The 20 Best Top Overall Picks in NBA History

Which players taken first in the draft have had the best NBA careers?

In the NBA, we regularly talk about top picks who haven't panned out. Anthony Bennett, Kwame Brown and Michael Olowokandi are probably the three most mentioned names on the list of recent busts.

But, in a historical perspective, we don't talk enough about the best players taken No. 1 overall -- the booms on the other side of the busts.

Let's take a look at some of the best top picks in NBA history, ranking their careers from 20 to 1.

How do we do this?

Basketball Reference's win shares -- that's how. "What are win shares?" you might ask. Basically, they are an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player. For more of an in-depth explanation, you can check out Basketball Reference's glossary.

To account for the varying length of a player's career, we can average out win shares to account for minutes played. The most common average is per-48 minutes of play (win shares per 48, or WS/48), the length of a full regulation game. Every top overall pick in NBA draft history, which dates back to 1947, is up for inclusion in this list.

Using this form of advanced measurement, who has been the best and most efficient top overall pick to date?