Written by Ben Pogany
For our second installment of the greatest NBA Draft classes of all-time, its 2003, a class that will continue to own the game for years to come. Here are the top 10 value picks:
1) LeBron James—St. Vincent-St. Mary High School to the Cavaliers (1)—Fifteen years from now, there will be three names that stand above all others: Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, and LeBron James. King James has already amassed 5 all-star appearances, a league MVP, a scoring title, and 3 All-NBA first-team spots. Now for that elusive ring.
2) Dwyane Wade—Marquette to the Heat (5)—The five-time all-star and reigning scoring champ led Miami to the promised land in ’06, and seems to get better with every passing year. His quickness and signature one-two step makes him almost impossible to guard effectively.
3) Carmelo Anthony—Syracuse to the Nuggets (3)—The third youngest player to ever reach 2,000 points (after Kobe and LeBron), Melo has led his Nuggets to the playoffs every year since joining the NBA.
4) Chris Bosh—Georgia Tech to the Raptors (4)—
5) Josh Howard—Wake Forest to the Mavericks (29)—A star in decline, J-Ho averaged nearly 19 points a game from 06-09, proving a vital force during Dallas' 2006 finals run.
6) Mo Williams—Alabama to the Jazz (now on the Cavaliers) (47)—Mo got his first substantial playing opportunity filling in for the injured TJ Ford (fellow 2003 draftee) in Milwaukee. In 2008, he was traded to the Cavs in a six-player deal involving among others Luke Ridnour (also 2003), where he would serve as right-hand man to LeBron (again, 2003). In 2009, he was selected to replace Chris Bosh (you see where I’m going with this) on the All-Star team, one day before he scored a career-high 44 points against the Suns. 7) David West—Xavier to the Hornets (18)—The two-time all-star has posted over 18 points and 7 rebounds a game in each of the last five seasons. He is also reportedly a damn good tuba player.
8) TJ Ford—Texas to the Bucks (8)—Though hampered by injuries for much of his career, the Pacer point guard can score points in bunches and is ever mentioned in a Paul Wall song for being “deadly on them threes.”
9) Chris Kaman—Central Michigan to the Clippers (6)—Without a doubt one of the ugliest members of the NBA, Kaman has established himself as a dominant center, posting 16 points and 13 boards a game in his breakout 07-08 campaign.
10) Kendrick Perkins—From Ozen High School to the Grizzlies (traded to Celtics) (27)—The one-time NBA champ's departure from Boston may go down as one of the worst trades in Celtics history. So much for ubuntu.