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In 2003, Mike D'Antoni Said Darko Milicic Will Be A Better Player Than LeBron James

(via Los Angeles Times)

(via Los Angeles Times)

2003 was a different time. At the time, George W. Bush was President, Cristiano Ronaldo made his Manchester United debut, and LeBron James was just a 19-year-old teenager from Akron, Ohio.

Of course, there was also Darko Milicic -- a Serbian big man who, at the time, was projected to be among the best players in the game. He was drafted second by the Pistons but many thought he should have went number one (yes, over LeBron James).

Here's what Mike D'Antoni said about him in '03:

To be fair, LeBron James wasn't nearly as well-rounded offensively back then. On the surface, it certainly looked like Darko had a wider scoring arsenal than any other prospect.

Unfortunately, things didn't work out for Milicic. He spent three seasons in Detroit before he was traded to Orlando. In 12 total seasons, he averaged just 6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game on 46% shooting.

Considering all that LeBron James has done, and where he stands now, it's fair to say D'Antoni and there were very wrong in their assessment of the '03 draft class. It happens to the best of us...