Countdown: The Top 5 NBA players drafted from Missouri basketball

Missouri Basketball Top NBA Players

As the NBA playoffs continue and the NBA draft approaches soon, plus to get our fill of basketball in the area until the college season starts, we decided to look at the best players drafted to the NBA from Mizzou, Kansas State and Kansas. This is all based on their NBA careers and not what they did in college. To that point, most of these players had good college careers that caused them to get drafted to the NBA. Not only that, we are only including players that were drafted, meaning anyone that went undrafted will not be included. To kick things off, we start with the best to come from the University of Missouri basketball program.

The Tigers’ basketball history has been pretty up-and-down, having some great stretches of NCAA Tournament appearances and low points like the last couple of seasons. Through all of it, they have been able to produce some solid NBA players through the years, currently having 28 players drafted from Mizzou. Here are our top five NBA players drafted from the Missouri basketball program.

Honorable mentions: John Brown, Keyon Dooling, Doug Smith

Missouri Basketball to NBA #5: DeMarre Carroll

Played for Mizzou 2007-09, 27th overall pick in 2009, Played in NBA 2009-Current

Mizzou’s “Junkyard Dog” has really put together a good career in his 10 years in the NBA. During his first six seasons, Carroll went all over the NBA, spending time with four different teams and not finding much success with any of them. These past four seasons, however, Carroll really made a name for himself. In his two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Carroll started in all but one of the 143 games he played in and set career-highs in points (12.6), assists (1.8), and rebounds (5.5) per game, leading to Carroll signing a four-year, $60 million deal with Toronto. In his last two seasons with the Toronto Raptors, his current team, Carroll’s performance has slid back slightly, but still a good starter on the roster. Carroll has also made the playoffs four years straight with these two teams, including two conference finals appearances. Carroll’s career numbers don’t stand out, averaging 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 steals, but he still has some good years left in him before he retires. With his career longevity and his play the last four seasons, DeMarre Carroll stands out as one of the best to come from Columbia.

Missouri Basketball to NBA #4. Anthony Peeler

Played for Mizzou 1988-92, 15th overall pick in 1992, Played in NBA 1992-2005

Considered one of the Tigers’ all-time greats, Peeler continued his success throughout his 13-year NBA career, tied for the longest by any former Mizzou player. Peeler was a bit of a journeyman, playing for five different teams during his career. The teams he spent the most time with, the Timberwolves for six seasons and four seasons with the Lakers, he had the most success with, scoring 10.6 points per game as a Laker and 9.6 as a Timberwolf. Peeler showed to be a pretty consistent scorer through his career, averaging over 10 points a game in six seasons, his best being 14.6 points with Vancouver in the 1996-97 season. By the end of his career, Peeler averaged 9.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Although he wasn’t an everyday starter, starting in 296 of the 827 games he played in, Peeler showed to be a consistent scorer during his long NBA career and a good NBA player from the Tigers.

Missouri Basketball to NBA #3. Larry Drew

Played for Mizzou 1976-80, 17th overall pick in 1980, Played in NBA 1980-91

One of the only players to stay local to KC by playing for the Kings, Larry Drew had some stand-out years during his 10 seasons in the NBA. Drew showed to be one of the better point guards in the league from 1981-1988, when he played for Kansas City/Sacramento Kings (the Kings moved from Kansas City to Sacramento at the start of the 1985-86 season) and the LA Clippers. In each of those seven seasons, Drew averaged at least 10 points and 4 assists each season. He actually spent the 1988-99 season overseas playing in the Italian pro league and came back to play for the Lakers, but never returned to how he performed during his prime. When Drew finished his playing days, he retired with the most assists and steals by any player from Mizzou and had a career average of 11.4 points, 5.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Drew has continued finding success in the NBA now as a coach, serving as both an assistant or head coach since 1992, and is currently an assistant for the Cavaliers. With the good, consistent numbers Larry Drew put up during his career, he is no doubt one of the best Tigers to play in the NBA.

Missouri Basketball to NBA #2. Jordan Clarkson

Played for Mizzou 2013-14, 46th overall pick in 2014, Played in NBA 2014-Current

Jordan Clarkson has the potential to become the best ever Mizzou player to play in the NBA and has shown that potential so far in his young career. Although he was drafted fairly late, Clarkson proved himself to be a good player since his rookie season, being named to the 2015 All-Rookie Team. In his three seasons with the Lakers, Clarkson has been both a solid starter and sixth man off the bench, starting in 136 of the 220 games he’s played in and averaging 29.2 minutes per game. Even though he’s still early in his career, Clarkson actually has the highest career points per game (14.2) among all NBA players from Mizzou. In fact, in the 2015-16 season, Clarkson had his best season being second on the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game, being just behind one of the greatest of all-time Kobe Bryant. On top of his scoring ability, Clarkson has been able to put up good numbers elsewhere, averaging 3.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game over his career. Clarkson still has a lot of good years left and coming up on the prime of his career already puts him as one of the best players drafted from Missouri, but has the potential to be the best player Columbia has produced.

Missouri Basketball to NBA #1. Steve Stipanovich

Played for Mizzou 1979-83, 2nd overall pick in 1983, Played in NBA 1983-1988

Even though his time was short in the NBA, the five-year career Steve Stipanovich had stands out as the best Tiger drafted to the NBA. From day one, he proved to be a good piece for the Pacers, being named to the 1984 All-Rookie Team. From there, Stipanovich proved to be a good everyday starter for the Pacers, starting in 365 out of the 403 games he played in. Stipanovich had a good offensive presence in the post for the Pacers, averaging 12 points or more and over two assists in every season of his career, plus he averaged two or more offensive rebounds in his last three seasons. By the end of his career, Stipanovich posted some great numbers, having a career average of 13.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists. His career not only stands out in the history of Mizzou’s NBA players, but also Pacers’ team history, as he was named to Fansided’s Indiana Pacers All-Decade Team of 1977-87. Due to lingering knee issues, Stipanovich retired at the early age of 28. Even though he had a short career, Stipanovich had a good NBA career and stands out as the best Missouri Tiger to play in the NBA.

What do you think? Who is your top Tiger to play in the NBA? Did we leave someone off? Let us know in the comments!

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One Response to Countdown: The Top 5 NBA players drafted from Missouri basketball

  1. Steven says:

    How is Kareem Rush not on this list

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