The 2003 class is right there at the top of the best Draft classes in NBA history, next to those mythical classes from 1996 and 1984, as it featured more than a handful of future Hall of Famers and NBA Champions.
However, this class will always be infamous for some of their players as well, like Darko Milicic going 2nd overall or Kyle Korver falling all the way to the second round.
This class was stacked with talent, but some general managers made a couple of questionable decisions. Therefore, we’re about to right some wrongs and redraft the legendary class of 2003.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
Original Pick: LeBron James
Re-Draft Pick: LeBron James
LeBron James is the most hyped and scouted player in NBA history. There was no way he wasn’t going to go first overall, especially with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in charge of the first overall pick of the Draft. Fast-forward 17 years and it’s pretty clear why everybody was so anxious about watching LeBron play in the NBA.
He’s still one of the best players in the league at 35-years-old, a 3-time NBA Champion, 4-times MVP, 3-times Finals MVP, Scoring Champion, and 16-times All-Star, with career averages of 27.1 points, 7.4 rebounds. 7.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Legendary.
2. Detroit Pistons
Original Pick: Darko Milicic
Re-Draft Pick: Dwyane Wade
Up to this day, nobody can explain how on earth the Detroit Pistons took Darko Milicic 2nd overall. And judging by Dwyane Wade’s career, their decision looks even worse, as Wade became one of the greatest shooting guards to ever lace them up.
Wade’s offense was only topped by his lockdown defense. He embraced his role as the leader of the Miami Heat and led them to 3 NBA Championships. Also, he won 1 Finals MVP, 1 Scoring Title, and made it to 13 All-Star Games while averaging 22.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.
3. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Carmelo Anthony
Re-Draft Pick: Carmelo Anthony
Back in 2003, it became pretty clear that Carmelo Anthony had all the tools to be one of the best scorers in the history of the game. 17 years later, he’s still getting buckets at a high clip and is the all-time leading scorer in Team USA history.
Anthony is yet to win his first NBA Championship as he’s never been surrounded by a truly capable supporting cast. However, he’s still won 1 Scoring Title and has made it to 10 All-Star Games with career averages of 23.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game.
4. Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: Chris Bosh
Re-Draft Pick: Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh doesn’t get enough credit and recognition nowadays. It seems like people forgot just how great he was with the Toronto Raptors before taking a step back to join forces with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in the Miami Heat.
Bosh was a lockdown defender that could guard the perimeter, protect the paint, and score from all three levels. The ultimate stretch big man, if I may. Over his career, he won 2 NBA Championships, made it to 11 All-Star Games and averaged 19.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.0 blocks per game.
5. Miami Heat
Original Pick: Dwyane Wade
Re-Draft Pick: David West
David West was originally taken 18th overall by the New Orleans Hornets, but he definitely outplayed his Draft stock throughout his career. He may not be the flashiest player of his class, but his impact was truly felt at both ends of the court.
West was a master of the mid-range offense, but he also added the three-point shot to his arsenal towards the end of his career. However, his forte was his physical, pesky defense in the post. Over his career, he won a couple of Championships, made 2 All-Star Games, and averaged 13.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game.
6. Los Angeles Clippers
Original Pick: Chris Kaman
Re-Draft Pick: Kyle Korver
It’s crazy to think that Kyle Korver slipped all the way to the 2nd round, as he was taken with the 51st overall pick and then traded for a copy machine. Now, he’s unanimously considered as one of the greatest shooters in the history of the game.
Korver is one of the most efficient and reliable snipers basketball has ever seen. He’s got one of the quickest triggers in the league and his shooting could keep him around for many more years. Thus far, he’s made 1 All-Star team and has career averages of 9.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.0 three-pointers per game on 42% from beyond the arc.
7. Chicago Bulls
Original Pick: Kirk Hinrich
Re-Draft Pick: Boris Diaw
The Chicago Bulls originally went with Kirk Hinrich at 7 and while they may not have any complaints about him, they could’ve fared slightly better with Boris Diaw. Diaw didn’t precisely reek of athleticism but he made up for it with an outstanding basketball IQ and skills.
Diaw could do a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor. He was a willing and skilled facilitator that could knock down shots from deep and was a solid defender as well. He won 1 Championship and the Most Improved Player award while averaging 8.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game.
8. Milwaukee Bucks
Original Pick: TJ Ford
Re-Draft Pick: Mo Williams
There was a time when Mo Williams was a major problem with the rock on his hands. That guy sure knew how to score in bunches, and his ability to play both guard spots granted his team a lot of versatility in the offensive end of the floor.
Williams could get hot in the blink of an eye and was an endless source of offense for his teams. However, his prime didn’t last as long as you’d expect. Still, he made it to 1 All-Star and won a Championship and averaged 13.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game.
9. New York Knicks
Original Pick: Mike Sweetney
Re-Draft Pick: Kendrick Perkins
The New York Knicks went with Mike Sweetney with the 9th overall pick, which was yet another questionable decision by their ownership. Instead, they could’ve anchored their defense for over a decade by taking Kendrick Perkins.
We get it, Perkins’ offensive skill set is limited, to say the least. However, he was an outstanding rim protector during his prime, and his physical presence down low was duly noted. He won an NBA Championship and averaged 5.4 points and 5.8 rebounds with 1.2 blocks per game, but his impact way beyond the stat sheet.
10. Washington Wizards
Original Pick: Jarvis Hayes
Re-Draft Pick: Kirk Hinrich
Kirk Hinrich was the kind of player all coaches dreamed of having on their squad. He wasn’t the most talented or athletic guy out there, but he was the hardest working and smartest player you could’ve found around the league during his prime.
Hinrich was a restless and relentless defender who was willing to put his body on the line on every single possession. Also, he was a solid playmaker and shooter as well. Over his career, he made it to 1 All-Defensive team, the All-Rookie team, and averaged 10.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 4.8 dimes per game.
11. Golden State Warriors
Original Pick: Mickael Pietrus
Re-Draft Pick: Leandro Barbosa
Leandro Barbosa was a bit of a late bloomer. However, he was – by far – the fastest player in the league during his prime, a trait that he maintained even towards the final passage of his career. He endured a couple of setbacks along the way but eventually ended up in the Warriors anyway.
Barbosa was one of the first guys off Steve Kerr’s bench during their first Championship run thanks to his brains and skills, which helped him win the Sixth Man of the Year award as well. Throughout his career, he averaged 10.6 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.
12. Seattle Supersonics
Original Pick: Nick Collison
Re-Draft Pick: Zaza Pachulia
You may argue that Zaza Pachulia should’ve or could’ve been a dominant big man giving his physique and you may not be all that wrong. However, all things considered, he had his fair share of success despite not being that skilled in the offensive end of the floor.
Pachulia was more valuable as a source of second-chance points and a screen-setter. He was tough and often dirty, but that meant he would do anything it took to win. He averaged 6.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game and won 2 NBA Championships.
13. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Marcus Banks
Re-Draft Pick: Steve Blake
Steve Blake was never going to become a superstar. Still, his skills and basketball IQ helped him become one of the most reliable and trusted backup point guards of the past decade and have quite a decent 13-season career in the NBA.
Blake never managed to be a part of a Championship team but he played for contenders throughout most of his career. Over that span, he averaged 6.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game while knocking down 38% of his three-pointers.
14. Seattle Supersonics
Original Pick: Luke Ridnour
Re-Draft Pick: Luke Ridnour
This re-do has Luke Ridnour ending up exactly where he should’ve: in the same exact spot, as he fared pretty decently for a 14th overall pick. Some may say he could’ve been even better if he was given more of a chance to prove his worth.
Ridnour played for the Sonics, Bucks, Timberwolves, Bobcats and Magic over his 12-season NBA career and was one of the finest playmakers in the league during his early days. He averaged 9.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 4.5 dimes per game.
15. Orlando Magic
Original Pick: Reece Gaines
Re-Draft Pick: Josh Howard
Josh Howard was a true hooper. He was the kind of player that was always looking forward to going one-on-one and there was a time where he was one of the league’s smoothest bucket-getters, although he was never a team’s first scoring option.
As a matter of fact, Howard even paved his way towards one All-Star appearance and the All-Rookie team, posting career averages of 14.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.0 steals per game over his 10-year career in the Association.
16. Memphis Grizzlies
Original Pick: Troy Bell
Re-Draft Pick: Nick Collison
Nick Collison isn’t the kind of player that’s going to make an impact on the court, but whose mentorship helped mold some of the league’s superstars of today, like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. That and his loyalty to the Sonics/Thunder franchise is why they retired his jersey.
Needless to say, Collison underachieved for a 12th overall pick. Still, he brought his heart and soul whenever needed to step on the court, especially in the defensive end of the floor. He averaged 5.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game over his career.
17. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Zarko Cabarkapa
Re-Draft Pick: Jose Calderon
Jose Calderon went undrafted in 2003 and he had to wait a couple of years before making it to the league, but he still makes our list because he’s technically a part of that class. Calderon wasn’t much of an athlete, but he was smart and knew how to make his teammates better.
Calderon’s career isn’t exactly full of highlights but he was one of the first fan-favorites of the Toronto Raptors. Also, he managed to finish a season with a perfect 100% from the free-throw line. Over his career, he averaged 8.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game.
18. New Orleans Hornets
Original Pick: David West
Re-Draft Pick: Mickael Pietrus
Mickael Pietrus was the kind of player we all want to have on our team. Not because he was particularly great but because of the fact that he was a bit of a swiss-army knife. He could play both guard spots, some small forward and even at the four if needed.
Needless to say, Pietrus wasn’t an All-Star or a difference-maker, but his hard work granted him a long career in basketball’s best league. Throughout his career, he averaged 8.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game on 36% shooting from beyond the arc.
19. Utah Jazz
Original Pick: Aleksandar Pavlovic
Re-Draft Pick: James Jones
James Jones holds one of the best resumes out of this class. However, he should thank LeBron James for most of his accolades, as he was one of the King’s favorite teammates of all time and joined him for the last eight years of his career.
Jones was a three-point specialist but his presence on the court was a bit of a rareness throughout most of his career. He averaged 5.1 points and 1.8 rebounds per game on 40% shooting from beyond the arc and won 3 NBA Championships.
20. Memphis Grizzlies
Original Pick: Danthay Jones
Re-Draft Pick: Matt Bonner
Matt Bonner was one of the first truly reliable and consistent shooting big men and he would’ve been perfectly suited for modern basketball. However, other than his sweet stroke from deep, he was a bit of a liability on the court, especially in the defensive end.
Bonner could knock down threes at a high clip and that made him a bit of Gregg Popovich’s secret weapon from time to time. His shooting helped him win a couple of NBA Champions and the ‘Red Mamba’ nickname as well. Throughout his career, he averaged 5.8 points and 3.0 rebounds on 41% from deep.
21. Atlanta Hawks
Original Pick: Boris Diaw
Re-Draft Pick: Carlos Delfino
Carlos Delfino had a decent career in the NBA, but his game was actually were more suited for FIBA basketball, where he thrived the most. However, he could’ve been a solid and reliable sixth man if injuries didn’t cut his career short.
Delfino wasn’t exactly great at anything, but he wasn’t bad at anything either. He was a solid shooter, especially from three-point range, but lacked the chances to prove his worth. Throughout his career, he averaged 8.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 three-pointers per game.
22. New Jersey Nets
Original Pick: Zoran Planinic
Re-Draft Pick: TJ Ford
TJ Ford was supposed to become one of the best scoring guards in the league. That’s why he was taken as high as 8th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks back in the day. However, he was never able to fully recover from an injured back during his sophomore year.
While the talent was clearly there, Ford was never able to take that step forward everybody expected him to take. Still, he managed to make the All-Rookie team and posted career averages of 11.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game.
23. Portland Trail Blazers
Original Pick: Travis Outlaw
Re-Draft Pick: Willie Green
Willie Green wasn’t the most impressive guy on the court, but he surely knew how to do his job and earn his minutes during his prime. He was a nice source of scoring, especially out of the bench, with his sweet stroke from three-point land.
Obviously, Green’s offense was kind of limited besides his shooting and he struggled to create off the dribble or facilitate for others, but he still did just enough to be taken 23rd overall. Over his career, he averaged 8.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists.
24. Los Angeles Lakers
Original Pick: Brian Cook
Re-Draft Pick: Luke Walton
Luke Walton and the Los Angeles Lakers were destined to be. However, this time they would get him with the 24th overall pick instead of 32nd overall. Obviously, this wouldn’t make much of a difference in his career with the purple and gold.
Walton was far from the dominant player his old man was. However, he was smart and hard-working and did all the little things to grant him some playing time. He truly fell off after an impressive 2006-07 campaign and posted career averages of 4.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game and won a couple of NBA Championships.
25. Detroit Pistons
Original Pick: Carlos Delfino
Re-Draft Pick: Josh Powell
Josh Powell always found himself in favorable positions. He was a steady member of contending teams even despite the fact that he barely set foot on the hardwood. Averaging roughly over 12 minutes per game for his career, he still has one of the most successful resumes of his class.
Powell had some nice game stepping for injured big men but other than that, he didn’t do much to earn the 2 NBA Championships he won over his seven-year career. Over that span, he averaged 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves
Original Pick: Ndubi Ebi
Re-Draft Pick: Keith Bogans
Truth to be told, Keith Bogan could’ve had a much better career in the NBA, but his skill set and salary made him the average player that’s constantly being passed around the league near the trade deadline so that obviously took a toll on him.
Bogans was good enough to play the shooting guard or small forward spot from time to time but didn’t exactly stand up for anything in particular. He ended up playing for 8 different teams and averaging 6.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game.
27. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Kendrick Perkins
Re-Draft Pick: Dahntay Jones
Dahntay Jones was a tough guy. He was the kind of player that you would send out there to try and get on his rival’s head, to commit a couple of quick, hard fouls to turn the momentum in your favor. Other than that, he didn’t find much success in the league.
Jones never hesitated to put his body on the line or try and do all the dirty work to help his team win. It finally paid off in 2015-16 when he won his first and only NBA Championship after posting career averages of 5.4 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 0.8 assists per game.
28. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Leandro Barbosa
Re-Draft Pick: Jason Kapono
Jason Kapono was asked to do one thing and one thing only: knock down threes. He was slow and unathletic, but he could score at a high clip from beyond the arc and get hot in the blink of an eye. He was a three-point specialist and a little more.
As a matter of fact, Kapono even led the league in three-point field goal percentage in 2007 and 2008 with 51% and 48%, respectively. He holds a career average of 43% shooting from beyond the arc, won an NBA Champion, and averaged 6.7 points per game.
29. Dallas Mavericks
Original Pick: Josh Howard
Re-Draft Pick: Darko Milicic
Well, we couldn’t leave Darko Milicic completely out of this re-draft, could we? at least for the sake of the argument. See, the thing was never trying to talk smack about Darko, but there was never a clue or sign that could point towards him being a lottery-caliber player.
Obviously, his issues and struggles off the court didn’t do much to help his case, we get that, so perhaps he would’ve fared better if it wasn’t for the high expectations that come with being a 2nd overall pick. Over his career, he averaged 6.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game and won an NBA Championship.