Should the New Orleans Pelicans decide to hold on to the 14th pick in next month’s NBA Draft, they’ll be looking to buck a recent trend of relatively low production from that spot.
Historically speaking, the last time an All-Star was drafted with the 14th selection was back in 2017 (Bam Adebayo). Before that you’d have to go back to 1996, and that is considered one of the deepest and most talented draft classes ever.
So, who were the best picks ever drafted at number 14?
5. Bam Adebayo, 2017
Bam Adebayo is the most recent player at 14 to become an All-Star. Adebayo was selected by the Miami Heat after spending one year at Kentucky alongside fellow future draft picks De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Wenyen Gabriel. He averaged 13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks for the Wildcats, earning Second Team All-SEC honors.
His rookie year numbers were solid, if unspectacular. Adebayo appeared in 69 games, averaging 6.9 points and 5.5 boards.
After two seasons in a reserve role, Bam Adebayo was inserted into the starting lineup to begin the 2019-20 campaign. He started all 72 games for the Heat, posting averages of 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game as Miami made a surprising run to the Finals.
Showcasing his incredible versatility for his size, Adebayo won the All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge and finished second in the voting for Most Improved Player following the season. He also finished fifth in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year.
Since 2019 Adebayo has averaged 17.8 points, 9.8 boards, 4.7 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game while earning four consecutive selections to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team and a second All-Star appearance in 2023.
4. Dan Majerle, 1988
“Thunder Dan” Majerle was drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the 14th pick of the 1988 draft. Majerle was a member of the 1988 US Olympic Team, which was the first US men’s team to not win the gold medal since 1972 and the last team comprised completely of collegiate players.
Majerle averaged 21.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game at Central Michigan University, and was an immediate contributor for the Suns as a rookie, averaging 14.3 points per game as a reserve during Phoenix’s run to the Western Conference Finals.
Over 14 seasons, Majerle would establish himself as a tenacious defender, athletic finisher, and a shooter with tremendous range. He was a three-time All-Star with the Suns and a two-time Second Team All-Defense selection. Majerle also reached the playoffs in 13 of his 14 seasons; getting there with Phoenix, Cleveland, and Miami.
With the Heat he teamed with Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway to help lead Miami to the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals and a then franchise record 61 victories.
He finished his career with more than 10,000 points and 1,300 three-pointers, leading the league in both makes and attempts from 1993-94.
3. Peja Stojakovic, 1996
The Serbian sharpshooter was taken by the Sacramento Kings with the 14th pick of the famed 1996 draft that has yielded 10 all-stars and four Naismith Hall of Fame inductees. Stojakovic began playing professionally at the age of 15 and stayed in Greece until the 1998-99 season. He won the Greek Cup tournament in 1995 and was named MVP of the Greek league in 1998 after averaging 23.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.
Peja finally broke through in the NBA during the 2000-01 season, averaging 20.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game for the Kings while shooting 40 percent from beyond the three-point arc as a starter. Sacramento finished the year with 55 wins and Stojakovic was runner-up in the league’s voting for Most Improved Player.
He was named an All-Star in each of the next three seasons, and won the three-point contest in both the 2002 and 2003 seasons. Peja reached his peak in 2003-04 when he finished second in the NBA’s scoring race with 24.2 ppg, fourth in MVP voting, and on the All-NBA Second Team.
Fans in New Orleans got to know Stojakovic after he signed with the team as a free agent prior to the 2006-07. Peja was part of the most successful team in franchise history, as the Hornets won 56 games, their first division title, and pushed the San Antonio Spurs to seven games in the 2009 playoffs.
Stojakovic retired after 13 seasons. He still ranks second all-time in three-pointers made for the Pelicans (553) and 26th in NBA history with 1,760 triples.
2. Tim Hardaway, 1989
One of the legendary point guards to come out of the city of Chicago, Tim Hardaway was the 14th pick of the Golden State Warriors in 1989.
Hardaway entered the league already with a signature move, the “UTEP two-step”, also known as “the killer crossover.” At just six feet tall, Hardaway was one of the NBA’s most exciting scorers and passers throughout the 1990s.
As a member of the “Run TMC” trio with Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond, Hardaway pushed the Warriors’ aggressive fast break, showcasing his elite one-on-one skills, ball-handling, and scoring. Between 1990-95 he put up numbers comparable to the top point guards in the NBA, making three All-Star teams while averaging 22 points, 10 assists, and two steals per game and shooting 36 percent from three-point range. Only Oscar Robertson reached 5,000 points and 2,500 assists faster than he did.
Hardaway was traded to Miami in 1996 and in 1997 he and Alonzo Mourning helped lead the Heat to 61 wins. Tim Hardaway was an All-Star again in 1997 and 1998, appearing in 162 of 164 regular season games. He finished fourth in MVP voting in 1997 and averaged more than 17 points and eight assists for his career. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for the Class of 2022.
1. Clyde Drexler, 1983
“Clyde the Glide” might be the most surprising pick at the 14th slot. The 1983 Southwest Conference co-Player of the Year and Second Team All-American played in two Final Fours with the Houston Cougars as part of the “Phi Slama Jama” basketball fraternity and remains the only player in Cougar history with at least 1,000 points, 900 rebounds, and 300 assists.
Taken by the Portland Trail Blazers, Drexler would average just under eight points per game as a rookie. In year three, Clyde would make his first All-Star team after averaging 18.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 2.6 steals.
In 12 seasons with the Blazers, Drexler would make eight All-Star game appearances and earn one All-NBA First Team, two All-NBA Second Team, and two All-NBA Third Team selections.
He took Portland to the NBA Finals twice and was a member of the 1992 US Men’s Basketball “Dream Team” before he was traded to the Houston Rockets in 1995. Reunited with his college teammate Hakeem Olajuwon, Drexler helped the Rockets claim their second consecutive championship.
His jersey has been retired by both the Trail Blazers and Rockets, and Drexler was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
He was also recognized as a member of both the NBA’s 50th and 75th anniversary teams.
Honorable Mention: Herb Williams, Michael Cage, Luke Ridnour, Marcus Morris, Michael Porter Jr.
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