2. Detroit Pistons
Old pick: Darko Milicic
New pick: Carmelo Anthony
Pistons general manager Joe Dumars went through the gamut of emotions with this pick. First, the joy of climbing in the lottery all the way to the No. 2 spot—then, the agony watching Milicic be a stellar player in practice but at best a mediocre one when the games actually counted.
Dumars made this pick for two reasons. First, back in 2003, believe it or not, a sizable number of scouts were saying Milicic was the next once-in-a-generation center.
Second, Tayshaun Prince had a coming-out party of sorts in the 2003 playoffs, almost singlehandedly rallying the Pistons from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Orlando Magic. Had Prince stayed on the bench, as he had all season, the Pistons would still have believed they needed a small forward. But because of Prince's showing, Dumars believed he was set at the three.
Milicic, as the Pistons found to their dismay, had a soft style and shied away from contact. Perhaps his most physical play was the night in Memphis when he ripped his jersey open, Incredible Hulk-style. (Or Hulk Hogan-style, whichever you relate to more.)
Anthony has been a superstar since entering the league. A six-time All-Star, 'Melo has been in the top 10 in points and points per game in eight of his 10 seasons—including this year, when he led the league with 28.7 points per contest.
That's not the only reason this is arguably his best year ever. Although his Knicks fell short of expectations, 'Melo has shed his "selfish" reputation and become a true leader.