Hindsight is 20/20: The 2003 NBA Redraft

This is Day 2 of my current series of examining the past 10 drafts and redrafting the lottery for each team based off of the success of the prospects available. Today is the historic 2003 draft which will go down as one of the best ever, up there with the infamous 1984 and 1996 drafts. And away we go….

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – 2003 Pick: SF Lebron James 2012 Pick: James – Lebron gave 7 fantastic years to his homestate by playing for the Cavs, and although their separation was ugly, there’s no arguing with this pick. He was one, if notthe best, players in the league over that time span. Not a ton to say about this pick, they would likely keep it the same.

2. Detroit Pistons – 2003 Pick: PF Darko Milicic 2012 Pick: PF Chris Bosh – You may be thinking, Bosh over Wade or Carmelo? When examining the 2003 Eastern Conference Runner Up, you will quickly realize that while they were successful, they really failed to score any from their bigs as Clifford Robinson led all “big” men with just 12.2 points. Bosh would have been a great fit next to 4-time Defensive Player of the Year in Ben Wallace, who would have collected all of his bad shots. Having Bosh would have allowed them to further spread the court, whereas they already had Richard Hamilton at SG (no need for Wade) and the developing Tayshaun Prince at SF (who would start 80 games in 2003-04), so Carmelo would have just been gravy. This 2004 Pistons team was so great that the won the ’04 Championship over that Lakers team that featured 4 future Hall of Famers, despite getting 1.4 points and 1.3 rebounds from Darko. Regardless, Joe Dumars wishes he could have had Bosh all along.

In the Redraft, Bosh goes to the future NBA Champs, the Detroit Pistons.

3. Denver Nuggest – 2003 Pick: SF Carmelo Anthony 2012 Pick: Anthony – Hard to argue with this pick as Caremlo evolved into one of the best pure scorers in the league, and while Wade is still available the Nuggets simply went with the best player available. Carmelo has also been less-injury prone than the current Heat star. Despite their messy divorce last season, like the Cavs, I doubt management would change their pick.

4. Toronto Raptors – 2003 Pick: Bosh 2012 Pick: SG Dwyane Wade – The Raptors luck out and arguably get the 2nd best player from this draft at #4, but even then Wade may not be the lock you would think. The Raptors really needed size, and Bosh ended up being a perfect fit for this team. The Raptors were coming off a injury-riddled season where Vince Carter began to rapidly decline in both his skills, enthusiasm, and desire to play. I don’t think you would pass on a future Hall of Famer for guys like Chris Kaman, so Wade is the pick.

Mo Williams goes from being a 2nd round pick to taking Wade’s spot fr the Heat. Not a horrible downgrade for Pat Riley

5. Miami Heat – 2003 Pick: Wade 2012 Pick: G Mo Williams– The Heat will not be able to get a star, but they can still add a former All-Star in Williams. This Miami team, a year removed for trading for Shaq, and just a month away from signing Lamar, had a ton of holes. I originally went with Xavior forward David West, but when considering the future signing of Odom, I began thinking a guard to upgrade their old backcourt. So between Williams, Kirk Hinrich, TJ Ford, and Leandro Barbosa, it seamed as though Williams became the best bro and would enjoy playing under Pat Riley’s control.

6. Los Angeles Clippers – 2003 Pick: C Chris Kaman 2012 Pick: PG Kirk Hinrich – I also thought about West here, but the Clips had stud Elton Brand manning the PF position already. While West would take a few year to develop, they really needed a PG as Marko Jaric started 50 games for LA and only average 4.8 assists. While Hinrich never turned out to be a All-Star, he still had a great career and continues to play to this day while TJ Ford recently retired. It’s not that Kaman turned out to be a bad player, he didn’t, but more of that PG would be a more pressing need at that time.

7. Chicago Bulls – 2003 Pick: Hinrich 2012 Pick: G/F Josh Howard – The Bulls drafted Hinrich to replace the recently injured Jay Williams, but with how the rest of these PG’s turned out, I think they may rather have Howard who became an All-Star and if it weren’t for injuries and being stuck as a 3rd or 4th option, could have blossomed into a great player. They also had a huge whole at SF and could have used some more youth.

8. Milwaukee Bucks – 2003 Pick: PG TJ Ford 2012 Pick: C Chris Kaman – The 2003 season featured an interesting Bucks trade as they traded perennial All-Star SG to Seattle for aging PG Gary Payton, even though they still had Sam Cassell on the roster. They ended up trading Cassell and let Payton sign with the Lakers in the offseason, so they wisely drafted Ford who had a solid rookie season (7.1 points, 6.5 assists). Instead, I think they should have gone after size and drafted Chris Kaman, who would have been a great fit with Michael Redd.

9. New York Knicks – 2003 Pick: PF Michael Sweetney 2012 Pick: F David West – Sweetney ate himself out of the league, while West eventually developed into an All-Star in New Orleans.

Though he was a bust in Atlanta, Diaw had a great run with the Suns and would have been a good fit with the guard heavy Wizards.

10. Washington Wizards – 2003 Pick: F/G Jarvis Hayes 2012 Pick: F Boris Diaw – While Diaw failed to develop in his original team (Atlanta), he exploded once in the run offense in Phoenix where his versitility was on display. Hayes was a solid second-unit scorer, who held a career average of 8.3 points over 7 NBA seasons. Other options could include more size as this team was heavy in guards (Gilbert Arenas, Larry Hughes, Jerry Stackhouse, Juan Dixon), so maybe Kendrick Perkins could have been the pick here.

11. Golden State Warrios – 2003 Pick: Mickael Pietrus 2012 Pick: Milicic – What, Darko still goes Lottery? Is Metta insane? He has career averages of 6 points, 4 boards, and 1.3 blocks! I know I know, but while the Warriors were enamored with Peitrus’ athleticism, he never developed into the player he th0ught he would (claimed he would be an all-star, would lead GSW to multiple championships as a rookie). I was thinking maybe Perkins here but GSW already had Erick Dampier, and I thought Milicic would be a good, solid defender who perhaps could have developed more of an offensive game if given more minutes.

Though Ridnour never developed into an All-Star, he would have helped the Celtics more than Marcus Banks and actually gets drafted one spot ahead of where he went in the actual draft.

12. Seattle Supersonices – 2003 Pick: PF Nick Collison 2012 Pick: C Kendrick Perkins – While Collison has been on this franchise his entire career and has become a leader off the bench, I think the Sonic’s management would prefer to get one of the league’s premier defensive big men with the selection. Perkins offers similar offensive production but if vastly better on defense, making this selection an easy one.

13. Boston Celtics – 2003 Pick: PG Marcus Banks 2012 Pick: PG Luke Ridnour– This pick got traded from the Grizzlies, so I think the C’s would prefer the Griz giving them the superior PG of the class in Ridnour. The former Oregon Duck has career averages of 10 points & 5 Assistants, and continues to be consistent (he averaged 12 points & 5 assists this past season over 53 games with the Wolves). TJ Ford could be an option, but his relatively short career and injury history would be huge red flags.

Overall, the 2003 Draft will be remembered for producing 4 potential Hall of Famers and 4 additional All-Star players, while also having tons of depth as seen with this redraft of the Lottery. There are still many quality players left to be selected including Mickael Pietrus, Nick Collison, TJ Ford, Travis Outlaw, Leandro Barbosa, Steve Blake, Zaza Pachulia, Matt Bonner, Luke Walton, Willie Green, Dahntay Jones, Sacha Pavlovic, Kyle Korver and James Jones.