It’s always interesting to look back at past draft classes and analyze how good they were and what effect they had on the NBA. Who was the number 1 pick? Were they a bust or not? Who became an All-Star/a Hall of Famer? Who were the diamonds in the rough?
Draft classes fluctuate hugely in the level of talent they produce. Some years bring several Hall of Famers, others just bring a few role players. Today I want to look at a particularly good class; the famous 2003 draft which happened over 15 years ago and what each of the top 10 draft picks is up to these days.
10. Jarvis Hayes - Washington Wizards
Hayes was seen as a steal at the 10th spot for the Wizards but never averaged over 11 points a game for a season. His career field-goal percentage of 41.5% is not good and he never materialized into anything good for the Wizards.
After stops in Detroit and New Jersey Hayes joined the Turkish league. He is a native of Qatar and still plays for their national team today.
9. Michael Sweetney - New York Knicks
Sweetney was drafted by the Knicks just as they were beginning to slide into the mediocre team we know them to be today. He was an ok role-player in New York but was never anything special.
After 4 seasons in the league, he bounced around several international leagues including Puerto Rico and Venezuela and last played in Uruguay.
8. T.J. Ford - Milwaukee Bucks
Ford actually had a decent NBA career that was sadly dampened by an injury that forced him to sit out his entire 2nd season. He bounced back though and averaged 14 points and 8 assists a game in the 2006-07 season.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t build on that and retired in 2012 after playing for the Raptors, Pacers and Spurs.
7. Kirk Hinrich - Chicago Bulls
Hinrich was a solid point guard in the NBA for 13 seasons. He averaged 16.6 points and 6.3 assists in the 2006/07 season and had a career average of nearly 11 points a night, mainly for Chicago.
He retired in 2016 aged 35 after a solid NBA career.
6. Chris Kaman - LA Clippers
Kaman was a great center for the Clippers and even got an All-Star nod in 2010 when he averaged 18.5 points and 9.3 rebounds. He played the majority of his career for the Clippers before stops in New Orleans, Dallas, the Lakers and Portland.
He retired in 2016 with a reputation as a solid and dependable NBA center.
5. Dwyane Wade - Miami Heat
Even though the Heat had LeBron for 4 years Wade is definitely Miami’s best ever player. He put them on the map and dragged them from an emerging franchise to a powerhouse in the league. Flash is the 3rd best shooting guard of all time behind Kobe and Jordan. His career points per game average is 22.5 and would have been more if he hadn’t sadly developed knee problems after he turned 30.
Wade also won the scoring title in 2009 and has 3 rings to his name as well as a Finals MVP from when he personally destroyed Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in 2006. Wade is one the most loved players in the NBA because of his stellar all-around play and loyalty to the Heat.
He’s about to play his last season down in South Beach and I just want to take this opportunity to thank D-Wade for everything he’s done for the league. He deserves a Kobe-level send-off from every team in the league and hopefully, he can pull a few more highlights out of the bag in his last run as an NBA player.
4. Chris Bosh - Toronto Raptors
Bosh was always going to be overshadowed by LeBron and Wade in Miami but without Bosh, the Heat wouldn’t have won anything. People forget just how skilled he was offensive. He had a great mid-range jumper and a superb touch down on the block.
Sadly blood clots forced Bosh to retire in his prime when he was averaging around 20 points a game for the Heat following LeBron’s return to Cleveland. When Bosh was with the Raptors he nearly averaged 20 and 10 and was their franchise player.
Bosh is a surefire hall of famer and an 11-time All-Star and deserves a lot more respect than he gets.
3. Carmelo Anthony - Denver Nuggets
Ahhh Carmelo Anthony, the NBA’s biggest head-scratcher. In his prime, he was a top 3 scorer in the NBA with a career scoring average of 24.1 points a night. He forced a trade to New York from the Knicks in 2011 and was their next great hope of becoming relevant again.
After 1 good season in 2013, they haven’t made the Playoffs since and Melo was traded to OKC before ending up in Houston with Harden and Chris Paul. Hopefully, he can help the Rockets get to the Finals because I think he seized the opportunity with everything he had in his one chance to get a ring.
2. Darko Miličić - Detroit Pistons
Melo must really hate Darko; the Pistons chose to draft Miličić with the 2nd pick which effectively gave him a ring. Miličić was never more than an ok role player in the NBA and dropped out in 2013 after never getting anywhere.
He should be very thankful that the Pistons took him instead of Carmelo because if Detroit had taken Anthony then they could have won back to back titles instead of just the 1.
What he is doing right now? He was a kickboxer for a while, but right now he is a farmer. He works in Serbia and he owned and operated an apple orchard of about 125 acres with plans to purchase more land and also grow cherries.
1. LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
The fact that everyone on this list is very close to retirement apart from LeBron speaks volume as to how good King James had been throughout his career. No athlete in the history of sports has had that amount of pressure placed upon his shoulders when James came into the league straight from High School.
LeBron answered the call and then some though. He single-handedly made the Cavs relevant and is a 4-time league MVP, 3-time Finals MVP, a 3-time champion and a top 3 player of all time. He carried his teams to 8 straight Finals appearances.
James could very well win another title now that he’s in LA and could also become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. He has played more basketball than anyone over the past 15 years and yet he’s been the best player in the league for a whole decade.
He really is not human.