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Biggest draft steals in NBA history


The draft is pretty much a lottery when it comes to the NBA. You know the listed players are talented, but can they improve your team and fulfill their potential. There is no way of knowing for sure, but we reckon if these players were drafted again they would have been picked much quicker.

Kobe Bryant – 13th overall

If you went back in time to the year Kobe Bryant entered the draft, it would be hard to image he was the 13th pick. The man had a Hall of Fame career and entered the draft as a high school player. Bryant was snapped up by the Hornets, but thanks to a deal, the Lakers were given their pick, and it worked out amazingly well for the Los Angeles team. Bryant won five championships and was an All-Star 14 times. People were unsure about taking a risk on him because of his age, but he showed the world his talent made age irrelevant.

Biggest draft steals in NBA history

Manu Ginobili – 57th overall

Sometimes players escape the scouting networks of teams, and Manu Ginobili was one of those talents. He was the 57th pick in the 1999 draft, but he helped to transform the Spurs into a dynasty, along with Parker and Duncan. The trio won four NBA championships together, and his versatility made him one of the greatest sixth men the league had ever seen. He was so influential he won the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2008, which wasn’t bad for a player passed up by every team at least once in 1999.

Jimmy Butler – 30th overall

Jimmy Butler was passed up by so many teams before being picked by the Bulls at number 30 in 2011. Butler is a player every team would love to have in their ranks as his combination of tenacious defensive skills and at least 20 points per game is invaluable. It’s amazing just how many teams passed up on this young talent back in 2011, and if that draft had a do over he would definitely be in the top ten. He transferred to the 76ers this season and is helping them stay at the top of the Eastern Conference, while his first team, the Bulls, are struggling for form.

Biggest draft steals in NBA history

Dennis Rodman – 27th overall

As the teams were picking their players during the 1986 draft, few really knew much about Dennis Rodman. He was passed up by everyone in the first round of the draft before the Detroit Pistons took a gamble on him. Rodman was an unknown quantity at the time, but he grew into one of the greatest defenders and rebounders in NBA history. From 1992 to 1998 he led NBA rebound stats and won two championships with the Pistons. Rodman was a big draft steal for the Pistons before he was traded to the Bulls.

Biggest draft steals in NBA history

In hindsight, these players would all be top ten picks, if not the number one drafts when they entered the NBA. Luckily for the teams they did end up on, they turned out to be some of the best players in NBA history.