NBA Expansion: Ranking The Top Draft Picks

Because this blog is brand new, and therefore has very little following, it will likely move in several non-sensical directions. But who says non-sensical directions aren’t fun and entertaining? This is my first of many posts. While I will likely hit on a range of subjects, it is my goal to appeal to the everyday NBA fanatic, and in-turn, relate that fanaticism to the NBA movement in Louisville. Let’s do this.

An expansion is the most likely way an NBA team ends up in the fine city of Louisville, KY.  Many people debate whether or not that will happen in the near future given the new TV contracts etc, but there is one fact that is non-debatable… Expansion Drafts are awesome.

Because Expansion Drafts are awesome, I’ve ranked the top 5 Expansion Draft picks of all time. Enjoy.

5. Mugsy Bogues (1988)

After being selected 12th overall in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets, Mugsy was left unprotected and taken in the following year’s Expansion Draft by the Charlotte Hornets.  While he averaged a modest 7.7 points and 7.6 assists per game for his career, Mugsy was widely regarded as one of the most exciting guards in the league and is an all-time favorite amongst the Hornets organization.  Plus he was in Space Jam.

4. Gerald Wallace (2004)

Wallace was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the 25th pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. After struggling to find the court early in his career he was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2004 Expansion Draft.  Wallace was voted to the 2010 All-Star game and was selected to the All-Defensive First Team the same year. He has averaged a career 12.4 points per game.

3. Jerry Sloan (1966)

Sloan was selected in the 1966 Expansion Draft by the Chicago Bulls. While Sloan is known more for his coaching legacy, he produced two All-Star appearances and made the All-Defensive First Team four times.  His most elite statistics come in the form of coaching victories, as he is the only Head Coach to win 1,000 games with one franchise.  He is currently in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

2. Walt Bellamy (1974)

Bellamy was selected in the 1974 Expansion Draft by the New Orleans Jazz. Unfortunately for the Jazz, Bellamy was at the end of his outstanding career. He was selected with the first overall pick in the 1961 NBA Draft, and averaged 31.6 points per game in his rookie season. He ended his career with over 20,000 points and 14,000 rebounds and is currently in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

1. Pat Riley (1970)

Riley was selected in the 1970 Expansion Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers.  His playing career was not particularly great, but he did win an NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1972.  It is his post-playing days where Riley truly made his mark on the NBA. Since his playing career, he has accounted for 7 total NBA Championships (4 as a Head Coach, 1 as a Head Coach/President, and 2 as a President). He is arguably one of the greatest basketball minds to have been through the NBA.

Feel free to share your top expansion players in the comments!

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