What If The Pistons Had Drafted Carmelo Anthony Over Darko Milicic?

Photo Credit: Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

What If The Pistons Had Drafted Carmelo Anthony Over Darko Milicic?


One of the biggest “what ifs” in basketball history. What if, instead of Darko Milicic, Carmelo Anthony went 2nd  in the 2003 NBA Draft? While the rest of the top 5 of the 2003 class—LeBron James, Darko Milicic, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all won a championship in their respective careers, Carmelo, third pick, is still ringless at age 35.

In an Instagram live with Wade, Melo said that he would’ve won two or three championships if he had been drafted by the Detroit Pistons.




The Detroit Pistons were a tough defensive team that play unselfishly with players who excelled in their certain roles. Carmelo would have elevated the Pistons’ offense, giving them a legitimate scoring threat that is able to shoot from anywhere on the floor, whereas a backline of defense with Rasheed and Ben Wallace would’ve made up Carmelo’s defensive deficiencies. 

In addition, a prime Chauncey Billups would’ve had been Carmelo’s point guard. Billups played with Carmelo for two seasons from 2008-09 to 2009-10, the two worked well and reached a Western Conference Finals together. 

Just like Anthony, many fans also think Melo on the Pistons would have given them the possibility of dominating and winning more titles. Former Pistons center Ben Wallace though, has a different thought on that idea. 




Darko really didn’t do much with the Pistons, he didn’t play much and brought little to no impact at all. Meanwhile, Carmelo was doing the heavy lifting throughout his entire career; he was the leader of his teams and the spotlight was always on him. 

In that way, Wallace believed that this difference between Darko and Melo allowed them to do their thing, maintaining their chemistry and allowed them to grow as a team and eventually winning a championship.

It’s an interesting thought from a player who actually played for the Pistons and was a key part of their 2004 championship team. Darko over Melo on a team might have been a crazy statement but Ben knows first-hand what it takes to win a championship. 

Today, the Serbian center is enjoying retirement, after having played for 6 teams in 12 seasons. Carmelo Anthony, however, continues to be a serviceable NBA player and is currently with the Portland Trailblazers who were fighting for a playoff spot before the hiatus.


You may also like...