The 1996 NBA Draft vs. the 2003 NBA Draft

People's ChampionCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2009

1996 NBA Draft (First Round)                          2003 NBA Draft (First Round)

1. Allen Iverson                                                1. LeBron James

2. Marcus Camby                                              2. Darko Milicic

3. Shareef Abdur-Rahim                                     3. Carmelo Anthony

4. Stephon Marbury                                           4. Chris Bosh

5. Ray Allen                                                     5. Dwyane Wade

6. Antoine Walker                                              6. Chris Kaman

7. Lorenzen Wright                                             7. Kirk Hinrich

8. Kerry Kittles                                                   8. T.J. Ford

9. Samaki Walker                                                9. Michael Sweetney

10. Erick Dampier                                                10. Jarvis Hayes

11. Todd Fuller                                                   11. Mickael Pietrus

12. Viaty Potapenko                                             12. Nick Collison

13. Kobe Bryant                                                  13. Marcus Banks

14. Predrag Stojakovic                                         14. Luke Ridnour

15. Steve Nash                                                   15. Reece Gaines

16. Tony Delk                                                     16. Troy Bell

17. Jermaine O'Neal                                              17. Zarko Cabarkapa

18. John Wallace                                                  18. David West

19. Walter McCarty                                              19. Alexsandar Pavlovic

20. Zydrunas Ilgauskas                                          20. Dahntay Jones

21. Dontae' Jones                                                 21. Boris Diaw

22. Roy Rogers                                                     22. Zoran Planinic

23. Efthimis Rentzais                                             23. Travis Outlaw

24. Derek Fisher                                                   24. Brian Cook

25. Martin Muursepp                                              25. Carlos Delfino

26. Jerome Williams                                               26. Ndubi Ebi

27. Brian Evans                                                    27. Kendrick Perkins

28. Priest Lauderdale                                             28. Leandrinho Barbosa

29. Travis Knight                                                   29. Josh Howard


Look over the two drafts. In the 1996 Draft, you see a few first-ballot Hall of Famers and bunch of players who were among the elite in the NBA of the past decade. Camby, R. Allen, Stojakovic, Kobe, J. O'Neal; the list goes on.

In the 2003 Draft, you see a few players would could potentially become all-time greats, and bunch of players who are rising stars in the NBA. LeBron, Anthony, Kaman, Hinrich, and Howard are just a few of these guys.

Now, it's hard to judge which draft is better. The 2003 NBA Draft has more depth of good players than the 1996 NBA Draft, but the 1996 NBA Draft has greater players. Both drafts had a significiant impact to the NBA.

Although there are some good big men in the 1996 NBA Draft, that edition led to a more guard-driven league with players like A.I., Marbury, Allen, Bryant, Nash, and the rest.

Think about it. When you think of the best players of the past decade, you mostly think of swingmen like T-Mac, Vinsanity, Pierce, etc. Also, you think of great point guards like J-Kidd, B-Diddy, and Francis.


On the other hand, the 2003 NBA Draft began a new era for the league, one of players who are versatile at every position. Now teams play shorter shooting guards and power forwards without creating a disadvantage for the team on the defensive end.

In the past, Dwyane Wade would be scoring point guard at 6'4", but in today's Association he plays shooting guard with point abilities. And look at players like LeBron James and Boris Diaw: They're able to play up to four positions.


Each of the draft's top picks are arguably the best player in their draft.

In the 1996 NBA Draft, Allen Iverson was the No. 1 pick. He's the leading active scorer in the NBA today that has played at least 500 games (dude sports a career average of 27.1 PPG), has four scoring titles, won the 2001 NBA MVP, and led a team of role players to the Finals.

In the 2003 NBA Draft, LeBron James was first overall. He's the best active scorer in the NBA today by average (27.5 PPG), could possibly win the MVP this season, and also led a team of role players to the Finals.

For those who may believe Kobe Bryant is the best scorer in the NBA, I just want you know, I was based my statements solely on points per game.

I believe Allen Iverson is the best scorer in the NBA. His scoring average has down been the past few years, but that's because in Denver, he had another great scorer next to him in Carmelo Anthony. The offense really ran through his teammate.

And yet, the Answer still was third in the NBA in scoring last season. This season, in Detroit, he's on a team loaded with players who need the ball, so he once again is sacrificing his own numbers in order for his team to succeed.

Remember that the last time he was on a team without another player who dominates the ball, he averaged 33 per night.

Here's my opinion of the top five players of each draft:

1996 NBA Draft                                                  2003 NBA Draft  

1. Allen Iverson                                                   1. LeBron James

2. Kobe Bryant                                                    2. Dwyane Wade

3. Steve Nash                                                     3. Carmelo Anthony

4. Ray Allen                                                        4. Chris Bosh

5. Stephon Marbury                                              5. David West


As you can see, it's hard to choose which draft is better. It would be the easy way out to choose the 1996 NBA Draft, because we've seen these guys for longer and know that they're going to make the Hall.

On the other hand, it would also be easy to choose the 2003 NBA Draft, as it has more depth of good players and there are players that are among the elite right now (whereas some players of the class of '96 are past their prime).

I'm not picking which draft is better; to me, it's a tie. You can even agrue the 1984 NBA Draft is better than these drafts. If you disagree based on how you evaluate drafts and what they meant to the NBA, post your thoughts.


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