2003 NBA Re-Draft

This is the fourth installment in my NBA Re-Drafts series.  Today, I will cover the 2003 Draft which gave us LeBron, D-Wade, Chris Bosh, Melo, and others.  Others include busts Darko Milicic , Michael Sweetney, Jarvis Hayes and (surprise!) Chris Kaman.  (I’ll probably talk about Kaman late in the draft.)   I will still use Composite Score as my data point for player evaluation, but I have decreased my minutes requirement to 250 so that I would have more accurate results for certain players.  I will still evaluate team need the same way.  My data can be found at 2003DraftSpreadsheet.  Here we go:

  1. Cleveland SF LeBron James St. Vincent-St. Mary HS (OH)  LeBron is indisputably the best player in this draft.  He is probably the best player of the past decade, except for maybe Shaq or Tim Duncan.  His rookie seaon is his only one where he did not record a Composite Score exceeding .200.  Like Yao last year, I didn’t bother to check the Cavs’ 2002-03 roster because he has been so amazing, even considering his lack of “clutch” ability (which is overrated, anyway).
  2. Detroit SG Dwyane Wade Marquette Jr.  Before I became involved in the analytics movement, I would have slotted Chris Bosh here, no questions asked.  However, there are two reasons why I did not do this.  For one, Mehmet Okur was never a slouch until the last couple years.  He and Ben Wallace were a pretty good frontcourt even before the trade for Rasheed.  Second of all, Rip Hamilton is overrated.  Hamilton’s not terrible, but his scoring efficiency is very average and he isn’t a great rebounder for his position.  Wade or Rip could serve as a Sixth Man in 03-04, while Dwyane would take over in Year 2.  With this pick, the Pistons would have been almost unbeatable.
  3. Denver PG Jose Calderon Tau Cermaica (ESP) 1981  Somehow, Calderon went undrafted in reality even though he was automatically eligible.  The 2002-03 Nuggets had the sub-zero Junior Harrington as its starting point guard.  I don’t think they would mind waiting a couple of years for this fantastic point guard, well-known for his high assist totals.  I would have selected Bosh here, but this team already had Marcus Camby and Nene, and Bosh would not have been much of an improvement over the Brazilian.
  4. Toronto PF Chris Bosh Georgia Tech Fr.  Since he is unquestionably the best player remaining, the only players in his neighborhood play the same position, and he was the actual selection at this spot, I will go with Bosh almost by default.  Although he is not a star on the level of teammates James and Wade, he is still a star and has been for a long time.  As an efficient scorer who can block shots and doesn’t foul too much, he is a great value at the 4 selection.  He also gives them some life for the aftermath of the Vince Carter debacle.
  5. Miami PF David West Xavier Sr.  Besides Eddie Jones, this Heat team didn’t have much to go on for the future.  In real life, they took Dwyane Wade.  In this scenario, Flash is long gone.  Although somewhat overrated because of his scoring totals, West has still been a serviceable starter who will block shots and definitely not kill you.  (Note that Wins Produced only credits him with four average seasons, including a rookie year where he was a star…in less than 1,000 minutes of action.)  Other targets include Matt Bonner and Nick Collison.
  6. Clippers PG Kirk Hinrich Kansas Sr.  During the course of his rookie contract, Hinrich was a pretty good starter, but he declined earlier than players ahead of him.  However, this team already had Elton Brand and Corey Maggette (who isn’t as overrated as you would think), and Andre Miller was leaving in free agency.  Hinrich has a better 4-Year average than anyone in this draft not currently being paid like a superstar to play for Miami, or Josh Howard (who also had an early decline).  Because of his early success, he probably is a better selection than Bonner, Collison, Kyle Korver, and Melo (those available with higher 9-year averages).  This is not as much of a reach as I first though; in fact, I don’t think it’s a reach at all.
  7. Chicago SF Josh Howard Wake Forest Jr.  Like the 2002 Draft, the 2003 draft was short on solid guards (although it did have two elite ones in Wade and Calderon).  Chicago already had Tyson Chandler and Donyell Marshall (who was pretty good), which eliminates a couple of candidates.  However, at small forward they had Eddie Robinson (who?) and Jalen Rose (who was turnover-prone and steal-averse).  However came off to a flying start in his five years before sinking into obscurity.  A frontline of Howard, Marshall, and Chandler (all last names that can be used as first names) would have been really good for a couple of years.  However, the Bulls would not want to overpay for his Restricted Free Agency deal.  Until then though, Howard was really good.
  8. Milwaukee SF Carmelo Anthony Syracuse Fr.  With Michael Redd and Sam Cassell (who in reality they traded the very next day), the Bucks had some good guards.  At this point in the draft, that’s a good thing.  Their bigs were less inspiring but still capable, with Joel Pryzbilla (terrible at the time), Dan Gadzuric (had a couple of inspired years but not a whole ton else), and an aging Ervin Johnson (who would be packaged in the Cassell deal).  That leaves small forward, where they had an okay Desmond Mason and a retiring Anthony Mason.  (I guess they did a lot of stone cutting in Milwaukee.)  So that makes it a toss-up between Melo and Kyle Korver.  Both of them have had their seasons, but neither was consistently good until Year 7 or so.  At least with Melo, you have a high trade value.  I was hoping I could have Melo farther down, but oh well.
  9. New York PF Nick Collison Kansas Sr.  This Knicks team was so old that only Charlie Ward and Clarence Weatherspoon had decent 03-04 seasons, and neither one of them had a good 04-05.  That means the Knicks are looking for the best player they can find.  In real life, they “found” Michael Sweetney (which wasn’t as bad as you would think, but it still wasn’t great.)  Collison missed 03-04 with injuries to both shoulders, but he has been a solid player ever since.  He has had only one below-average season, a Year 3 where he still posted a respectable .078.  He is also well-known for taking charges, which is a good thing.  Other possibilities include Matt Bonner, Kyle Korver, Marquis Daniels, Luke Walton, and (prepare to be amazed) James Singleton.  (P.S. While we were playing a game of Strat-o-Matic together, my dad christened him Nick Collision.  This was before either of us knew of us charge-taking prowess.)
  10. Washington SF Marquis Daniels Auburn Sr.  Christian Laettner, Brendan Haywood, and Etan Thomas provided a solid rotation of big men.  However, between Jerry Stackhouse and Tyronn Lue and Larry Hughes’s overrated-ness and MJ’s final retirement, they had a shortage of wings and guards.  Daniels’s first three years are among the best of the draft, but then he goes through a steep decline, in part because of lowering assist totals.  Other possibilities include Luke Ridnour, James Jones, and Carlos Delfino.
  11. Golden St. PF Matt Bonner Florida Sr.  Bonner spent a harrowing season in Italy (look at his Wikipedia page) before becoming a solid player in the NBA.  For a team with only Erick Dampier being a dependable player, Bonner would definitely be a serviceable starter.  Hopefully, the Warriors would have better luck extending Bonner than they did with Gilbert Arenas.
  12. Seattle C Kendrick Perkins Ozen HS (TX)  Having traded upcoming free agent Gary Payton to Milwaukee and Predrag Drobnjak as its starting center, this team was in the market for a replacement at the two most important positions.  Perkins is the best of those player remaining.  It took him a little time to develop into a solid starter, but judging that he’s a high school selection, this is unsurprising.  A couple of years in Europe could have helped, admittedly, but almost any production would be more than they got out of Drobnjak.  This guy would definitely be worth a Restricted Free Agency deal.
  13. Memphis (traded to Boston) PF James Singleton Murray St. Sr.  Wait, what?  James Singleton?  He of 243 career games!  Well, yes, I’ll tell you why.  Singleton is an extraordinary rebounder, racks up blocks and steals well for his position, and has been extraordinary throughout his career whenever he has gotten his shot.  Even though he spent two years in Italy before coming to the NBA, he is still selected here because there is a shortage of immediate help.  Furthermore, that is reduced even more when you consider that Boston’s one good player for the future was Paul Pierce, a small forward who can technically play either wing position.  It’s a shame that Singleton didn’t get a chance to play more; I’m sure he would have take advantage of it.
  14. Seattle PG Luke Ridnour Oregon Jr.  This one of the few picks that is actually the same as it was in real life.  As I mentioned before, Seattle needed a point guard.  With Kenny Anderson and Kevin Ollie leaving in free agency, they didn’t have any left on the roster.  Ridnour has had some good seasons, particularly recently, and okay is better than bad is better than terrible.  It’s too bad Leandro Barbosa can’t play point guard.
  15. Orlando PF Michael Sweetney Georgetown Jr.  This was a hard pick since Orlando need right away, but there isn’t much immediate help left.  Sweetney had a couple of good years (albeit in limited time) before fading into obscurity.  This guy had ability; he just didn’t put it all together, apparently.  This is definitely a reach, but the Magic would finish with the league’s worst record in 2003-04, so the right-now precludes the later.  They want to make the most of T-Mac, especially since he was to start his decline.
  16. Boston (traded to Memphis) C Zaza Pachulia Ulkerspor (TUR) 1984  This team was headed by Pau, Shane Battier, and Mike Miller, and Jason Williams has pretty good.  Pachulia was a young player that the Grizzlies could afford to stash in Europe for a year.  (Zaza’s rookie year was abysmal with a Composite Score of .006, but he improved.)  They could sign him to a restricted deal on the cheap as his Year 5 was pretty bad, and then reap the benefits of four consecutive above-average seasons.  This will soon become a familiar tale.
  17. Phoenix SG Leandro Barbosa Bauru Tilibra (BRA) 1982  Barbosa may be a little overrated, but he was still a good player for his first six seasons.  Because of a trade with San Antonio, The Brazilian Blur ended up with the Suns anyway, and it was a great fit.  However, the Suns would to be careful and only extend him for two years before he hits his decline.  (His would be marked by declining rebounding, assists, and scoring efficiency.)  Besides, isn’t Leandro Barbosa just a fun name to say?
  18. New Orleans SF James Jones Miami (FL) Sr.  George Lynch and P.J. Brown were good forwards, but they were declining quickly.  Why not replace one of them in this draft?  Jones is a somewhat efficient scorer who almost never turns the ball over.  Part of this may be due to his role as a shooter, but he has averaged less than one turnover per 48 minutes four times!  He also has value under his second contract.
  19. Utah PF Boris Diaw Pau-Orthez (FRA) 1982  With Stockton’s retirement and Malone leaving as a free agent, the Jazz have come to the end of an era.  While Andrei Kirilenko and Matt Harpring are solid forwards and Greg Ostertag is a solid center (Kirilenko being more than solid), the roster is a bit thin.  Enter Diaw.  Although not amazing, he is a solid role player who could the job done at either forward or (if he really had to) the center position.  In a re-draft like this, what more could one expect from pick 19?
  20. Boston (traded to Memphis) SF Luke Walton Arizona Sr.  At one point, Walton was my favorite player.  His career started out well before being derailed by injuries.  While some of this skill level may have been caused by his perfect match for the triangle offense, the system does not make the player.  He could have backed up Battier well for four or five years before fading into obscurity.
  21. Atlanta SF Carlos Delfino Skipper Bologna (ITA) 1982  This Hawks team had Jason Terry and Nazr Mohammed, but their other good players were starting to age.  Delfino spent an extra year in Italy, after which he could have replaced Shareef Abdur-Rahim.  He has been a solid player throughout his career and a good choice at No. 21.
  22. New Jersey SG Mickael Pietrus Pau-Orthez (FRA) 1982  The Nets were a good team who could afford to pick just the best player available, regardless of position.  Although there were certainly other players who could have been selected here, I decided on Pietrus.  Pietrus may be a shooter who doesn’t shoot that great, but he is a solid player who I wouldn’t mind having on my team-most years.
  23. Portland SG Keith Bogans Kentucky Sr.  Because of its aging roster, Portland is another team that should have drafted the best player available.  He may have had his ups and downs and been a bit of a late bloomer, but Keith Bogans became a good player.  Of course, the team that drafted him should have made sure that he stayed off the court in Year 2, but other than that he was a solid player.  He was definitely worth resigning.
  24. Lakers PF Brian Cook Illinois Sr.  Another one of the rare re-draft/real life matches.  The 02-03 Lakers squad was Shaq, Kobe, Horry, and little else, and Horry left for San Antonio after the season.  Cook is the only player remaining with an above-average rookie season.  His Year 3 was also good, but the rest of his career was not.  Therefore, he could be easily jettisoned at the end of his rookie deal.
  25. Detroit PG T.J. Ford Texas So.  Although injury-prone and a late-ish bloomer, Ford is a solid pick.  Hopefully, Detroit would able to resign him to a two-year deal to maximize the value of this pick.
  26. Minnesota PG Steve Blake Maryland Sr.  At this point, no matter how a team is organized, you need to pick the best player available.  Blake could have benefitted from a couple of years overseas, but he was a solid starter for several years.  Besides, good is better than bad, which is better than terrible.
  27. Memphis (traded to Boston) SG Quinton Ross SMU Sr.  Ross was a decent role player for several years, and there are few remaining who could eclipse his Year 4 Composite Score of .099 (only Chris Kaman’s Year 3, Kaman’s Year 5, and Ronald Dupree’s Year 2).  He was a solid rebounder and defensive player, and that’s much of what can be expected any more.
  28. San Antonio (traded to Phoenix) PG Mo Williams Alabama So.  I’m guessing that many of you are surprised that Williams fell so far.  Well, Williams only had an average number of Points Per Shot for three seasons, which are also his only seasons in which he recorded a Composite Score above .060.  He is also slightly more turnover-prone than average without being an exceptional assister, a bad combination.  I’m not saying that I wouldn’t touch Williams with a ten-foot pole (although you could say that for Years 1 and 8), I’m simply saying that there are alternatives.  Like Quinton Ross.
  29. Dallas C Chris Kaman Central Michigan Jr.  I’d bet you’re even more surprised that Kaman fell all the way down here.  However, he is turnover-prone and an inefficient scorer.  In his first two seasons, he was a below-average rebounder as well.  Kaman has a pair of good seasons surrounded by mediocre, terrible, and sub-zero campaigns.  Ouch.

As always, here I will type all of the first-rounders who did not make my re-draft.  They were:

  1. PF Darko Milicic KK Hemofarm (SRB) 1985 (2-Detroit)
  2. SF Jarvis Hayes Georgia Jr. (10-Washington)
  3. PG Marcus Banks UNLV Sr. (13-Memphis-Boston)
  4. SF Reece Gaines Louisville Sr. (15-Orlando)
  5. PG Troy Bell Boston College Sr. (16-Boston-Memphis)
  6. SF Zarko Cabarkapa Budcnost Podgorica (SRB) 1981 (17-Phoenix)
  7. SF Sasha Pavlovic Budcnost Podgorica (SRB) 1983 (19-Utah)
  8. SG Dahntay Jones Duke Sr. (20-Boston-Memphis)
  9. SG Zoran Planinic Cibona Zagreb (CRO) 1982 (22-New Jersey)
  10. SF Travis Outlaw Starkville HS (MS) (23-Portland)
  11. SF Ndubi Ebi Westbury Christian HS (TX) (26-Minnesota)

Apparently, the only solid player that came out of that Boston-Memphis trade was Kendrick Perkins!  Remember, this is not meant to end discussions; it’s meant to start them.  Please comment with your opinions or any qualifying undrafted free agents that I have missed.  Thanks for reading.

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