As Carmelo Anthony prepares to enter his 19th season, there is no doubt that his mind is focused on the future and helping the Lakers capture their 18th Championship.
Still, Carmelo has had a rather interesting path. Over nearly two decades, he has made a name for himself as a scorer and superstar, which began in Denver back in the 2000s.
Carmelo did find some success with the Nuggets, and it definitely helped solidify his status as a premier basketball star. In hindsight, though, it's hard not to think about how different things might have been had Melo gotten drafted to a different team in 2003.
You likely know by now that Anthony was picked third overall in the draft, behind Darko Milicic and LeBron James. At the time, it was a pretty big shock to everyone, as the expectation was that the young Syracuse prospect would get picked up by Detroit at number 2.
The Pistons pulled that last-minute switch, a move that the now-Lakers veteran still thinks about today. As he recently disclosed to the media, Detroit's selection of Darko really stung at the time, especially considering they had promised to pick him up.
Tynes: How hurt were you that Detroit drafted Darko Milicic over you, though?
Annthony: "I was, I was… I was hurt. That disappointment was there. Like, damn! Why me? Why do I keep being disappointed? Things never go right. Why can’t they go right for me? That shut me down for a little bit and for a while. It shut me down. Why? Why is this happening to me? I was always questioning myself. I come to Philly and meet with you and y’all tell me shit and it doesn’t happen…I was so used to disappointment at that time and I felt like I had finally got ahead, but it was more disappointment waiting for me (with the Pistons)."
While Darko never wound up becoming a star, the Pistons would win a title just months later, while Anthony was averaging 21 points per game as a rookie.
Had they stuck with Anthony, it's likely they could have pulled off a repeat.
So, as much as Detroit's decision crushed Carmelo, the team must be feeling some major regret about passing on him. Unfortunately, there's no going back to change things now.