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.