When it comes to the NBA Draft, teams make the wrong choice all the time. Some drafts are incredibly deep while others only have a few guaranteed stars. However, even in those guarantees we find many who do not turn out as well as we thought they would.
Greg Oden and Derrick Rose are two big examples. Both have been injured most of their career. Oden came into the NBA with great ability and while he looked good in his initial run, it just wasn't good enough. Meanwhile, Rose showed amazing skill and even brought home an MVP award. He had comparisons to Michael Jordan at one point. Sadly, nothing was guaranteed with him and injuries have plagued his career and brought the Chicago Bulls down a peg as the star they put so much faith in cannot seem to stay on the court.
Some aren't seen as great but turn out to be fantastic, like Gilbert Arenas who turned out to be a huge star for the Washington Wizards as a second round pick. Manu Ginobili went second to last in the second round and became a huge star for the San Antonio Spurs where he won a number of NBA Championships.
We at TheSportster decided to look back on one of the most memorable NBA Drafts in history and re-draft the first round. The 2003 NBA Draft saw some studs go through like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, but some will surprise you where they fell while others will surprise you at how they went so high.
20 Cleveland Cavaliers - LeBron James
Original Pick: LeBron James
One of the best first overall picks of all-time, LeBron James is a multi-time MVP, All-Star, and NBA Champion who came out of high school and was seen as the next great player in NBA history. Well, he's turned out to be the real deal and was able to deliver a tremendous rookie performance, ending up the 2003 Rookie of the Year. He's only continued to shine and is the best player in the NBA according to most experts. While James went to the Miami Heat for about four years, he did make his return to Cleveland last year and the hope is that he can bring the team a championship before he retires. We wouldn't bet against him.
19 Detroit Pistons - Carmelo Anthony
Original Pick: Darko Milicic
The Syracuse Forward was seen as a sure thing coming out of college as he led his team to an NCAA Championship that same year. He was able to impress scouts but the Pistons were more impressed with Darko Milicic as they took him with the second pick over Carmelo Anthony.
Melo was impressive in Denver where he actually got drafted and he could have played the power forward role for the Pistons that Darko was set to play. Anthony has a career average of 25.1 points per game and while Darko actually has an NBA Championship to his credit, he didn't do much to earn it with a 6 points per game average. He also only averaged five minutes a game while in Detroit.
We could've seen a dynasty if Melo had been drafted to play alongside Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton and others when they were at the peak for their powers. Instead, they won a single NBA Championship and Milicic quickly fell off the map.
18 Denver Nuggets - Chris Bosh
Original Pick: Carmelo Anthony
The Denver Nuggets needed an elite forward and they ended up choosing well initially when Carmelo fell to them. However, in our draft he's gone and the next best forward on the list is Chris Bosh.
Bosh is not some second rate pick. He is a multi-time All-Star and NBA Champion. He was able to lead his Rapters to the playoffs on his own but could never go deep into the post-season due to the bad team Toronto supplied him with.
If he went to the Nuggets, he may have had the same issues as Anthony, who never had a solid supporting cast. Bosh would have been in the West as well, which was a much tougher conference and he may have had issues making the post-season at all.
Bosh would have been a great fit with Denver just as Melo was, but at the end of the day, he would have probably left as well.
17 Toronto Raptors - David West
Original Pick: Chris Bosh
Many will assume that the Raptors would take the best player on the board and the best left is Dwyane Wade. However, the Raptors had a big need for a power forward to compliment Vince Carter, so they would take the next best forward in the draft. That man is David West.
West originally went to New Orleans, where he didn't have a successful start. However, by year three, he was killing it and his points per game rose. He was not set up greatly to succeed there but was able to prove his worth later with the Indiana Pacers and is now considered a solid power forward.
He would have done well with Toronto, but due to the fact that they needed a star at that point, he probably would not have lived up to the high pick right away.
16 Miami Heat - Dwyane Wade
Original Pick: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade was seemingly always destined for Miami. The first number of picks were going to be forwards because that was exactly what the teams needed while guards were going to fall. LeBron James fit in as a guard/forward and there was some thought that Wade could have gone number one. However, James was a can't miss prospect and one hell of a freak athlete.
Wade showed us a lot coming out of Marquette. Most felt he would be a star if he was given the right opportunity. He didn't right away, but when Shaquille O'Neal came in, Wade had a good opportunity to be the Kobe Bryant to Shaq's well, Shaq. The combo worked well enough to get Wade his first NBA Title.
Wade was able to combine his talents with LeBron James and Chris Bosh to gain another two NBA Titles and has already been able to cement himself into NBA history. Wade will be an NBA Hall of Famer when his career is over. While he has suffered through some injuries the last number of years, he has been a great player even when performing at 60%.
15 Los Angeles Clippers - Chris Kaman
Original Pick: Chris Kaman
The Clippers, at that point, needed a lot of pieces. They were always the little brother to the Lakers and management knew they needed to make a splash in free agency and the draft. They did neither. Chris Kaman went to the Clippers and we feel like he still would have gone there.
The Clippers needed a center and they needed one who could defend and rebound. Not every draft pick needs to be Shaq at center. Kaman was able to deliver a good points per game average later in his career but was always a good rebound guy as well as defender.
He was never a star for the Clippers, but he will always be seen as a great role player and one that could have been essential to any team.
14 Chicago Bulls- Leandro Barbosa
Original Pick: Kirk Hinrich
Leandro Barbosa was coming out of Brazil where few knew of his abilities compared to Kirk Hinrich who went to Kansas. Kirk was a great player for some time but Barbosa was able to do more even though he was less heralded. He actually went later in the draft to the San Antonio Spurs. He was then traded to the Phoenix Suns where he spent the large majority of his career.
He was a solid player for the Suns but when Steve Nash came in, Barbosa actually became better as he was able to come off the bench and run with him, resulting in "small ball" working out well for the Suns.
While Barbosa was never a major star, it's possible that he could have been with a team around him to work for him. Could a move to the Bulls have made Barbosa better? It's possible.
13 Milwaukee Bucks - Kirk Hinrich
Original Pick: T.J. Ford
Kirk Hinrich was a great player coming out of a top tier program at Kansas and many felt he was going to be a solid point guard. Throughout his career, he was just that, solid. The big issue was that he was never a stud. For his first five years, he averaged 14.4 points a game and 6.4 assists. So he was a solid value for Chicago where he ended up going and has been a better guard than most coming from this draft.
The Buck actually drafted T.J. Ford here, who was good but plagued with injuries and other obstacles. One would imagine that if the Bucks had a better team, Hinrich would have helped them get over the top. However, no one was going to do well with the Bucks in 2004. If we're re-drafting though, Hinrich would have been a better fit.
12 New York Knicks - Boris Diaw
Original Pick: Michael Sweetney
The Knicks were not doing terribly in 2003, but they weren't doing fantastic either. They needed a guy who would be able to work just about anywhere on the court and Diaw might go down as one of the best overall role players in NBA history. Simply put, the man can play any position. With the Suns, he was able to kill it. He played guard, forward, and center with the team, where he stood out greatly.
Diaw went to Atlanta with the 21st overall pick, while New York took Michael Sweetney at this pick. If we were to re-draft, he easily would have been a better fit for the team.
11 Washington Wizards - Josh Howard
Original Pick: Jarvis Hayes
The Wizards were starting to get pretty good in the mid-2000s after years of being below average. Today, the Wizards are a solid, young team and back then, they had a similar look about them. The Wiz took Jarvis Hayes at this position and, like Diaw, he could be moved around a bit. The problem was that the Wizards needed a scorer and Hayes was not that guy.
Josh Howard, from 2003 to 2010, had a wonderful stretch of scoring and helped Dallas become a big threat in the West during that time. The Wizards needed a forward and Howard could play there in certain situations and work the shooting guard position. In this re-draft, Howard would have been a much better fit than Hayes.
10 Golden State Warriors - Travis Outlaw
Original Pick: Mickael Pietrus
While Mickael Pietrus went at this pick, Outlaw had the better overall outlook. The big problem with Travis was his youth. However, Outlaw had incredible athleticism and needed to be groomed a bit, so he fell to the Trail Blazers later in the draft. He proved he was a much better scorer than MP and by the time he was 22, he was playing at a solid level. When he moved from Portland, his career sadly took a bit of a nosedive. Many believe that if he had the proper coach, he could have been a stud, so we'll have the Warriors draft Outlaw here and take the proper time to groom him.
9 Seattle SuperSonics - Luke Ridnour
Original Pick: Nick Collison
While Luke went to Seattle a bit later in the round (14th overall), it was Nick Collision who they chose first. Luke was a solid point guard with great steal and assist ability. While he was not ranked as the best guard coming out of this draft, he was seen as a player who could help a team in a role.
Before Luke Ridnour was a guy who was traded numerous times in less than a week, he was a solid all-around player and helped Seattle team a great deal, while Nick Collison was nothing more than an average role player.
8 Memphis Grizzles - Kendrick Perkins
Original Pick: Marcus Banks
Like many in the draft, Kendrick Perkins came straight out of high school and there was a thought that others were better because of their experience. By the time people saw Kendrick play well, he was playing with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce on the regular with a great point guard in Rajon Rondo.
He has turned out to be a solid value pick in this draft. He just needed people to realize he was not the second coming of Shaq. He had a big body and was a defensive nightmare. He shouldn't have been expected to come out and score 20 points.
7 Seattle SuperSonics - Mickael Pietrus
Original Pick Luke Ridnour
Seattle originally took Luke Ridnour here, but we felt that they would need to pick him first and avoid drafting Nick Collison all together. For all the issues Pietrus had in his time, he could have been a great addition to the SuperSonics.
This was a team that had Ray Allen and would have a good PG helping them out in Luke. At the time, what the SuperSonics needed was more athletes. With the Warriors he was on a team with several quality athletes and no real direction. Could a good veteran in Allen have helped him develop into more of a threat? It's possible, so why not have the SuperSonics take a chance on him with the 14th pick?
6 Orlando Magic - Nick Collison
Original Pick: Reece Gaines
The Magic originally took Reece Gaines at this spot, who never really made the team any better. Keep in mind, this team needed help in the paint and they were bound to take a big guy in this draft, right? Well apparently not. Gaines was a small forward coming out of Louisville and it would have made perfect sense to have a bigger guy come in.
Enter Nick Collison. Now, even coming out for this draft, no one saw him as a spectacular center or power forward, but he's a good rebounder and defender. He was obviously taken earlier by the Sonics in the original draft, but not in our re-draft. Therefore, it is likely that they would have gone after him.
Apart from the superstars on this list, Collison is really the only NBA mainstay and it is due to his great defense and rebounding even still. Clearly, he would have been helpful to the Magic, especially when being paired with Dwight Howard the next year.
5 Boston Celtics - Carlos Delfino
Original Pick: Troy Bell
They Celtics took Troy Bell here, who never really made it in the NBA. There was a lot of off the court issues going on and at the time, many were just seeing his talent and not outside issues. Sadly, he never really did anything with his talent it in the NBA and it was frustrating for Celtics fans.
Meanwhile, Carlos Delfino originally went to the Detroit Pistons as the 25th overall pick.
Throughout his career, he was a fantastic bench player who knew how to play his role to perfection. He was not ever going to be confused for a superstar, but there was a chance that he could have had more opportunities in Boston. When he went to the Pistons, they were already building a dynasty. People like Tayshaun Prince were already at his position, so it made sense that his development would suffer a little.
Meanwhile the Celtics had Paul Pierce, a man Delfino could have learned from and taken the place of when called upon.
4 Phoenix Suns - Michael Sweetney
Original Pick: Zarko Cabarkapa
After having some good drafts and additions, the Suns were primed to deliver in this draft too, right? Well 2003 was not their year. However, it could have been if they made a slight tweak. They originally took Zarko Cabarkapa, a seven footer with a position identity crisis from Serbia, who didn't pan out in the NBA.
Some might think that the Suns would not have taken a power forward here as they just brought in Amar'e Stoudemire the year before. However, the Suns easily could have moved things around and had Sweetney play at forward while Amar'e played the center position.
Sweetney originally went much higher to New York, but being still available here, it would be an easy pick for them. Michael never became the stud people thought he would be, but he was effective and got things done for a while in the NBA. If he had the impressive Suns youth squad to work with, maybe he could have developed into a star.
3 New Orleans Hornets - Dahntay Jones
Original Pick: David West
The sad part here is that the Hornets actually drafted David West, who was a great pick for them this late in the first round. He worked out well for the Hornets, so he naturally went a lot earlier in this re-draft. So how do you counter this with who is available?
Dahntay Jones is how.
Baron Davis "technically" was a shooting guard for the team at this time, but he was literally all they had of note. West really helped as a potential number two, but since Baron moved to the point, another guard could have been a big help. Which is why Jones is perfect.
He originally went to the Celtics earlier in the draft. Coming out of Duke, many knew of Jones due to his college success and there were some considering him as a superstar. Yet, he had good coaching there and would have come to the NBA with more knowledge than most. Many Duke players have become big assets to their teams in the NBA, so Jones would not have been any different. Jones was never a stud but he has been an NBA journeyman that's played a valuable role on many teams.
2 Utah Jazz - Marcus Banks
Original Pick: Sasha Pavlovic
At the time, John Stockton had just finished up his legendary career and the Jazz needed someone to take his place, but instead they drafted Sasha Pavlovic, a small forward.
Marcus Banks originally went to Memphis earlier in the draft, but ended up being traded to Boston where he didn't have a notable career. You could make the case that if Banks would have gone to Utah, he would have time to grow with less pressure. He had great vision and could score well when given the chance. This could have been a good late pick for the Jazz and, if nothing else, he could have been a decent bench player for them when Deron Williams showed up two years later.
1 Boston Celtics - Brian Cook
Original Pick: Dahntay Jones
The Celtics end up trading Dahntay Jones who went at this pick for Marcus Banks, but both of those guys are already off the board in our re-draft. They may never have kept anyone they took here, but if they did, they could have used Brian Cook.
Originally, Cook ended up with the Los Angeles Lakers, a dream situation for him as he was able to be on a championship team. However, that meant he didn't get much playing time and with the Celtics he surely would have gotten more time to play and grow.