NBA Draft: Top 30 draft steals in league history

Adam Silver, 2019 NBA Draft. Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Adam Silver, 2019 NBA Draft. Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images /
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Alex English, Denver Nuggets
Alex English, Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Brian Drake/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Small Forward. 23rd pick: 1976. player. 89. Scouting Report. Alex English. 13. Pick Analysis

Best NBA Draft steals of all time: Alex English, Milwaukee Bucks

As a second-round pick (23rd overall) in the 1976 NBA Draft, Alex English — with his scoring ability — proved to the rest of the league that he was taken too low.

Originally selected in the draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, English spent only two years with the Bucks before signing a free agent deal to join the Indiana Pacers.

In his third NBA season — and first with the Pacers — English began to show his propensity as a scorer, raising his points per game average from 9.6 the seasons before to 16.0.

That number would continue to climb throughout his career.

After just one and a half seasons with the Pacers, English was traded to the Denver Nuggets, where he would spend most of his career.

English’s most successful years in the NBA were in Denver, where he became a consecutive eight-time NBA All-Star and earned three All-NBA selections, while averaging 25.9 points per game on over 50 percent shooting from the field.

He also helped the Nuggets reach the NBA playoffs for nine consecutive seasons, including a run to the Western Conference Finals in the 1984-85 NBA season.

At the conclusion of his career, English was selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and is currently 18th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

None of the 17 players above him played fewer total career minutes. English also has the lowest total amount of free throw attempts among the top-20 scorers of all-time, further cementing his ability to score buckets in the run of play.

Many NBA Draft picks are adept at scoring the basketball. Very few stay in the top-20 of the all-time scorers list, especially 28 years after their retirement. For that type of bucket-getter to be available at the 26th pick in the NBA Draft makes English a great draft steal.