'03 NBA Draft Shows Need for Franchise Tag

'03 NBA Draft Shows Need for Franchise Tag

There is no question that the 2003 NBA draft ranks among the greatest in league history, perhaps even better than the 1984 version that gave us Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and John Stockton. That’s in terms of talent, at least. Frame the ’03 bunch in a different way -- what the players did over the long haul for the franchises that selected them -- and things look much, much different.

Start with the vaunted Top 5. No. 1 pick LeBron James bolted from Cleveland last summer, and now the Cavs are the league’s worst team, having set a new record for consecutive losses. Darko Milicic, of course, was a bust at No. 2 for Detroit, and No. 3 pick Carmelo Anthony helped revive the Nuggets before dragging the franchise down this year by refusing to sign a contract extension and nudging the team into extended and exhausting trade discussions. Toronto chose Chris Bosh with the No. 4 pick, and Bosh followed James to Miami this summer, and the Raptors are on pace for 60 losses.

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