All-Star and two third-teamers, Kawhi Leonard and Brandon Knight, who are coming into their own.

7.       2007. This class could shoot up the list if one-time MVP Derrick Rose is able to come back from his multiple knee injuries. Kevin Love is already a three-time All-Star and O.J. Mayo, Kyle Singler and Eric Gordon are already solid pros.

8.       1993. With Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace, the class had two first-round players and two likely Hall of Famers.

9.       1996. Start with future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant and add six-time All-Star Jermaine O’Neal, plus solid pros Mike Bibby  and Tim Thomas. All four were first-round draftees.

10.    1997. Lamar Odom was a two-time NBA champion and Sixth Man of the Year and Tracy McGrady and Baron Davis were All-Stars in multiple seasons. 

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