In honor of the 2016 NBA Draft tonight at 7pm on ESPN, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the best looks from past drafts. Beginning at 2010’s Draft, I rounded up what I thought was some of the most stylish outfits that these young NBA stars wore when their name was called by the Commissioner in front of thousands of fans.
While their individual styles have evolved and many of them have become more fashion conscious since they’ve been in the league, let’s see where these young NBA ballers’ style story began.
No. 16: Paul George, 2010 NBA Draft
Before he was the victim of a Drake Instagram diss and his horrific leg injury in a 2014 USA Basketball game, Paul George from Fresno State University donned a clean tan suit when he was picked 10th overall by the Indiana Pacers. Radiating summer with his Draft Day suit, PG keeps it clean with a crisp white shirt and added a pop of color with that black and pink polka dotted tie. Since Draft Day, PG has made three All-Star teams, been in the Playoffs a handful of times, received the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award in 2013, and stepped up his fashion game. He even was in a Gatorade commercial about it!
No. 15: Trey Burke, 2013 NBA Draft
Selected 9th overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Trey Burke ended up with the Utah Jazz after a trade that went down on Draft Night. While I am all for lighter colored suits, Trey’s look ended up on my list because of the impeccable tailoring and the complementing patterned button down he wore underneath his jacket. While his tie bar is a little bit crooked, his choice of a yellow tie & pocket square brightens up his look; however, I would have liked to see a tie that wasn’t so shiny, Trey. After racking up awards in his three years at Michigan, Trey blossomed his rookie year and was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2014 and taking home the NBA Skills Challenge title at the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.
No. 14: Julius Randle, 2014 NBA Draft
With the 7th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected forward Julius Randle from the University of Kentucky. His grey suit donned with black trimming around the pockets moves away from the mundane black suits. But what makes this outfit great is the accessories – the velvet black bowtie is a nice break from the ties that seem to be worn all throughout the draft, the black and white carnation adds more fun to his look, and the pocket square accentuates the black trimmed pocket on the jacket. After an impressive freshman season, Randle was named the SEC Freshman Player of the Year in 2014. While the Lakers haven’t been doing well as of late, Randle was selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game’s Rookie/Sophomore game on Team USA and it seems like he’s only going up!
No. 13: Aaron Gordon, 2014 NBA Draft
Aaron Gordon was selected 4th overall by the Orlando Magic out of the University of Arizona, and wore a suit which perfectly matches his future team’s colors. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. But I appreciate him trying to go for a nice blue suit, I really do. His tie maybe could have been black to match his pocket square to bring in all the colors together, but I can’t complain. A tall athlete in a well tailored suit is always a great look! After his rookie year, Aaron is best known for his dunkoff with Zach LaVine in the 2016 All-Star Game in Toronto which is one of the best contests in recent history.
No. 12: Kawhi Leonard, 2010 NBA Draft
While Kawhi has become a star in his own right by nabbing back to back Defensive Player of the Year honors, NBA Finals MVP, and a coveted championship ring, he had one of my favorite looks in recent NBA Draft history. Before people realized how big of a star Kawhi Leonard could become, he was selected 15th overall by the Indiana Pacers but was immediately traded to the San Antonio Spurs. Kawhi gets props for his jacket and the white trim around the lapel with the matching white pocket square. While he did go for a navy blue tie (which kinda doesn’t make sense to me), his jacket makes the look, and it matches with the Spurs’s grey color scheme!
No. 11: Kyrie Irving, 2010 NBA Draft
The No. 1 pick in the 2010 Draft and recent NBA Champion, Kyrie Irving, makes it on my list of best Draft Day looks with a classic-can’t-go-wrong suit. While Kyrie didn’t do anything too outrageous with his look, he kept it clean with a nice tailored suit and a beautifully white button down offset with a pale blue striped tie. His suit is tailored well, and we get a look of Kyrie’s watch game, which is just as strong as his clutch three point shooting in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The future Rookie of the Year, All-Star, and FIBA World Cup MVP started off his NBA Style career off right, and sets the stage for his future postgame style, too.
No. 10: Michael Carter-Williams, 2013 NBA Draft
When he was drafted 11th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, Michael Carter-Williams kept it sharp with a pale blue suit. MCW also has a wonderfully tailored suit to fit his 6′ 6″ frame, and his tie brings in the same pale blue tone while introducing some magenta which adds some depth to his look. While the tie is a larger width, it doesn’t swallow his frame up since the lapel is narrow. Good looking out, MCW. The 2014 Rookie of the Year definitely knew what he was doing fashion-wise on Draft Night, and even though he’s in Milwaukee now, MCW still takes care of his fashion game.
No. 9: Elfrid Payton, 2013 NBA Draft
Elfrid Payton, selected 10th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers just before MCW, was traded to the Orlando Magic that same night and has been there since. After three years at Kentucky, Payton declared for the draft and donned a beautiful double breasted navy suit jacket. Complementing the navy jacket and the black lapel, Payton opted for a black and white pattered tie and pocket square, adding some lighter elements to his suit. Payton makes it high on my list because of his double breasted suit jacked approach, one that isn’t typically seen on Draft Night. After the Draft, Payton made the NBA’s 2015 Rookie All-Team and seems to be gaining more experience on the young Magic squad.
No. 8: CJ McCollum, 2013 NBA Draft
After finishing four years at Lehigh University with a degree in journalism, CJ McCollum was selected 10th overall by his current team, the Portland Trail Blazers. CJ’s suit on Draft Night is a light grey suit which he paired with a pale green button down and a darker green striped tie. The mix of green and grey makes his look a little more relaxed compared to the darker tones that we’ve seen, and the white pocket square just brightens this look up. Additional points for the watch, CJ – great choice! Known to many as one-half of Portland’s deadly backcourt, CJ nabbed up this year’s Most Improved Player award and was even a two-time Patriot League Player of the Year at Lehigh (2010, 2012). As he mentioned in JJ Redick’s podcast, CJ’s got a lot more suits where that came from.
No. 7: Jabari Parker, 2014 NBA Draft
Jabari Parker was the #2 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft for Milwaukee and he dressed for the part. The light grey suit with faint thread lines is paired with a black tie and wide tie bar. Jabari played it neutral and safe, but added a rose pin to add a pop of color, which was a nice touch. He looks polished and shows that even with grey and black, you can still look stylish on Draft Night. On the NBA’s radar since he was in high school, he spent a year at Duke and subsequently declared for the Draft. Even though Jabari hasn’t played much because of injury, here’s hoping for a healthy 2016-17 so we can see more of his NBA Style.
No. 6: Kristaps Porzingis, 2015 NBA Draft
Seen as the steal in the 2015 Draft, Kristaps Porzingis was selected 4th overall by the New York Knicks and quickly took the city by storm. Even though he was famously booed by fans on Draft Night, KP still stunned with a deep red suit with a black shawl lapel. His narrow tie fits in with the lapel perfectly and doesn’t make his body look disproportionate (I mean, he is 7′ 3″), and the pocket square? Nice touch, KP. Besides reinvigorating Knicks fans, KP has nabbed a couple of Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honors and entered the heart of Knicks fans everywhere, myself included. Here’s looking to the future, KP! Where your outfits will be stylin’.
No. 5: Jeremy Lamb, 2012 NBA Draft
When he was selected 12th overall by the Houston Rockets in the NBA Draft, Jeremy Lamb donned a grey suit like many of the guys on his list. While he did keep it cool with a narrower lapel and a black tie, he added a softness to his look with a pink pocket square, which is what ranks him so high on my list. After some moving around, Jeremy is currently the Charlotte Hornets where he’s averaging a career high 8.8 PPG and .5 BPG. With Charlotte’s playoff inclusion in recent years, it’ll be interesting to see him grow and step into his role with the Hornets. Let’s just hope he keeps it sharp postgame like these suits!
No. 4: Damian Lillard, 2012 NBA Draft
After going under the radar for most of college, Damian Lillard, after four years at Weber State, was selected with the 6th overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers. When I first saw this look years ago, I loved it and it has become one of my favorite Draft Day looks. Going for a tux for the Draft, Dame played it well with a grey checkered suit with black detailing on the pockets and opting for a black vest inside his jacket. The crisp white shirt and the black tie fit beautifully underneath the vest, but the best part is probably the red pocket square with black detailing, mimicking the look of a rose. Dame is one of my favorite NBA players not only because of his Draft Day look, but also because he’s a spectacular player – Rookie of the Year in 2013, an All-Star, and capable of dropping dimes, 40 points in a game, or fire lyrics. Taking his fashion sense to his deal with Adidas, Dame released shoes and clothes with the brand that are just as amazing as his Draft Day look.
No. 3: Jahlil Okafor, 2015 NBA Draft
The #3 pick from Duke in last year’s draft, Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor ranks #3 in in my list of the best looks from the NBA Draft. Looking sharp in a deep red jacket, Jahlil complements his black shawl lapel with a black bowtie and added a break from the deep red with his white shirt. His pins on the lapel are a nice touch, and adds a bit of character to his look. While he has gotten in some trouble his rookie year and his future uncertain in Philly, we can be sure to expect some more great looks like this from the soon-to-be sophomore center.
No. 2: Ben McLemore, 2013 NBA Draft
A shooting guard out of Kansas, Ben McLemore was the 7th overall pick for the Sacramento Kings in the 2013 NBA Draft. Ben’s look from Draft Day is classic with a modern twist. The deep navy suit and peaked lapel with black trim makes it classy, but the addition of his Kansas jersey in the lining adds a fun twist and doesn’t deter from the sleekness of his look. Tailored so so well and paired with a clean white shirt & pocket square, Ben’s maroon and navy striped bowtie brings in a nice color to this sophisticated Draft Day look. While Ben’s been under the radar lately, here’s hoping we can see more of his NBA Style next season.
No. 1: Karl-Anthony Towns, 2015 NBA Draft
Last year’s #1 pick from Kentucky lands my #1 spot in best NBA Draft styles since 2010. Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves makes a bold fashion statement with his jacket. The arrow pattern is not too busy and his choice to keep it all black underneath and to forgo a tie is genius. He accessorizes this look with a pocket link, white pocket square, a great watch, and a hint of gold with a chain tucked underneath his collar. As the #1 pick, KAT went on to win this year’s Rookie of the Year honors and is becoming a superstar in his own right leading a young and hungry Timberwolves team.
And that finishes my favorite #NBADraft looks from 2010, let me know if you think I missed someone or have any comments below. Here’s hoping this year’s draft class looks as sharp as these guys!