Isiah Thomas is the best drafting general manager in the NBA, according to an empirical study conducted by ESPN.
While with the Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks, Thomas had a Net Expected Wins Average of +1.7 per pick. Thomas drafted Damon Stoudamire seventh overall in 1995 and Tracy McGrady at ninth during his tenure with the Raptors. David Lee, Trevor Ariza, Wilson Chandler and Nate Robinson were all high value picks with the Knicks.
Jim Paxson ranks second with the picks of Carlos Boozer, Anderson Varejao and Jason Kapono standing out.
Kiki Vandeweghe, Sam Presti and Jeff Bower round out the top-five.
The worst drafting general managers of the period are David Kahn, Jerry Reynolds, Elgin Baylor, John Gabriel and Pete Babcock.