5 of the NBA’s greatest draft steals


The NBA Draft is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a team to acquire generational talent. While many teams have found success by selecting excellent players early in the NBA draft, a few of ‘late bloomers’ have rewarded teams who took a chance on them.

Some of the most well-known No. 1 picks include Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Bill Russell. By that criterion, passing up on a player at the top of the prospect list in order to get a “steal” in the NBA Draft would be foolish.

While no one can predict how a player will develop once they enter the NBA, the best option is to never overlook the most promising prospects. Giannis Antetokounmpo (15th), Kawhi Leonard (15th), and Rudy Gobert (27th) are also considered draft steals since they have outperformed the expectations that come with their position.

It’s understandable to want an earlier pick because you’ll be able to select some of the NBA Draft’s highest-rated players. A few top-tier prospects, on the other hand, have been selected late in the draft. These players were ostensibly undervalued, but they proved their skeptics wrong, resulting in some of the NBA’s greatest Draft steals.

As a result, let’s take a look at five guys who are considered the five greatest NBA draft steals.

#5 Draymond Green, 35th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft

Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors selected Draymond Green with the fifth overall pick in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Although he isn’t recognized for his scoring abilities, his defensive awareness and passing ability have made him important to the Warriors.

Green’s basketball IQ is also praised, as is his ability to guard every position in the league. He is, without a shadow of a question, one of the NBA’s most versatile players.

His output levels have been incredible for someone who was drafted so late in the draft. He was a key member of the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty, which won three NBA titles in 2015, 2017, and 2018.

In addition to his championship rings, he has won NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2017) and NBA Steals Leader (2017) accolades, as well as being named to multiple All-Star, All-NBA, and All-Defensive teams.

#4 Nikola Jokic, 41st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets

Following his triumph in the 2020-21 season, Nikola Jokic owns the record for being the only second-round draft pick to win an MVP championship in the NBA regular season. The Denver Nuggets selected him with the 41st overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

When it comes to versatility, Jokic is among the best players in NBA history. During the regular season, he averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists in 72 games for the Nuggets. In the 2021 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semi-finals, however, his club was swept by the Phoenix Suns.

Jokic is in the midst of what appears to be a fruitful career, thanks to his advanced age. In his sixth season, the Serbian has already earned three All-Star appearances (2019-2021), been named to the All-NBA first team (2019, 2021), and won the prestigious MVP title in 2021.

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