Best NBA Draft of All Time: 1996 NBA Draft


The 1996 NBA draft is the best NBA draft of all time. A total of 11 players would become NBA All-Stars  for a total of 68 All-Star appearances. Three players from the 1996 NBA draft became NBA MVPs combining for four total MVP awards. Eight players were named to at least one All-NBA team totalling 42 total selections

It was the first NBA draft for the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies entering the league as new NBA expansion teams.

Who Was in the 1996 NBA Draft Class?

Here are the stars of the 1996 NBA draft class, considered to be the best draft class in NBA history:

  • Stephon Marbury
  • Ray Allen
  • Allen Iverson
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Steve Nash
  • Shareef Abdur-Rahim
  • Žydrūnas Ilgauskas
  • Antoine Walker
  • Jermaine O’Neal
  • Peja Stojaković
  • Derick Fisher
  • Marcus Camby
  • Ben Wallace

Marcus Camby

Selected with the 2nd pick of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors.

Camby is 12th on the NBA’s all-time career blocks list and was the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year at the Nuggets. Usually you’d consider Camby’s pick as a solid selection by the Raptors. Such was the depth of the class, the selection was a bust, with the 1996 NBA Draft the best NBA draft of all-time.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim

Selected with the 3rd pick of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies. Nicknamed ‘The Reef’, he is a one-time NBA All-Star. Despite his solid stats, he shares the NBA record for the most number of games played without making a playoff appearance.

Stephon Marbury

Selected with the 4th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. Shortly after being drafted, Stephon Marbury was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Marbury became a 2-time NBA All-Star and made All-NBA Third Teams twice. After 13-years in the NBA he finished his career in China. Things turned out okay for the Milwaukee Bucks too, receiving Ray Allen and a future first-round pick in return for Marbury. 

Ray Allen

Selected with the 5th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ray Allen, a.k.a Jake Shuttlesworth, was traded to the Bucks shortly after being drafted by Minnesota. Allen quickly gained a reputation as an efficient and deadly long ranged shooter, becoming e a 2-time NBA Champion and 10-time NBA All-Star. The 1996 NBA draft is the best draft of all-time with the best pure shooters of all-time. Ray Allen finishes his career ranked 1st of all-time for 3-pointers scored.

Antoine Walker

Selected with the 6th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. Walker is a 3-time NBA All-Star and won the 2006 NBA Championship with the Miami Heat. Although he earned more than $108m in the NBA, he declared bankruptcy in 2010. In 2013 Walker announced he was debt free and he currently works as a television basketball analyst.

Žydrūnas Ilgauskas

Selected with the 12th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Illgausaks is a 2-time NBA All-Star and is currently a special adviser for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kobe Bryant

Selected with the 13th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets. With the worst trade in NBA history, the Hornets traded the rights to the late Kobe Bryant for Lakers center Vlade Divac. Kobe Bryant is considered one of the great players of all-time with achievements including five NBA Championships, two Finals MVP awards and was an 18-time NBA All-Star.

Peja Stojaković

Selected with the 14th overall pick of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings. Stojaković is a 3-time NBA All-Star. He won an NBA Championship in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks.

Steve Nash

Selected with the 15th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. Following the draft announcement of Steve Nash, Sun’s fans didn’t know who he was and booed his selection in disapproval. Nash quickly silenced the doubters as he became an 8-time NBA All-Star, 7-time All-NBA Selection and 2-time NBA MVP.

Steve Nash was an elite playmaker, an elite shooter and had exceptional ball handling skills. Nash led the NBA in assists five times in his career.

Considered to be one of the best point guards in NBA history, Nash has the best all-time career free-throw shooting average of 90.4%.

Related: Seattle SuperSonics Relocation: Are the Sonics Making an NBA Return?

Jermaine O’Neal

Selected with the 17th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers. Jermaine O’Neal is a 6x NBA All Star and won the NBA Most Improved Player award in 2002.

Derick Fisher

Selected with the 24th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Fisher is a 5-time NBA Champion and the all-time NBA record holder for playoff games played with 259 in total.

Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace went unselected in the 1996 NBA Draft and was an undrafted free agent signing by the Washington Bullets. Ben Wallace is another reason why the 1996 NBA Draft is best NBA draft of all-time. He is a 4-time NBA All-Star, 2004 NBA Champion and a record equaling 4-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year despite going undrafted.

Who Won Rookie of the Year?

Allen Iverson was selected with the 1st pick of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Iverson was the shortest 1st pick in NBA history at 6’0 (183cm) during the 1996 NBA Draft.

Nicknamed ‘The Answer’, Allen Iverson was named the 1997 Rookie of the Year. He finished his career as an 11-time NBA All-Star and the 2001 NBA MVP. 

He is known as one of the most prolific scorers and of the greatest shooting guards in NBA history. He also became a pop cultural icon, responsible for a cultural merger between hip-hop/rap culture and the NBA. Being selected at number one in the best NBA draft of all-time is a monumental achievement.  


Great post as it is interesting to look back on things that have happened in the past and to reflect on how good some of these things actually were.
You need to engage more with others through comments as we have to support users who are active. Unfortunately this cannot be forwarded for extra curation and like others have missed out.


Thanks for the trip down memory lane, that's around the time I was watching a lot of NBA basketball! Steve Nash is for sure one of my favorite players of all time, and I went to see so many Pistons games with Big Ben Wallace!
I think I already mentioned that, but that's the kind of post which would fit well in the #dunksocial community.