Best NBA Draft steals of all time: Clyde Drexler, Portland Trail Blazers
When talking about players with a “smooth” game, it’s impossible to not bring up Clyde “the Glide” Drexler.
Drexler gained basketball notoriety even before he entered the NBA as a member of the University of Houston’s “Phi Slamma Jamma.”
After losing the historic title game upset to North Carolina State, Drexler declared for the NBA Draft. The Portland Trail Blazers selected him with the 14th pick in the 1983 NBA Draft.
Although Drexler played in all 82 regular season games his rookie season, he failed to make much of a statistical impact.
That would change the following year.
Coming back for his second season in the league, Drexler increased his per game scoring total by 9.5, his assists per game by 3.6 and his rebounds per game by 4.1.
In 1992, Drexler participated on the USA Olympic “Dream Team,” joining arguably the greatest assembly of basketball talent ever and winning a gold medal.
Drexler spent 10 and a half seasons with the Trail Blazers earning eight All-Star selections, five All-NBA nods and led the team to two NBA Finals appearances.
Halfway through the 1994-95 NBA season the Trail Blazers traded the 32-year-old guard back to his hometown. Although the Houston Rockets only secured the sixth seed in the 1995 NBA Playoffs, Drexler and his long-time friend and college teammate Hakeem Olajuwon led Houston to an NBA title.
After his 16-year career, Clyde Drexler earned a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Most NBA players don’t make an All-Star team or garner an All-NBA selection in their career. Drexler did both, while winning the most coveted prize: a championship. To accomplish that as the 14th pick earns him a spot as one of the best draft steals in NBA history.