The 2003 NBA draft will go down in history as four of the top five players selected that night will likely wind up in the hall of fame. Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were four of those players selected in the top five that evening but it’s the other player, Darko Milicic, that this story is about, along with Melo.


As you know, the Detroit Pistons had the second pick of that NBA draft and after Lebron was selected first, they decided to go with Milicic, which then allowed the Denver Nuggets to select Carmelo Anthony with the third pick. Former Pistons stars Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton, who both won a championship with the Pistons, said that if the team had gotten the pick right and selected Melo, they would have won up to four rings instead of just one.

“I think if we did take Melo, maybe two, maybe three, maybe four championships,” Prince said while appearing on “The Crossover” with CBS sports host Nick Kostos. “And then after my fourth or fifth year, now you have to decide what you want to do. But at least you know going in, if you take Melo we got a guy. And who knows, he comes off his bench the first year or two, or maybe they insert him into the starting lineup, whatever.

“But we knew coming in, if he could come in off the bench and accept that sixth man role, we’d be pretty awesome for the next five or six years before they make the decision if they’re going to keep me or him.”

I don’t think Prince is wrong about any of that. The Pistons team which beat the Lakers with Shaq & Kobe were a gritty, tough team and the main thing they lacked was a legit scoring threat every night. Sure they had guys who could score like Chauncey Billups, Hamilton, Prince and others but if they had someone like Melo, who is literally unguardable, its very legit to believe they would have been a mini dynasty.

When pushed further as to why they think the team and more specifically GM Joe Dumars selected Milicic instead, Hamilton explained what he thought.

“You had a guy like Dirk Nowitzki on the Dallas Mavericks, and everyone was trying to find the next Dirk,” Hamilton said.

Milicic didn’t last long in the NBA, disappearing completely after a few seasons and most recently was trying to be involved in MMA. Dumars did a pretty good job of putting that Pistons team together but he definitely blew it with that draft pick. So many other things could have been different down the road if Melo was in Detroit and Wade & Bosh wound up in Denver or Miami respectively.