We all know who was the greatest No. 3 pick ever was: Michael Jordan. But that was 1984 in the pre-lottery era. So who were the top No. 3 picks in the last 24 years?
24-Chris Washburn, Warriors (1986)
23-Darius Miles, Clippers (2000)
22-Adam Morrison, Bobcats (2006)
21-Dennis Hopson, Nets (1987)
20-Raef LaFrentz, Nuggets (1998)
19-Charles Smith, Clippers (1988)
18-Benoit Benjamin, Clippers (1985)
17-Mike Dunleavy, Warriors (2002)
16-Chris Jackson, Nuggets (1990)
15-Billy Owens, Kings (1991)
14-Al Horford, Hawks (2007)
13-Christian Laettner, Wolves (1992)
12-Shareef Abdur Rahim, Grizzlies (1996)
11-Ben Gordon, Bulls (2004)
10-Jerry Stackhouse, Sixers (1995)
9-Sean Elliot, Spurs (1989)
8-O.J. Mayo, Timberwolves (2008)
7-Penny Hardaway, Warriors (1993)
6-Baron Davis, Hornets (1999)
5-Grant Hill, Pistons (1994)
4-Chauncey Billups, Celtics (1997)
3-Pau Gasol, Hawks (2001)
2-Deron Williams, Jazz (2005)
1-Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets (2003)
This was a difficult list. For one, my top two selection haven't won a ring. But Gasol and Billups have. But Melo is the best player on this list. He came in the league on fire and has kept it there. He was the leading scorer on the redeem team and has turned the Nuggets into a perennial playoff team.
None of these players have won an MVP award. Billups did win a Finals MVP and has been the model of professionalism over the past couple of years. But dude didn't come in the league like that and kinda was an afterthought.
And like all my lists thus far, it's hard to gauge the newer picks across history. I know O.J. Mayo hasn't done anything more than Sean Elliot or Jerry Stackhouse, but I think that the actual selection will be better in the long run.