Carmelo Anthony Says Pistons 'Promised' to Take Him With No. 2 Pick in 2003 NBA Draft

Adam WellsAugust 17, 2021

Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony (00) reacts to a missed call against the Denver Nuggets in the first half of Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, June 1, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Before Darko Milicic became one of the most famous draft busts in NBA history, the Detroit Pistons were apparently preparing to select Carmelo Anthony with the No. 2 pick in 2003. 

Appearing on All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson (starts at 20-second mark), Anthony said the Pistons "promised" to take him "all the way up 'til draft day."

Anthony went on to say that he thinks the Pistons would have won another championship had they drafted him. 

The 2003 draft will go down as one of the greatest in NBA history, as four of the top five picks are bound to become Hall of Famers. Anthony and LeBron James (No. 1 overall) are still playing.

Chris Bosh (No. 4 overall pick) has already been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Dwyane Wade (No. 5 overall pick) will likely be voted in during his first year of eligibility in 2023. 

Milicic is the only player among the top five picks from that class who didn't pan out in the NBA. The Serbian big man did carve out a 10-year career with six different teams, but he never averaged more than 8.0 points or 6.1 rebounds per game in a single season. 

The Pistons won an NBA title in Milicic's rookie season, though he barely played at all that year. He averaged 4.7 minutes per game during the 2003-04 regular season and played garbage-time minutes in playoff blowouts. 

Anthony has yet to play in the NBA Finals in his storied career. The 10-time All-Star has only reached the conference finals once, during the 2008-09 season with the Denver Nuggets.

Detroit had an incredible run of success from 2002-08, with six straight appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pistons played in back-to-back NBA Finals in 2004 and 2005, including beating the Los Angeles Lakers to win the title in 2004. 

Anthony is teaming up with James in Los Angeles this season with the hope of getting the Lakers back to the NBA Finals.