The NBA draft lottery happened Tuesday night, and the Charlotte Hornets pulled the 13th pick. The 13th pick might seem like bad luck — after all, the lottery only includes the bottom 14 teams.
But did you know some of the NBA’s most elite players were No. 13 picks? Here’s a list of the top five best No. 13 NBA draft picks of all time.
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Top 5 No. 13 NBA Draft Picks Ever
Let’s start with the greatest player ever to be drafted at No. 13.
1. Kobe Bryant
That’s right. NBA all-time legend Kobe Bryant was picked at No. 13 in the NBA draft. Of course, “Kobe” became a household name as Bryant rose to the conversation of the greatest of all time and inspired millions of fans around the world.
Bryant was drafted at No. 13 by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996 and then traded to the Lakers. He spent his entire 20-year career with Los Angeles, winning five NBA championships. Bryant was also an 18-time All-Star, member of the All-NBA Team 15 times, 2008 NBA MVP, and NBA Finals MVP two times.
He led the NBA in scoring two times and is fourth in the league’s all-time regular season and postseason scoring.
In 2020, Bryant posthumously joined the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2021, he was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team along with other superstars like LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
While Bryant tragically died in an accident in 2020, his legacy lives on in NBA and world history.
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2. Karl Malone
Karl Malone is one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history. Selected at No. 13 by the Utah Jazz in the 1985 NBA draft, Malone spent 18 seasons in Utah and one final season with the Los Angeles Lakers. In that time, he became a two-time NBA MVP and 14-time NBA All-Star.
Malone is nicknamed “the Mailman.” He ranks third all-time in career points scored, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James. He went to the NBA Playoffs every season he played, including trips to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998.
In 1992 and 1996, he won gold medals as part of the US Olympic team. He’s been named to both the NBA 50th Anniversary Team and the NBA 75th Anniversary team.
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3. Hal Greer
Hal Greer was the No 13 draft pick by the Syracuse Nationals in the 1958 NBA draft. In five seasons with the Nationals, he became an NBA All-Star and raised his scoring average to 22.8 points per game.
The Nationals moved to Philadelphia, becoming the team we now know as the Philadelphia 76ers. Greer helped Philly secure the 1966-67 NBA Championship alongside superstar Wilt Chamberlain. In that season, he averaged the team’s highest points per game at 27.7 points.
Greer became a 10-time NBA All-Star. After retirement, he was named among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, the NBA 75th Anniversary team, and the Basketball Hall of Fame.
4. Jalen Rose
Jalen Rose was a basketball star from college through his 13-year NBA career. He’s now a well-known sports analyst for ABC and ESPN.
Rose played point guard/small forward and was a part of the University of Michigan “Fab Five” in 1992 and 1993. Despite his high college profile, he was drafted No. 13 by the Denver Nuggets. In his stellar career, Rose played for the Nuggets, the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, and Phoenix Suns.
Alongside Reggie Miller, Rose took the Pacers to three consecutive Eastern Conference finals and to the NBA Finals in 2000. He averaged 4.3 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game.
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5. Devin Booker
Devin Booker is already a superstar, and he’s still just 25 years old. Booker played for the Kentucky Wildcats for one season before being drafted at the No. 13 overall by the Phoenix Suns in 2015.
Since then, Booker became the youngest player to score over 60 points in a game and the youngest player with consecutive 50-point games. He is a three-time NBA All-Star. In 2021, he led the Suns to the NBA Finals.
This year, Booker and Chris Paul brought their team to the Western Conference semifinals, going all the way to Game 7 against the Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 26.8 points, 5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game in the 2021-2022 season.
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill