Richard Hamilton: Carmelo Anthony Would've Won 3 Titles If Pistons Drafted Him

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 28, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony encourages the crowd as they cheer 'MVP, MVP' to guard Damian Lillard, not pictured, during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. The Blazers won 124-107. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Steve Dykes/Associated Press

Richard Hamilton believes the Detroit Pistons would have won more than one championship if the team had selected Carmelo Anthony instead of Darko Milicic in the 2003 NBA draft.

Appearing on the All the Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Hamilton called Anthony a "once in a generation-type talent" and said adding him to the roster the Pistons already had in place would have helped them win three championships. 

Coming off a 50-win season and an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2002-03 season, the Pistons received the No. 2 overall pick in the draft thanks to a 1997 trade with the Vancouver Grizzlies for Otis Thorpe.

LeBron James was the unanimous choice as the best player in the 2003 draft with Milicic widely thought of as the No. 2 player. Anthony entered the draft after a freshman season at Syracuse in which he led the Orange to a national championship and was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player.

Milicic was an unknown commodity to American fans, but the Serbian star was highly regarded in the scouting community leading up to the draft.

Writing for ESPN, Chad Ford called Milicic a "one of a kind" talent who "runs the floor, handles the ball, shoots the NBA three-pointer, plays with his back to the basket, so you can slot him in at the 3, 4 or 5."

Tony Ronzone, the Pistons' director of international scouting in 2003, called Milicic "a freak athlete at 17" in Brian Windhorst's oral history of the 2003 draft for ESPN in 2013.

The Pistons took Milicic at No. 2 overall. He had occasional flourishes during his 10-year NBA career but never became more than a role player and averaged just six points per game in 468 games with six different teams.

Detroit did win a championship during Milicic's rookie season and reached the Finals again the following year, but that turned into the peak of that era with the nucleus of Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups.

Anthony will likely be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame when his career comes to an end. He is one of the premier scorers of his generation with an average of 23.6 points per game in 17 NBA seasons.