Top NBA draft picks from North Carolina

Written by:
April 6, 2022
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Top NBA draft picks from North Carolina

Summer may not be professional basketball season, but there is one thing that brings fans, teams, and college ball players the same excitement and anticipation as any headline matchup—the National Basketball Association’s annual Draft.

The draft has evolved over the years from the sort of thing you’d read about in the newspaper to a fully televised event that has become a significant draw for the NBA, both from a revenue and brand reinforcement standpoint. The draft’s key role for teams is to allow them to pinpoint their deficiencies in order to identify precisely what kind of player they need coming out of the annual raffle, and also to effect strategic trades either for (or with) draft picks to plan for the future.

The draft’s impact at the college level is even bigger. Since it is the ambition of most college ball players to go pro, each year’s draft presents them with a new chance to level up. Now that high school players cannot qualify except after a gap year (of either college ball or not) due to 2006’s “one-and-done rule,” the annual pool of eligible college players is the NBA’s best source of fresh talent.

In summer 2022, colleges and universities across the country will see their top players try to fulfill their dream of playing at the professional level. Many schools are known for their basketball programs, and many more seem to slip under the radar while surprising teams and fans alike by producing some of the greatest players ever to take the court. For every Reggie Miller (UCLA), there’s a Stephen Curry (Davidson College). That’s what makes the draft so exciting for sports fans—they get to bear witness to dreams coming true and potential being rewarded. After more than 70 years, the NBA Draft retains its power to change the face of the game and help teams transform themselves into championship contenders.

With the next draft set for June 23, 2022, Stacker compiled a list of the highest NBA draft picks from [university], using data from Basketball-Reference.com. Before the 2022 draft class is decided, take a look back at the top picks from your favorite college team down through NBA history.

#10. Bob McAdoo (C/PF)
- Born: Greensboro, North Carolina
- Draft pick: #2 overall in 1972
- Drafted by: Buffalo Braves
- School: UNC
- Years in NBA: 14

#9. Phil Ford (PG)
- Born: Rocky Mount, North Carolina
- Draft pick: #2 overall in 1978
- Drafted by: Kansas City Kings
- School: UNC
- Years in NBA: 7

#8. Brandon Ingram (SF/PF)
- Born: Kinston, North Carolina
- Draft pick: #2 overall in 2016
- Drafted by: Los Angeles Lakers
- School: Duke
- Years in NBA: 6

#7. Walt Bellamy (C)
- Born: New Bern, North Carolina
- Draft pick: #1 overall in 1961
- Drafted by: Chicago Packers
- School: Indiana
- Years in NBA: 14

#6. David Thompson (SG/SF)
- Born: Shelby, North Carolina
- Draft pick: #1 overall in 1975
- Drafted by: Atlanta Hawks
- School: NC State
- Years in NBA: 8

#5. John Lucas (PG/SG)
- Born: Durham, North Carolina
- Draft pick: #1 overall in 1976
- Drafted by: Houston Rockets
- School: Maryland
- Years in NBA: 14

#4. James Worthy (SF/PF)
- Born: Gastonia, North Carolina
- Draft pick: #1 overall in 1982
- Drafted by: Los Angeles Lakers
- School: UNC
- Years in NBA: 12

#3. Brad Daugherty (C)
- Born: Black Mountain, North Carolina
- Draft pick: #1 overall in 1986
- Drafted by: Cleveland Cavaliers
- School: UNC
- Years in NBA: 8

#2. John Wall (PG)
- Born: Raleigh, North Carolina
- Draft pick: #1 overall in 2010
- Drafted by: Washington Wizards
- School: Kentucky
- Years in NBA: 10

#1. Zion Williamson (PF)
- Born: Salisbury, North Carolina
- Draft pick: #1 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: New Orleans Pelicans
- School: Duke
- Years in NBA: 2

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