The National Basketball Association's first overall pick is the player who is selected first among all eligible draftees by a team during the annual National Basketball Association (NBA) draft. The first pick is awarded to the team that wins the NBA draft lottery; in most cases, that team had a losing record in the previous season. The team with the first pick attracts significant media attention,as does the player who is selected with that pick.
Eleven first picks have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award: Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (record six-time winner), Bill Walton, Magic Johnson (three-time winner), Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan (two-time winner), LeBron James (four-time winner), and Derrick Rose (youngest winner).
China's Yao Ming (2002) and Italy's Andrea Bargnani (2006) are the only two players without competitive experience in the United States to be drafted first overall. Eleven other international players with U.S. college experience have been drafted first overall—Mychal Thompson (Bahamas) in 1978, Olajuwon (Nigeria) in 1984, Patrick Ewing (Jamaica) in 1985, Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands) in 1997, Michael Olowokandi (Nigeria) in 1998, Andrew Bogut (Australia) in 2005, Kyrie Irving (Australia) in 2011, Anthony Bennett (Canada) in 2013, Andrew Wiggins (Canada) in 2014, Ben Simmons (Australia) in 2016, and Deandre Ayton (Bahamas) in 2018. Duncan is an American citizen, but is considered an "international" player by the NBA because he was not born in one of the fifty states or the District of Columbia.Ewing had dual Jamaican-American citizenship when he was drafted and Irving and Simmons had dual Australian-American citizenship when they were drafted.
Note that the drafts between 1947 and 1949 were held by the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The Basketball Association of America became the National Basketball Association after absorbing teams from the National Basketball League in the fall of 1949. Official NBA publications include the BAA Drafts as part of the NBA's draft history.
|^||Denotes players who have been selected to the All-Star Game or All-NBA Team|
|^*||Denotes Hall of Famers|
|PPG||Points per game|
|APG||Assists per game|
|RPG||Rebounds per game|
(in italic text)
|Rookie of the Year|
|NBA rookie statistics||Ref.|
|1947||Pittsburgh Ironmen||Clifton McNeely||United States||Guard||Texas Wesleyan||—||—||—|
|1948||Providence Steamrollers||Andy Tonkovich||United States||Guard/Forward||Marshall||2.6||—||0.6|
|1949||Providence Steamrollers||Howie Shannon||United States||Center||Kansas State||13.4||—||2.3|
|1950||Boston Celtics||Charlie Share||United States||Center||Bowling Green||3.9||5.3||1.0|
|1951||Baltimore Bullets||Gene Melchiorre||United States||Guard||Bradley||—||—||—|
|1952||Milwaukee Hawks||Mark Workman||United States||Center||West Virginia||5.1||3.0||0.6|
|1953||Baltimore Bullets||Ray Felix ^||United States||Guard/Forward||Long Island||17.6||13.3||1.1|
|1954||Baltimore Bullets||Frank Selvy ^||United States||Forward/Center||Furman||19.0||5.5||3.5|
|1955||Milwaukee Hawks||Dick Ricketts||United States||Guard/Forward||Duquesne||8.9||7.2||3.0|
|1956||Rochester Royals||Sihugo Green||United States||Guard/Forward||Duquesne||11.5||5.2||3.6|
|1957||Cincinnati Royals||Rod Hundley ^||United States||Guard||West Virginia||7.0||2.9||1.9|
|1958||Minneapolis Lakers||Elgin Baylor ^*||United States||Forward||Seattle||24.9||15.0||4.1|
|1959||Cincinnati Royals||Bob Boozer ^||United States||Forward||Kansas State||8.4||6.2||1.4|
|1960||Cincinnati Royals||Oscar Robertson ^*||United States||Guard/Forward||Cincinnati||30.5||10.1||9.7|
|1961||Chicago Packers||Walt Bellamy ^*||United States||Center||Indiana||31.6||19.0||2.7|
|1962||Chicago Zephyrs||Bill McGill||United States||Forward/Center||Utah||7.4||2.7||0.6|
|1963||New York Knicks||Art Heyman||United States||Forward/Guard||Duke||15.4||4.0||3.4|
|1964||New York Knicks||Jim Barnes||United States||Center/Forward||Texas Western||15.5||9.7||1.2|
|1965||San Francisco Warriors||Fred Hetzel||United States||Forward/Center||Davidson||6.8||5.2||0.5|
|1966||New York Knicks||Cazzie Russell ^||United States||Forward/Guard||Michigan||11.3||3.3||2.4|
|1967||Detroit Pistons||Jimmy Walker ^||United States||Guard||Providence||8.8||1.7||2.8|
|1968||San Diego Rockets||Elvin Hayes ^*||United States||Center/Forward||Houston||28.4||17.1||1.4|
|1969||Milwaukee Bucks||Lew Alcindor ^*||United States||Center||UCLA||28.8||14.5||4.1|
|1970||Detroit Pistons||Bob Lanier ^*||United States||Center||St. Bonaventure||15.6||8.1||1.8|
|1971||Cleveland Cavaliers||Austin Carr ^||United States||Guard||Notre Dame||21.2||3.5||3.4|
|1972||Portland Trail Blazers||LaRue Martin||United States||Center||Loyola (Illinois)||4.4||4.6||0.5|
|1973||Philadelphia 76ers||Doug Collins ^||United States||Guard/Forward||Illinois State||8.0||1.8||1.6|
|1974||Portland Trail Blazers||Bill Walton ^*||United States||Center||UCLA||12.8||12.6||4.8|
|1975||Atlanta Hawks||David Thompson ^*||United States||Forward/Guard||NC State||26.0||6.3||3.7|
|1976||Houston Rockets||John Lucas||United States||Guard||Maryland||11.1||2.7||5.6|
|1977||Milwaukee Bucks||Kent Benson||United States||Center||Indiana||7.7||4.3||1.4|
|1978||Portland Trail Blazers||Mychal Thompson||Bahamas||Forward/Center||Minnesota||14.7||8.3||2.4|
|1979||Los Angeles Lakers||Magic Johnson ^*||United States||Guard/Forward||Michigan State||18.0||7.7||7.3|
|1980||Golden State Warriors||Joe Barry Carroll ^||United States||Center||Purdue||18.9||9.3||1.4|
|1981||Dallas Mavericks||Mark Aguirre ^||United States||Forward||DePaul||18.7||4.9||3.2|
|1982||Los Angeles Lakers||James Worthy ^*||United States||Forward||North Carolina||13.4||5.2||1.7|
|1983||Houston Rockets||Ralph Sampson ^*||United States||Center||Virginia||21.0||11.1||2.0|
|1984||Houston Rockets||Akeem Olajuwon ^*||Nigeria||Center||Houston||20.6||11.9||1.4|
|1985||New York Knicks||Patrick Ewing ^*||United States||Center||Georgetown||20.0||9.0||2.0|
|1986||Cleveland Cavaliers||Brad Daugherty ^||United States||Center||North Carolina||15.7||8.1||3.8|
|1987||San Antonio Spurs||David Robinson ^*||United States||Center||Navy||24.3||12.0||2.0|
|1988||Los Angeles Clippers||Danny Manning ^||United States||Forward||Kansas||16.7||6.6||3.1|
|1989||Sacramento Kings||Pervis Ellison||United States||Center||Louisville||8.0||5.8||1.9|
|1990||New Jersey Nets||Derrick Coleman ^||United States||Forward/Center||Syracuse||18.4||10.3||2.2|
|1991||Charlotte Hornets||Larry Johnson ^||United States||Forward||UNLV||19.2||11.0||3.6|
|1992||Orlando Magic||Shaquille O'Neal ^*||United States||Center||LSU||23.4||13.9||1.9|
|1993||Orlando Magic||Chris Webber ^*||United States||Forward||Michigan||17.5||9.1||3.6|
|1994||Milwaukee Bucks||Glenn Robinson ^||United States||Forward||Purdue||21.9||6.4||2.5|
|1995||Golden State Warriors||Joe Smith||United States||Forward||Maryland||15.3||8.7||1.0|
|1996||Philadelphia 76ers||Allen Iverson ^*||United States||Guard||Georgetown||23.5||4.1||7.5|
|1997||San Antonio Spurs||Tim Duncan ^*||United States||Forward/Center||Wake Forest||21.1||11.9||2.7|
|1998||Los Angeles Clippers||Michael Olowokandi||Nigeria||Center||Pacific||8.9||7.9||0.6|
|1999||Chicago Bulls||Elton Brand ^||United States||Forward||Duke||20.1||10.0||1.9|
|2000||New Jersey Nets||Kenyon Martin ^||United States||Forward||Cincinnati||12.0||7.4||1.9|
|2001||Washington Wizards||Kwame Brown||United States||Center||Glynn Academy HS (Brunswick, Georgia)||4.5||3.5||0.8|
|2002||Houston Rockets||Yao Ming ^*||China||Center|| Shanghai Sharks |
|2003||Cleveland Cavaliers||LeBron James ^||United States||Forward|| St. Vincent–St. Mary HS |
|2004||Orlando Magic||Dwight Howard ^||United States||Center||SACA (Atlanta)||12.0||10.0||0.9|
|2005||Milwaukee Bucks||Andrew Bogut ^||Australia||Center||Utah||9.4||7.0||2.3|
|2006||Toronto Raptors||Andrea Bargnani||Italy||Forward/Center|| Benetton Treviso |
|2007||Portland Trail Blazers||Greg Oden||United States||Center||Ohio State||8.9||7.0||0.5|
|2008||Chicago Bulls||Derrick Rose ^||United States||Guard||Memphis||16.8||3.9||6.3|
|2009||Los Angeles Clippers||Blake Griffin ^||United States||Forward||Oklahoma||22.5||12.1||3.8|
|2010||Washington Wizards||John Wall ^||United States||Guard||Kentucky||16.4||4.6||8.3|
|2011||Cleveland Cavaliers||Kyrie Irving ^||United States||Guard||Duke||18.5||3.7||5.4|
|2012||New Orleans Hornets||Anthony Davis ^||United States||Forward/Center||Kentucky||13.5||8.2||1.0|
|2013||Cleveland Cavaliers||Anthony Bennett||Canada||Forward||UNLV||4.2||3.0||0.3|
|2014||Cleveland Cavaliers||Andrew Wiggins||Canada||Forward/Guard||Kansas||16.9||4.6||2.1|
|2015||Minnesota Timberwolves||Karl-Anthony Towns ^||United States||Center||Kentucky||18.3||10.4||2.0|
|2016||Philadelphia 76ers||Ben Simmons ^||Australia||Forward/Guard||LSU||15.8||8.1||8.2|
|2017||Philadelphia 76ers||Markelle Fultz||United States||Guard||Washington||7.1||3.1||3.8|
|2018||Phoenix Suns||Deandre Ayton||Bahamas||Center||Arizona||16.3||10.3||1.8|
|2019||New Orleans Pelicans||Zion Williamson ^||United States||Forward||Duke||22.5||6.3||2.1|
|2020||Minnesota Timberwolves||Anthony Edwards||United States||Guard||Georgia||19.3||4.7||2.9|
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