NBA draft 2003: Best draft class of the new millennium
Held at the Madison Square Garden, the NBA Draft of 2003 is known for having one of the most talented draft pools in the history of the league.
Four of the top 5 picks of the Draft are multiple All-Stars and “Redeem team” Olympic gold medalists: Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James. A total of 8 players from this Draft class have been an All-Star. Also 4 of first 5 picks have lifted the Larry O’Brien trophy with Carmelo Anthony never making it to the finals while 2nd pick overall Darko Milicic was a member of the victorious 2004 Detroit Pistons squad.
If asked to select the top 5, there would be no doubt or debate about the first 4 spots (also none for the top spot). Lot of players however comes into contention for 5th spot. Before we start the list there is one player who should be mentioned for his talent and skill though he doesn’t make it to the top 5.
Known for his three point shooting skills, he was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers as the 51st overall. In just his second season he was tied with teammate Quentin Richardson for most three s in the league: 226. He competed in the 2003 and 2004 Foot Locker three point shooting contests at the All-Star weekend. He holds the NBA record for highest three point shooting percentage in a season of 53.6 % in the year 2009-2010 where he would come off the bench for the Chicago Bulls. During the 2006-2007 season with the Utah Jazz he was the league leader in free throw shooting percentage of 91.4%.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s get to our top 5:-
5. David West:
The power forward was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets as the 18th overall pick. His first two years with franchise involved modest production. Next season was his breakout year where he averaged 17.4 ppg and 7.4 rpg while shooting 51.2 % from the field. In this season he also showed versatility by playing Center due to lack of center in the team’s roster.
A 2-time All-Star along with point guard teammate Chris Paul in the years of 2008 and 2009, West is often under-rated for his contribution to the team. After exercising his player option in the last year of the contract to join the Indiana Pacers, his career numbers dipped in the scoring category as he moved to a more balanced scoring team unlike his earlier where he was no.2 scorer after Chris Paul.
A fine mid-range game to go with threatening inside presence, West is an above average ball handler for a power forward standing tall at 6 foot 9 inches. In this era of flamboyant plays, his game is majorly dependent on fundamentals. A NBA title still eludes him and West would fancy his chances with the Indiana Pacers this season thanks to their busy yet successful offseason.