The Top 5 NBA Draft Classes in Recent History

Which group of players have shown that they're the best?

Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Myles Turner, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker. That is just a handful of players selected in an impressive 2015 NBA Draft class.

Towns and Porzingis have both shown signs of being generational talents as well as franchise cornerstones for the Timberwolves and Knicks, respectively. Meanwhile, Turner has proven himself as a versatile and valuable center for years to come in Indiana. Lyles and Booker, however, have had less fortunate opportunities in their time removed from Kentucky. Lyles has had success in limited minutes off the Jazz bench, while Booker has been forced into action for a rebuilding Suns team.

In reflecting on this class roughly a year-and-a-half later, it caused me to think about the best draft class in recent history. Is it LeBron James' 2003 class? Or maybe Tim Duncan's group from 1997?

In order to find the answer, with the help of Basketball Reference's Draft Index, data was gathered on all draft classes from 1992 to 2011. Why those dates? Well, 2011 because anything more recent than that would provide us with a limited sample size, and 1992, because it provides us with an even 20 draft classes to consider.

In order to narrow the 20 different classes down to an elite five, each class' total minutes played and win shares were tallied -- an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player (You can read more on how win shares are calculated by going here). Then, win shares were divided by minutes in order to obtain a per-minute measure, followed by being multiplied by 48 to produce an accurate measure of win shares per 48 minutes (WS/48), the length of a full game.

Do keep in mind that this does not account for those players who have never participated in a single regular season game. So, certain draft classes littered with foreign players to have never set foot on an NBA court may be propped up by those elite players at the top of it.

With that in mind, these are the top 5 draft classes between 1992 and 2011, ranked by calculated WS/48.