Draft day is such an intense and exciting day for most players. On the other side, management has to be smart with their decisions and careful about who they choose. The 2003 draft class was one of the best classes of all time and produced many NBA legends, but not everyone can live up to their hype. We will take a look into the legendary 2003 NBA draft. Today’s topic is “How Good Was the 2003 NBA Draft Class?” Let’s get into it!
#1 Lebron James
Drafted in the number one spot by the Cleveland Cavs was Lebron James. He came straight out of high school as a top prospect. Lebron is a three time NBA champ, four time MVP, and three time finals MVP award winner. Lebron is third on the all time scoring list and is considered the greatest player in the NBA at 35 years old. He is currently playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and has hopes of earning his 4th NBA title. He has lived up to his hype by being the number one draft pick in his class.
#2 Darko Milicic
Drafted in the number two spot by the Detroit Pistons was Darko Milicic. He did not live up to his hype and was considered the biggest “bust” ever. At the time, many teams were looking for their next “Dirk Nowitzki”, which is why he was picked very high in this draft. He played for six teams in his 10 year NBA career. He retired from the NBA in 2013 to pursue a kickboxing career and now lives on an apple farm in Serbia.
#3 Carmelo Anthony
Drafted in the number three spot by the Denver Nuggets was Carmelo Anthony. He is a ten time all star and NBA scoring champion. He has never won a playoff series and has not won a title but is considered for the Hall of Fame. He has had a tough career, playing for five different teams and the NBA giving up on him as a player. He was an unsigned free agent recently but the Portland Trailblazers decided to give him one last shot before retirement. He has slimmed down and expected to be a great addition for the Blazers in the 2019-2020 season.
#4 Chris Bosh
Drafted in the number four spot by the Toronto Raptors was Chris Bosh. He was an 11 time all star and won two titles with the Miami Heat. He was a part of the Heat’s Big Three alongside Lebron James and Dwayne Wade, who were also in the 2003 draft class. Bosh became ill in the 2016 season due to a blood clotting condition, which caused him to be sidelined from participating in the season. Up until the 2019 season, he tried to make his comeback to the NBA, but failed and ended up ending his career. The Miami Heat retired his number and was added to the 2020 Hall of Fame induction list.
#5 Dwayne Wade
Drafted in the number five spot by the Miami Heat was Dwayne Wade. Wade played in 14 of his 16 seasons with the Heat. He is a 13 time all star, three time NBA champ, and NBA scoring champ. Wade was another piece of the Heat’s Big Three. He is one of the best shooting guards in NBA history and added to the 2020 Hall of Fame induction list. He retired in 2019 and stays active within the NBA as a sports analyst.
The top five draft picks were ones to remember, however, we do have some honorable mention candidates. They were drafted after the top five, but still had successful NBA careers.
Picked in the number six position by the Los Angeles Clippers was Chris Kaman. The German-American center played the majority of his career in LA. He helped the Clippers reach their first playoff series victory in 2006. He was a dominant big man and was picked to participate in one all star appearance. He was inducted into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame. He retired from the NBA in 2016.
Picked number seven by the Chicago Bulls was Kirk Hinrich. He played in 13 seasons and 11 of those seasons were with the Bulls. He was a solid point guard and averaged decent numbers. He was also a role player for them and helped in the rebuilding process the Bulls faced in the 2000’s. He is eligible for the 2020 Hall of Fame and was added to the induction list. Kirk retired in 2016 and currently coaches for a basketball academy.
Picked number 28 to the San Antonio Spurs, but traded to the Suns was Leandro Barbosa. He played overseas before entering the 2003 draft and also went back and forth between the two throughout his career. Barbosa played in 14 seasons, and has won two NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors. He also won the sixth man of the year award in the 2006-2007 season. While playing overseas, Barbosa won the Brazilian League championship in 2002. He is an international player originally from Brazil. He played in his last season with the Suns in 2017 and is currently playing in Brazil.
And lastly, picked number 29 by the Dallas Mavs was Josh Howard. Howard had a decent season, but injuries came in the way. He tore his ACL multiple times and did not play in many games. He ended his playing career playing in the G-League in 2014. He suffered a career ending injury and was waived from the Austin Toros. He decided to switch career paths and became a college coach and is currently coaching at The University of North Texas at Dallas.
After evaluating the 2003 draft class do you agree that it may have been the best the NBA has ever seen? With Lebron, D-wade, and Bosh all in the same class?? My opinion is that it was the best draft class of all time. There were many future Hall of Famers’, and solid careers from the players who came out of this draft. It may have lacked some depth, but it was definitely top heavy with the Top 5 picks. What other draft class comes close to this one?