One of the NBA's greatest what-if's is what would have happened if in the 2003 NBA Draft, the soon-to-be NBA Champion Detroit Pistons, took Carmelo Anthony to add to their already stacked team.
Melo discussed the hypothetical in an Instagram Live with fellow 2003 draftee Dwyane Wade, saying he doesn't know where his career goes but he knows he'd have some jewelry.
Melo says if the Pistons would’ve drafted him he would’ve had 2 or 3 rings pic.twitter.com/d0umkVlGaZ— NBA RETWEET (@RTNBA) March 28, 2020
I don't know what In would have been if I would have went to Detroit. I know I would have had two, maybe two or three rings... But I don't know how everything else would have played out after throughout my career.
The Detroit Pistons held the second overall selection in the 2003 NBA Draft and decided to take Darko Milicic rather than Carmelo Anthony. The NCAA National Champion was selected third overall to Denver where he made the playoffs every season and led the Nuggets to a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2009.
Despite taking the largest bust of the historically stacked 2003 Draft, the Pistons still won the NBA Championship that season shocking the Los Angeles Lakers, who were looking for their fourth championship in five seasons, in just five games.
However, one pillar of that championship team, Ben Wallace, thinks not only would Melo not have won two or three rings in Detroit, but that the Pistons would have never won a ring with Melo on the roster.
In an appearance on the 120 Watts Podcast, the four-time Defensive Player of the Year said that the Pistons making the wrong pick in Milicic was the best move for them looking back, rather than taking Anthony.
If we would've drafted Carmelo, I honestly don't think we would have ever won a championship... Melo would want to play right away. That would have the potential to disrupt the team chemistry. By drafting Darko, he came in and said that he is not ready to play on this team. Who I am going to play in front of. I’m not ready, and by him doing that and accepting his role, it allowed us to build and grow and get stronger and eventually win a championship. - Ben Wallace
That 2004 Pistons team has gone down in history as one of the only teams in NBA history to win a championship without a "superstar" player, but rather a collection of very good players such as Chauncey Billups, Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Richard Hamilton, and Tayshaun Prince.
“If we drafted Carmelo, Tayshaun wouldn’t blossom to be the type of a player that he was,” he added. “We won that championship on the back of the best block I’ve ever seen in my life, and I blocked a lot of shots. That is the type of grit and grind that the team had.”
Mr. Big Shot disagrees with his former teammate and thinks the Pistons could have been a dynasty had they selected Melo.
.@1MrBigShot on Melo's comments "If [Detroit] got Melo, we would've won three championships"— Bart & Hahn (@BartAndHahn) March 31, 2020
"If [Detroit] got Melo, we would've won three championships" - Chauncey Billups
From 2003-2008, the Pistons played in six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals and advanced to the Finals in back-to-back seasons in 2004 and 2005. Had they drafted Melo and had a real superstar, maybe he could have gotten them over the hump and won more than one ring.