Can the 2014 NBA draft be better than the 2003 NBA draft?

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As the 2014 NBA draft approaches, teams are lining up to move up in the draft and/or add additional first-round picks, as this year’s crop of players looks to possibly be the strongest ever. This year’s NBA draft has drawn many comparisons to the last NBA “superdraft,” which took place in the summer of 2003.

Even the most casual NBA fan is familiar with the 2003 NBA draft class – LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th overall picks, and between them they have a combined:

36 All-Star Game appearances
7 NBA Championships
4 Most Valuable Player Awards
3 Finals MVP Awards
3 All-Star Game MVP Awards
10 All-NBA 1st Team Awards
8 All-NBA 2nd Team Awards
7 All-NBA 3rd Team Awards
5 All-Defense 1st Team Awards
4 All-Defense 2nd Team Awards
4 All-Rookie 1st Team Awards
88 Player of the Week Awards
39 Player of the Month Awards

Even outside of the “big four” of the 2003 NBA draft, there were four other players who have made NBA All-Star teams.

11 seasons later, 13 of the 29 first-round picks and seven of the 29 second-round picks were still active NBA players.

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The 2003 NBA draft has turned out to be one of the greatest in NBA history. Can the 2014 NBA draft class be as fruitful? This year’s class does have similarities to the 2003 NBA draft:

  • The first four picks of the 2003 NBA draft featured two college freshmen, one high school player, and one foreign player (Darko Milicic). According to the latest mock draft on NBAdraft.net, the top 10 picks in this year’s draft will include seven freshmen, two sophomores, and one foreign player.
  • The 2003 NBA draft was one of the first to feature a large number of foreign players, as seven such players were taken in the first round. The latest 2014 mock draft says that five foreign players will be taken in the first round.
  • Cleveland picked first in the 2003 NBA draft, and the grand prize was LeBron James, who was being touted as the next Michael Jordan. Cleveland will also be picking first in this year’s draft, and the consensus top two picks – Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker – are each being touted as the best players to enter the draft since LeBron.

It is impossible to know with 100% certainty how any draft class will fare at the next level, but the 2014 NBA draft certainly appears to be the most promising since the famous 2003 draft.

Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. He attended Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (columnist) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters, SportsCenter anchor) . In addition to running Bullsville.net and writing for The Sports Bank and ChicagoNow (Bullsville), he is also a KHSAA baseball umpire. He’s a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. Follow Don on Twitter @Bullsville. 

 

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