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Re-Drafting 1996 And 2003 Draft Classes: LeBron James Or Kobe Bryant As No. 1 Pick?

Re-Drafting 1996 And 2003 Draft Classes: LeBron James Or Kobe Bryant As No. 1 Pick?

Last year we re-drafted the 1996 draft class and 2003 draft class, completing how NBA history should have been altered for eternity. This time, we will select the combined 30 best players from both the 1996 and 2003 draft classes and have 1 re-draft class. This will allow us to see how the best players from the best drafts in NBA history are ranked. Of course, the team making the selection is also of importance.

We will commence the Re-Draft in the order of the 1996 Draft, meaning the Philadelphia 76ers get the No.1 Pick while the Toronto Raptors get the No. 2 pick, etc. The player pool is also a point of discussion, and here are the combined best 30 players from both draft classes.

Best Players From 2003 Draft Class: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, David West, Josh Howard, Kirk Hinrich, Boris Diaw, Kyle Korver, Mo Williams, TJ Ford, Jose Calderon, Mickael Pietrus, Leandro Barbosa, Kendrick Perkins

Best Players From 1996 Draft Class: Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Peja Stojakovic, Ben Wallace, Jermaine O’Neal, Marcus Camby, Stephon Marbury, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Antoine Walker, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Derek Fisher, Kerry Kittles, Eric Dampier

Here is how a combined Re-Draft of the 1996 and 2003 Draft Classes would look like.


1. Philadelphia Sixers - LeBron James

With the No.1 pick in the Re-Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select LeBron James. The King, aka the savior of Akron, would have gone to the 76ers to the city of Brotherly Love. LeBron is a 4-time NBA champion, 4-time MVP, and one of the best players ever.

LeBron would have been the man to take Philly to the promised land, something Allen Iverson did not have a chance to do. A bigger and more powerful LeBron James would have delivered a title to Philadelphia.


2. Toronto Raptors - Kobe Bryant

Toronto had an all-time great shooting guard in Vince Carter play for their franchise, but Kobe Bryant would have been the best player in their history. The 5-time NBA champion was a winner of the highest order, and he would get drafted No. 2 in the Re-Draft.

Kobe Bryant would have brought a no-nonsense attitude to the franchise and a championship player that would perform in the brightest lights. The Raptors got lucky with Kawhi Leonard in 2019, but they could have used Kobe to build their franchise with.


3. Memphis Grizzlies - Dwyane Wade

One of the three greatest shooting guards ever, Dwyane Wade would have gotten drafted No.3 to the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis have had some all-time great players such as Marc Gasol and Pau Gasol, but Wade would have been the best by far.

Wade won 3 NBA titles in his career as a superstar guard, and he would be the building block for the Western Conference franchise. With Wade on the roster, Memphis would have an NBA title without a doubt.


4. Milwaukee Bucks - Allen Iverson

Unsurprisingly, Allen Iverson gets drafted into the top 5. The Milwaukee Bucks have Giannis Antetokounmpo right now, which is a massive blessing, but Allen Iverson was sorely needed in the franchise for years.

Iverson is one of the game's greatest scorers, as a player who averaged 26.7 PPG for his career and won 4 scoring titles. Iverson showed he can lead an average Sixers team to the Finals, and he could have done the same with the Bucks.


5. Minnesota Timberwolves - Steve Nash

The Minnesota Timberwolves would have been lucky to have the No. 5 overall pick in the Re-Draft. With so many great players remaining, the Timberwolves would have ended up with 2-time MVP Steve Nash.

Nash gets a lot of criticism for "stealing" an MVP Award from Shaquille O'Neal or Kobe Bryant, but he was the most impactful point guard in the league. Nash is one of the game's greatest shooters and passers in NBA history, so this is an easy choice for the Wolves.


6. Boston Celtics - Chris Bosh

With the No. 6 overall pick, the Celtics would have drafted 11-time All-Star, Chris Bosh. Bosh is one of the most underappreciated players in NBA history, having won 2 NBA titles with the Heat and being a franchise player for the Raptors.

Bosh averaged 19.2 PPG and 8.5 RPG for his career, and fit the Celtics culture as a star who was unselfish and willing to sacrifice for his team. Chris Bosh would have been a fantastic franchise player for the legendary franchise.


7. Los Angeles Clippers - Carmelo Anthony

The Los Angeles Clippers struggled so much over their franchise history, that a bonafide superstar in Carmelo Anthony would have been their greatest blessing. Anthony did not win an NBA title over his career so far, but he was a championship-level player.

Averaging 23.1 PPG over his career which includes 10 All-Star appearances, Anthony was the best player for the Nuggets and Knicks franchises during his career. With Carmelo on board, the Clippers would not have been a joke for all those years.


8. Brooklyn Nets - Ray Allen

The Brooklyn Nets would have selected one of the best shooters ever in Ray Allen with the No. 8 overall pick. Allen, a 10-time All-Star and Hall of Famer, averaged 18.9 PPG over his career on 40.0% 3-point shooting.

Allen was a franchise player for the Milwaukee Bucks in his prime and later won an NBA title with the Boston Celtics in 2008, and he might have been the exact same player for the Nets. Among the ten best players ever, Allen is certainly one of them.


9. Dallas Mavericks - Peja Stojakovic

With the No. 9 overall pick, the Dallas Mavericks would have selected 3-time All-Star Peja Stojakovic. Peja is one of the most unstoppable shooters ever because he had a quick release and a marksman eye for the bucket.

The Mavericks won an NBA title with Peja on the roster in 2011, but they would have drafted Peja in his prime if the Re-Draft occurred. Stojakovic finished his career averaging 17.0 PPG on 40.1% shooting from three.


10. Indiana Pacers - Ben Wallace

In the top ten, Ben Wallace would have gone to the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers have been a decent franchise for a long time, but a championship-level player like Ben Wallace would have gifted them a defensive core that couldn't be shaken.

Wallace is one of the best defensive players ever, winning 4 Defensive Player of the Year Awards and also winning an NBA title with the Pistons in 2004. With Wallace on board, the Pacers would have had a building block for a championship roster.


11. Golden State Warriors - Jermaine O’Neal

Jermaine O'Neal is often forgotten as a star because he was one of the best power forwards in the NBA at his best. As a 6-time All-Star for the Pacers, O'Neal averaged 20.6 PPG and 9.9 RPG over a 6-year span with the franchise.

O'Neal would suffer a steep decline shortly after that 6th season due to age and injuries, but he was still a dominant big man. O'Neal later joined the Warriors during the final year of his career, but a prime O'Neal would have made the Warriors a tough team to beat.


12. Cleveland Cavaliers - Marcus Camby

The Cleveland Cavaliers had a talented big man who became an All-Star in Zydrunas Ilgauskas, but Marcus Camby was a better player. Camby won the Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 and led the NBA in blocks 4 separate times.

Camby has career statistics of 9.5 PPG and 9.8 RPG, and he would have been an important part of the Cavaliers franchise who were extremely lucky to have gotten LeBron James in the 2003 Draft.


13. Charlotte Hornets - Stephon Marbury

With the No. 13 pick, the Charlotte Hornets would select 2-time All-Star and 2-time All-NBA Team performer Stephen Marbury. Before becoming an icon in China, "Starbury' was one of the most talented point guards in the league.

He had incredible handles and could score with ease, promoting the New York Knicks to make him their franchise player. While things didn't turn out as many hoped, the Hornets would be happy with a star like Marbury leading their franchise.


14. Sacramento Kings - Shareef Abdur-Rahim

Shareef Abdur-Rahim had the best scoring season in franchise history for the Memphis Grizzlies, but he would have been selected as a member of the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings had some great players such as Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic play for the franchise, but Abdur-Rahim would be the man to hold down the fort for them if the Re-Draft occurred. Abdur-Rahim averaged 18.1 PPG and 7.5 RPG for his career.


15. Phoenix Suns - Antoine Walker

Antoine Walker wasn't always in the best shape, but he was a naturally gifted scorer even if he took a lot of shots. Walker made 3 All-Star Teams over his career with the Boston Celtics, as a scoring forward who played with no hesitation.

Walker's brightest moment came in 2006 when he helped Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal, and the Miami Heat capture the NBA title. Phoenix would be happy with an All-Star like Walker on the squad from the Re-Draft.


16. Charlotte Hornets - David West

David West had his best seasons with the Charlotte Hornets in actuality, making his selection even more suitable. With 8 playing seasons with the franchise, West made 2 All-Star Teams after averaging 20.6 PPG and 21.0 PPG.

David West was as tough as they come, using his broad shoulders to bully defenders down low and even had a solid mid-range jumper. Charlotte would be happy with drafting West with the No. 16 pick.


17. Portland Trail Blazers - Zydrunas Ilgauskas

With the No. 17 pick in the Re-Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers would have selected 2-way center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Ilgauskas was a unique center because he could block shots and hold down the fort while nailing his patented mid-range jumper.

The big man made 2 All-Star Teams over his career, both as a member of the Cavaliers, and he would be a solid choice for the Trail Blazers who would want their next replacement for former star Arvydas Sabonis.


18. New York Knicks - Josh Howard

With their first pick in the Re-Draft, the Knicks would have drafted swingman Josh Howard. Howard was a capable scorer in his prime, averaging 18.9 PPG for the Dallas Mavericks in his single All-Star season.

Howard could create his own shot, and he was a capable shooter from deep. Over his 10 year career, he averaged 14.3 PPG and 5.7 RPG. With a nice trio of draft choices at the end of the Re-Draft, the Knicks would have had a competitive core to build around.


19. New York Knicks - Boris Diaw

The New York Knicks would have had another shot with the No. 19 overall pick, and they would have selected Boris Diaw. With Kirk Hinrich, a selection at No. 21, a versatile power forward in Diaw would have fit the bill.

Diaw won the 2006 Most Improved Player after taking his averages from 4.8 PPG and 2.6 RPG to 13.3 PPG and 6.9 RPG. Diaw could shoot the jumper, score inside, and was a willing passer who would have helped New York.


20. Cleveland Cavaliers - Derek Fisher

5-time NBA champion Derek Fisher flies under the radar because he didn't put up big numbers and had a simple style of play. But he was extremely effective as a starting point guard because his shooting and defense were above average.

Fisher would get drafted in the top-20 because few players played harder than him. Not to mention, he is one of the most clutch players in NBA history as a role-playing point guard.


21. New York Knicks - Kirk Hinrich

Kirk Hinrich was a defensive stalwart for the Chicago Bulls in the 2000s, even making the All-Defensive Team in 2007. Hinrich was a 3-and-D guard who could play both point and shooting guard without giving up much on either end.

The Knicks would have their third pick go to Hinrich because he played with consistency and edge that Knicks fans will surely love as a No. 21 pick.


22. Memphis Grizzlies - Mo Williams

Mo Williams is known for his exploits as a sidekick to LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers, making his first All-Star Team in 2009 after averaging 17.8 PPG and 4.1 APG.

The sharpshooting point guard was effective on offense, and his spot-up scoring (37.8% from three) from the perimeter would come in handy for a Memphis Grizzlies squad that would lack shooting for a long time. Williams would be an easy choice with the No. 22 pick.


23. Denver Nuggets - Kerry Kittles

Kerry Kittles was one of the key players in the New Jersey Nets Finals runs led by Jason Kidd. Kittles was an excellent starting player in the NBA, averaging 14.1 PPG for his career while playing solid defense every night.

The squad of Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin, and Keith Van Horn would not have been successful without Kittles playing the big minutes he provided. An easy choice for Denver with the No. 23 pick.


24. Los Angeles Lakers - Kyle Korver

One of the best shooters in NBA history, Korver carved out a long career as a three-point specialist. He shot 42.9% from three over his career, making him one of the deadliest offensive floor spacers we have seen.

While Korver couldn't create his own offense, playing alongside star players made him extremely effective against any team in the league. The Lakers would go for Korver with the No. 24 pick because he was as reliable as they came.


25. Utah Jazz - TJ Ford

TJ Ford never got his career underway after suffering a brutal injury in 2004. Ford was beginning to have a solid NBA career destined for stardom before a nasty fall pretty much summed up his upwards trajectory in the league.

But Ford, if he stayed healthy, was probably an All-Star in the making. After his injury, he managed to average 14.9 PPG and 5.3 APG for the Pacers 3 seasons later, but that would be his best season.


26. Detroit Pistons - Jose Calderon

Jose Calderon might get the greatest free-throw shooter in NBA history, knocking down a career 87.3% of his free throws. Most importantly, Calderon holds the NBA record for free throw percentage in a single season at 98.1%.

But that's not all Calderon did on the floor, as he was a solid three-point shooter (40.7%) and a capable playmaker (5.8 APG). Whether entering a game as a starter or backup, Calderon is a very good point guard.


27. Orlando Magic - Eric Dampier

Eric Dampier was a solid backup center for his entire career, with his best season coming in 2004 when he averaged 12.0 PPG and 12.3 RPG for the Golden State Warriors. Dampier played his role well and used his size and rebounding to his advantage.

The Magic would claim him with the No. 27 overall pick, setting their depth chart up with a hustle-first center who did all the dirty work to earn his minutes.


28. Atlanta Hawks - Mickael Pietrus

Pietrus was the defensive wing for the Orlando Magic team that made the NBA Finals in 2009. Pietrus was one of the few specialist 3-and-D players who played his role and did it exceptionally well.

The Hawks will take Pietrus because he is a solid three-point shooter (35.5% for his career) and played hard-nosed defense no matter who he was defending.


29. Chicago Bulls - Leandro Barbosa

Leandro Barbosa is mainly known for his floor spacing and his speed as a member of the Phoenix Suns squad led by Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire. Barbosa was indeed lightning quick, and he was an excellent guard as a backup.

Barbosa would later join the Golden State Warriors in a bench role as well, winning an NBA title. The Bulls would draft the speedy guard with the No. 29 pick in the Re-Draft.


30. Oklahoma City Thunder - Kendrick Perkins

One of the pieces of the talented 2012 Thunder team, Perkins would have been drafted to Oklahoma City in the Re-Draft. Perkins averaged 5.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG over his career, but his impact as a role player cannot be ignored.

Perkins won an NBA title with the Celtics in 2008 and was a part of the Thunder team that made the Finals in 2012. The Thunder could have always used his size and presence to fortify the paint.