In the last five years we've seen some terrific talent enter the NBA. Re-drafting is always a fun process since it lets us reminisce by looking back at the way players were perceived before their names were called to the stage. Not every draft can be as loaded as the 2003 class but every player has the chance to make an impact regardless of what pick they are taken with. Every general manager has the fear of drafting a bust. A bad pick can place a franchise in jeopardy for years to come which is why it's important for front offices to do their homework before they make their final decision.
In this list we will look at the more recent talent, more specifically the top three picks in the last five drafts. By no means does being taken early in the draft mean that a player will automatically become a superstar. There are several names that are vastly outplaying their late draft spots and vice versa. All of the players here are quickly becoming a key asset to their teams and should be for quite some time. They are the next faces of the NBA. With that being said let's get things started.
15 2012: 1st - Anthony Davis - New Orleans Pelicans
Original Pick: 1st Overall
14 2012 - 2nd: Damian Lillard - Charlotte Hornets
Original Pick: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
After Portland saw every single starter from the 2014 season leave via trades or free agency, Damian Lillard was left all alone to fend for himself in Oregon. Cue the sad violin music. While the team has fallen in the standings, Lillard has embraced the leadership role and has continued to play terrific basketball. He's averaged 22 points since entering the league five years ago and was named the 2013 Rookie of the Year. Two All-Star selections have also been added to his resume to further establish his spot on our list. This season he is averaging a career high 26 points to go along with 5.9 assist and 5 rebounds.
13 2012: 3rd - Bradley Beal - Washington Wizards
Original Pick: Bradley Beal
There are a number of scary backcourts in the NBA. The Washington Wizards have one of them. John Wall and Bradley Beal have propelled their team to the third spot in the Eastern Conference after getting off to a slow start in the beginning of the season. Beal has become one of the more under the radar shooting guards but it's understandable since there are so many outstanding players at the same position.
12 2013: 1st - Giannis Antetokounmpo - Cleveland Cavaliers
Original Pick: Anthony Bennett
Nobody expected the Greek Freak to already be an All-Star just four years into the league. He definitely deserved it this year though since the point-forward is leading his team in points (23.2 points per game), rebounds (8.7 per game), assist (5.5 per game), steals (1.7 per game) and blocks (2 per game) this season. Unbelievable considering the fact that he's still just 22 years old. Antetokounmpo was the first player to represent the Milwaukee Bucks in the All-Star game since Michael Redd was selected to the team in 2004. I think we can all agree the former has a chance to be much better than the latter.
11 2013: 2nd - Victor Oladipo - Orlando Magic
Original Pick: Victor Oladipo
10 2013: 3rd - Rudy Gobert - Washington Wizards
Original Pick: Otto Porter
The Gobert report states that the French center is one of the hidden gems of the 2013 draft. Gobert and Jae Crowder have really outplayed their original spots in the 2013 draft. The Stifle Tower is quickly becoming one of the most dominant centers in the game of basketball. Averaging a double-double this season with 13 points and 12 rebounds, Gobert is currently shooting 64 percent from the field.
9 2014: 1st - Andrew Wiggins - Cleveland Cavaliers
Original Pick: Andrew Wiggins
What's next for Andrew Wiggins? The 2015 Rookie of the Year has lived up to draft expectations but has been in a weird spot this season. He is currently averaging 23 points with Minnesota and has the potential to be an All-Star. The question is when. When will we see this come to fruition? He had a shot at making this years Western Conference team but an 11-24 start really hurt his chances. Coach Thibodeau and the rest of his squad are in need of a leader.
8 2014: 2nd - Joel Embiid - Milwaukee Bucks
Original Pick: Jabari Parker
It might have been only 31 games but in that stretch Joel Embiid showed that he is a star in the making. The Process has given Philadelphia new hope in the game of basketball. It's a feel good story that the franchise definitely deserves since they've been synonymous with losing for several years now. The Kansas product averaged 20 points, 7.8 rebounds and an eye-catching 2.5 blocks during his limited time. While the NBA has been primarily guard focused for the past few years, Embiid's low post presence and superb defense have made him an asset that the 76ers could easily build around. Plus he's not too bad at putting the ball on the floor either.
7 2014: 3rd - Jabari Parker - Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Joel Embiid
6 2015: 1st - Karl-Anthony Towns - Minnesota Timberwolves
Original Pick: Karl-Anthony Towns
5 2015: 2nd - Kristaps Porziņģis - Los Angeles Lakers
Original Pick: D'Angelo Russell
4 2015: 3rd - D'Angelo Russell - Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Jahlil Okafor
3 2016: 1st - Jaylen Brown - Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Ben Simmons
2 2016: 2nd - Malcolm Brogdon - Los Angeles Lakers
Original Pick: Brandon Ingram
Last year's draft class wasn't the most talented but Malcolm Brogdon is still putting up numbers that vastly outweigh his draft spot (36th). While he might not be the flashiest player on the court (although he did have two nasty dunks over Kyrie Irving and LeBron James) Brogdon is averaging 9.9 points while shooting 42 percent from three. In just his second start of his career he recorded a triple-double against the Chicago Bulls in January becoming the first rookie to do so this season.
1 2016: 3rd - Ben Simmons - Milwaukee Bucks
Original Pick: Jaylen Brown
Ben Simmons has a ton of potential and should make for a decent duo with Joel Embiid. However, he has yet to play a game in the NBA which is why he finds himself at number three by default. He played in the 2016 NBA Summer League but the exhibition contests just aren't enough to go off of due to the pace and talent displayed in them. A fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot, which occurred during the final scrimmage of training camp, sidelined him indefinitely and added his name to a list of players that have dealt with injury woes in Philadelphia.
The 76ers and numerous basketball fans were hopeful that the Australian would eventually see the court this season but on February 24th, 2017 the team ruled him out for the rest of the year. We'll give him some time to recover but were going to expect him to play eventually. Let's hope that the time off will let him come back at 100 percent.
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