With the official retirement of Allen Iverson I thought it worth a look back at his draft class. The 1996 NBA draft was absolutely stacked. Iverson was one of eleven 10,000 point scorers in his class. He was second among his own class in career scoring with 24,368 NBA points scored. First would be prep-to-pro shooting guard Kobe Bryant.
For comparison, the ’95 and ’97 drafts had a combined eleven players who would go on to score over 10,000 points in their NBA careers. Iverson, the top overall pick in 1996, ranks only fourth in the class in career assists (6 assists/game). Steve Nash, Stephon Marbury and Kobe all had more assists than Iverson.
The least valuable player among the top six picks in the ’96 draft was Kentucky stand-out Antoine Walker. Walker went on to be a three-time All-Star pick and starter on the 2006 Miami Heat championship team.
In addition to the top six picks I would argue that nine players drafted became at least good NBA players. The worst of these fifteen guys was either Walker or Jerome Williams. Not too shabby considering Williams led the NBA in Offensive Rebound Percentage in ’99 & 2000.
Allen Iverson is viewed as an obvious hall-of-fame choice. As much as I liked AI as a player I’m not totally convinced of it. He does have four scoring titles plus two seasons as the NBA leader in steals. Also, he and Larry Brown dragged a ’01 76ers team to the NBA finals despite starting Aaron McKie and Eric Snow alongside Iverson.
OK, maybe I can talk myself into his HOF case. We are going to need a further deep dive into the topic.