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NBA Draft 2020

The complete history of first overall selections in the NBA Draft

The 2020 NBA Draft will be the 73rd annual entry draft.

A lot has happened in the 70-plus years of the draft and there's sure to be more history to be made as the years go on.

With the draft scheduled for October 16, we thought it would be good to take a look at some of the most unique facts of the NBA Draft.

- The first-ever draft was held on July 1, 1947 in Detroit, Michigan by the then BAA (Basketball Association of America), which later became the NBA in August of 1949.

- Clifton McNeeley was the first-ever player selected in the draft. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Ironmen. The Ironmen went 15-45 and missed the playoffs in 1946-47, earning the first overall selection.

- The team folded before the start of the next season, however, before McNeeley could even play in the pros. He instead became a high school basketball coach, winning four state titles, amassing a record of 320-43.

- McNeeley and Gene Melchiorre - the first overall pick in the 1951 NBA Draft - remain the only two top picks to never play a pro basketball game.

- The Cleveland Cavaliers have held the most number one overall selections, getting the opportunity to pick first overall on six different occasions.

- Austin Carr (1971), Brad Daugherty (1986), LeBron James (2003), Kyrie Irving (2011), Anthony Bennett (2013) and Andrew Wiggins (2014) all heard their names called first by the Cavs.

- The Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings are the only modern-day franchises who've only had the first overall pick once.

- The Memphis Grizzlies, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat have never had the first overall pick in the NBA Draft.

- The Duke Blue Devils boast the most number one overall draft picks with four. Art Heyman (1963), Elton Brand (1999), Kyrie Irving (2011) and Zion Williamson (2019) are the four Dukies who've had the honour of being selected number one overall.

- Kwame Brown was the first high schooler to be selected first overall in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards. LeBron James in 2003 and Dwight Howard in 2004 later joined him.

- Yao Ming in 2002 and Andrea Bargnani in 2006 are the only two international players who didn't play college ball to be selected number one.

- 11 international players have been taken with the first pick of the draft. Mychal Thompson (Bahamas) - father of Klay Thompson - was the first in 1978. Deandre Ayton became the second player from the Bahamas selected first overall in 2018.

- Canadians Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins made history when they became the first pair of non-American players to go back-to-back from the same country in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

- Australia's Andrew Bogut (2005) and Italy's Andrea Bargnani (2006) were the first pair of international players to be selected first in back-to-back years.

- Hakeem Olajuwon and Yao Ming are the only two international first overall selections to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In total, 18 first overall picks have been inducted into the Hall.

Here is the complete list of first overall picks in NBA history:

Year Selected by Player Nationality School/club
2019 New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson USA Duke
2018 Phoenix Suns Deandre Ayton Bahamas Arizona
2017 Philadelphia 76ers Markelle Fultz USA Washington
2016 Philadelphia 76ers Ben Simmons Australia LSU
2015 Minnesota Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Towns Dominican Republic Kentucky
2014 Cleveland Cavaliers Andrew Wiggins Canada Kansas
2013 Cleveland Cavaliers Anthony Bennett Canada UNLV
2012 New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis USA Kentucky
2011 Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving USA Duke
2010 Washington Wizards John Wall USA Kentucky
2009 Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin USA Oklahoma
2008 Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose USA Memphis
2007 Portland Trail Blazers Greg Oden USA Ohio State
2006 Toronto Raptors Andrea Bargnani Italy Benetton Treviso
2005 Milwaukee Bucks Andrew Bogut Australia Utah
2004 Orlando Magic Dwight Howard USA SACA
2003 Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James USA St. Vincent-St. Mary
2002 Houston Rockets Yao Ming China Shanghai Sharks
2001 Washington Wizards Kwame Brown USA Glynn Academy HS
2000 New Jersey Nets Kenyon Martin USA Cincinnati
1999 Chicago Bulls Elton Brand USA Duke
1998 Los Angeles Clippers Michael Olowokandi Nigeria Pacific
1997 San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan USA Wake Forest
1996 Philadelphia 76ers Allen Iverson USA Georgetown
1995 Golden State Warriors Joe Smith USA Maryland
1994 Milwaukee Bucks Glenn Robinson USA Purdue
1993 Orlando Magic Chris Webber USA Michigan
1992 Orlando Magic Shaquille O'Neal USA LSU
1991 Charlotte Hornets Larry Johnson USA UNLV
1990 New Jersey Nets Derrick Coleman USA Syracuse
1989 Sacramento Kings Pervis Ellison USA Louisville
1988 Los Angeles Clippers Danny Manning USA Kansas
1987 San Antonio Spurs David Robinson USA Navy
1986 Cleveland Cavaliers Brad Daugherty USA North Carolina
1985 New York Knicks Patrick Ewing USA Georgetown
1984 Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon Nigeria Houston
1983 Houston Rockets Ralph Sampson USA Virginia
1982 Los Angeles Lakers James Worthy USA North Carolina
1981 Dallas Mavericks Mark Aguirre USA DePaul
1980 Golden State Warriors Joe Barry Carroll USA Purdue
1979 Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson USA Michigan State
1978 Portland Trail Blazers Mychal Thompson Bahamas Minnesota
1977 Milwaukee Bucks Kent Benson USA Indiana
1976 Houston Rockets John Lucas USA Maryland
1975 Atlanta Hawks David Thompson USA NC State
1974 Portland Trail Blazers Bill Walton USA UCLA
1973 Philadelphia 76ers Doug Collins USA Illinois State
1972 Portland Trail Blazers LaRue Martin USA Loyola (Illinois)
1971 Cleveland Cavaliers Austin Carr USA Notre Dame
1970 Detroit Pistons Bob Lanier USA St. Bonaventure
1969 Milwaukee Bucks Lew Alcindor USA UCLA
1968 San Diego Rockets Elvin Hayes USA Houston
1967 Detroit Pistons Jimmy Walker USA Providence
1996 New York Knicks Cazzie Russell USA Michigan
1965 San Francisco Warriors Fred Hetzel USA Davidson
1964 New York Knicks Jim Barnes USA Texas Western
1963 New York Knicks Art Heyman USA Duke
1962 Chicago Zephyrs Bill McGill USA Utah
1961 Chicago Packers Walt Bellamy USA Indiana
1960 Cincinnati Royals Oscar Robertson USA Cincinnati
1959 Cincinnati Royals Bob Boozer USA Kansas State
1958 Minneapolis Lakers Elgin Baylor USA Seattle
1957 Cincinnati Royals Rod Hundley USA West Virginia
1956 Rochester Royals Sihugo Green USA Duquesne
1955 Milwaukee Bucks Dick Ricketts USA Duquesne
1954 Baltimore Bullets Frank Selvy USA Furman
1953 Baltimore Bullets Ray Felix USA Long Island
1952 Milwaukee Hawks Mark Workman USA West Virginia
1951 Baltimore Bullets Gene Melchiorre USA Bradley
1950 Boston Celtics Charlies Share USA Bowling Green
1949 Providence Steamrollers Howie Shannon USA Kansas State
1948 Providence Steamrollers Andy Tonkovich USA Marshall
1947 Pittsburgh Ironmen Clifton McNeeley USA Texas Wesleyan

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