Michael Sweetney Instead of David West: Knicks' '03 Draft Blunder

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IMay 26, 2009

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 29: Stephon Marbury #3 is congradulated by Michael Sweetney #50 of the New York Knicks after Marbury hit a clutch shot late in the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 29, 2004 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Let me take you back to the NBA Draft in 2003 and what could have been for the New York Knicks.

The 2003 NBA Draft was very top-heavy, with the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade chosen in the top five. The New York Knicks missed out on all these players and selected a player worse than Darko Milicic.

The Knicks held the ninth overall pick.  They decided to use that pick on forward Michael Sweetney.

New Orleans selected forward David West at No. 18, nine picks after Sweetney.

Looking back, the Knicks made a huge error in drafting Sweetney, while West has blossomed into an All-Star for New Orleans.  It's another downfall in the recent rocky past for the Knicks.

Let's take a look at the numbers of both players coming out of college.

At the time, Sweetney didn't seem like such a bad pick. He excelled in his junior year at Georgetown averaging 22.8 points and 10.4 rebounds, and the 6'8'', 260-pounder was the only player in the nation to rank in the top-20 in scoring and rebounding that year.

He averaged 3.2 blocks which was ninth in the nation, and was named First Team All-Big East in two straight seasons.

However, his tenure with the Knicks lasted just one season as he appeared in 77 games. The Washington, DC native ran the court poorly and did not develop a mid-range jumper. His lack of athleticism and bad conditioning did not translate well in the NBA.

Because of this, Sweetney was one of the pieces traded to the Chicago Bulls for C Eddy Curry after his disappointing season.

In his senior season at Xavier, David West averaged 20 points and 11.8 rebounds as a first-team All-American. He scored a career-high 47 points against Dayton. The New Jersey native could score with his back to the basket and possessed a good mid-range jumper.

West has emerged into one of the top power forwards in the Western Conference. The 6'9'', 240-pound forward has averaged 20.8 points and 8.7 rebounds the past two seasons while being named to the All-Star team both years.

The Knicks chose bulk over finesse, which was just another mistake the team has made in the first round.

The heartbreak for Knicks fans continues after that draft blunder in 2003.