We rate each NBA draft result across a number of categories. Front office personnel are judged by the most basic criteria of all, wins and losses. There are other factors that we look at. Player longevity and statistical performance are two keys that can earn accolades for a draft class.
There are also things such as the number of all stars and eventual Hall of Famers. The NBA's highest individual player honor, the league MVP, is yet another. Here's a look at how NBA draft classes have done in producing the most MVPs out of a single draft year.
The NBA MVP in a Nutshell
Each year, the NBA recognizes the player whose performance was deemed the most outstanding during that regular season. Since the league has the best basketball players in the world, that player is in some respects tabbed as the best of the best on the globe.
The first award was presented to St. Louis Hawks' power forward Bob Pettit after the 1955-56 season. After his retirement, the trophy was named in honor of the first NBA Commissioner, Maurice Podoloff.
Players selected the MVP up until the 1979-80 season. Since that year, a select group of national sportswriters and broadcasters across North America has voted for the top NBA player. An additional ballot from a collective fan vote was added in 2010.
Three times, the same player has won the MVP after three consecutive seasons. Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird accomplished this feat. Eight times the league has crowned a repeat MVP the next season, the most recent being Stephen Curry in 2015-16.
LeBron James is the only player to earn back-to-back MVPs twice in a career. Curry was the first unanimous winner his second back-to-back MVP and Derrick Rose was the youngest to win the coveted award at 22.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won a record six NBA MVPs. Michael Jordan is second with five MVPs in his decorated a career, followed presently by James with four. Chamberlain also won four times in the 1960s. Legendary rivals, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson each won the MVP three times during their careers.
Out of all these legendary players, three draft classes stand above the rest in producing MVP award winners. We've divided them into two honorable mention, and the most valuable of the most valuable.
Honorable Mention MVP Draft Classes
The 2003 NBA draft class was deemed the most successful producer of star talent in 20 years. Four out of the top five players selected are making a case as future hall of fame members. LeBron James and his four MVP titles earn the 2003 class an honorable mention vote.
In 1996, the draft class players went on to earn top honors for the most total all star appearances. Only one player out of the top-six did not make an all star appearance at least one time.
Steve Nash is one of the back-to-back MVP winners. The 1996 class also had the late Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson, each who won the award once. With three players winning a total of four MVPs, the 1996 NBA draft result ties our winner for the number of different players to win the award.
The Most Valuable of the Most Valuable
As the 1984 NBA draft unfolded, no one could have envisioned the dominance this group of players would exert on professional basketball during their careers. Out of the first five draft picks, three would win the MVP award, tying the 1996 class for most individual MVP players.
However, one player would push the 1984 draft class to the level of the most valuable of the most valuable. Michael Jordan would win the award five times by himself. Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon and Charles Barkley would add two more MVP awards to the class's MVP resume.
Few argue 1984's assent to the top of the all-NBA draft class list. Not only does the class own seven MVP awards, but they collectively took home eight NBA league titles. We all watched as His Airness claimed six championships for his Chicago Bulls.
While he never won an MVP of his own, mainly because his teammate Karl Malone won twice, John Stockton is the career leader in both steals and assists. Even the next-to-last player drafted, Jerome Kersey won an NBA championship in 1999.
The NBA draft class from 1984 has secured its spot as one of the NBA greatest drafts of all-time. In respect to winning the most NBA MVP awards, it surpasses all others with seven. The 1996 class can match it for different players. But, when Michael Jordan is part of your draft class, you can expect to be the most valuable of the most valuable.