Carmelo Anthony Reveals The Truth Behind The Detroit Pistons Skipping Him In The 2003 Draft: “They Promised Me”

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Carmelo Anthony Reveals The Truth Behind The Detroit Pistons Skipping Him In The 2003 Draft: “They Promised Me”


Draft night 2003, a night Pistons fans will never forget. It was perhaps the most talented Draft Class we’ve ever seen and the hard working city of Detroit was finally going to get what they deserve, a talent that could carry their Franchise forward. With having the 2nd pick of the Draft along with the abundance of talent available, it was a situation where you couldn’t lose, any Draft choice was a success, right? Wrong!

The Pistons went on to make the biggest mistake in Franchise history, selecting Darko Milicic with the 2nd pick in the 2003 Draft, leaving not only future Superstars in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the table, but more alarmingly, Carmelo Anthony.

Now in hindsight, seeing the careers that Wade and Bosh have gone on to have, it’s easy to say that they were obvious Draft choices, but at the time it was still very unclear on what they’d be able to achieve on an NBA scale. Carmelo on the other hand, needed no introduction or doubt.

Everyone knew what Carmelo could do and he was an obvious second choice after sensation LeBron James was certain to go number 1. That became even clearer when Cleveland were handed the number 1 pick in the Draft Lottery, edging out Denver with both having an equal 25% chance of landing James and it was a lock James would remain in his home city.

The obvious choice was to choose Carmelo next. He was NBA ready, he was a scorer, he was athletic, and mostly, he was known around the basketball community as a special talent that could instantly change a Franchise. For some reason, Detroit head office were fixated on Darko Milicic. He was an unproven European player that had never bounced a basketball competitively in the United States. They wanted size, and you can’t teach 7 foot tall, but they went on to complete a historic mistake, passing on Anthony.

The magnitude of this decision is made evident when thinking about what transpired and occurred for the Pistons in years to come. In 2004, the Pistons were crowned NBA Champions. Their hard-nosed brand of basketball and defense was a key to their success but it wasn’t a sustainable one to win Championships in years to come in a evolving NBA.

They needed offense, and a whole load of it to continue to fight for Championships with an aging roster. This would have been a perfect scenario for Carmelo. A talented and fundamental team with great leaders who could show him how to play the game the right way as well as have his freedom on the offensive end. It was a perfect situation that unfortunately never materialized in Detroit.

Now, many years later, Carmelo Anthony reflected on this infamous draft night when he was guest on ‘All The Smoke’. Melo revealed that even after all these years, he still thinks about this what if today  – more so, because the Detroit Pistons actually promised him that they’d select him all the way up to draft day.


“Changed the course of my career…

To this day, I still think about that. They promised me… ‘yo, we’re taking you.’ I’m talking about all the way up to draft day. So in my mind I’m like ‘I’m going to Detroit’.”


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