Every time they play against Carmelo Anthony, the Detroit Pistons can only wonder what might have been.
Anthony was on fire Sunday for the New York Knicks in only 32 minutes of NBA action, scoring 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the floor including 4-of-5 in 3-pointers. His Knicks, 9-3, had a fun time with the Pistons in a 121-100 victory.
While the Pistons are struggling at 3-11, it has to hit their fans and team president Joe Dumars again what might have been in 2003 if they had drafted Anthony when they had the chance.
The Pistons, who would win the world title in 2004, had the No. 2 pick overall in the draft from a trade despite the fact they had a contending team. The Cleveland Cavaliers were going to draft LeBron James and Anthony seemed to be the obvious next best pick.
But the Pistons were loaded with guards at that time and drafting Anthony seemed to only add to the glut of playmakers on the team. Chris Bos and Dwyane Wade were also available.
But the Pistons passed on all three. Instead, they went after the Serbian prospect who was drawing rave reviews as a prospect and seemed to carry the talents the Pistons needed particularly with an inside game.
But Milicic, recently waived by the Boston Celtics so he could deal with an illness in the family, turned out to be a bust while Anthony went on to star at the Denver Nuggets. Ironically, he would later be joined by Chauncey Billups, whose presence on the Pistons roster in 2004 contributed to the attitude that another guard wasn’t needed at that time.
Dumars has made some bad deals for the Pistons but drafting Milicic rather than Anthony might rank at the top of one of his worst. It could also be among the worst in all of NBA history.
And Anthony, like he did on Sunday, isn’t letting the Pistons forget about it.