Carmelo Anthony discussed a hypothetical situation in an Instagram Live with fellow 2003 draftee Dwyane Wade. He believed he doesn’t know where his career would have gone. However, he knows he would have some victories under his belt had the Detroit Pistons drafted him instead of Darko Milicic.
Milicic got selected as the second overall pick but deteriorated in the league.
Talking to Wade, Carmelo said,
“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.”
In response to this statement, former NBA player Ben Wallace had some views. The 45-year-old Wallace was with the Pistons from 2000-2006. He is also a member of the Pistons championship squad.
Hence, he had some knowledge about the team’s requirements.
When Wallace came onto the 120 Watts Podcast recently, he laid out the facts from his view, as to why it was good that the Pistons did not draft Melo. The veteran believed that Carmelo would have wanted to play right away.
“If we would’ve drafted Carmelo, I honestly don’t think we would ever win a championship.” Wallace said, “Melo would want to play right away. That would have the potential to disrupt the team chemistry.”
Moreover, Wallace highlighted the fact that the team’s coach at the time, Larry Brown, would not have let Melo play the amount of time he wanted to.
“It wouldn’t work because Larry Brown wants to coach. Larry Brown wasn’t the one to play rookies right away, so that would cause some tensions between him and Larry Brown.”
Talking about why the Pistons drafted Darko instead, he explained,
“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.”
Rasheed Wallace, Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace, and Chauncey Billups were some of the key players for the Pistons team at that time. Another such player was Tayshaun Prince.
Prince was a solid two-way player. Hence, Wallace thinks Carmelo’s presence would have hindered Prince’s growth as a player. It was Prince who delivered probably the most significant blocks in playoff history on Reggie Miller in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
That 2004 Pistons team went down in history as one of the only teams in NBA history to win a championship without a “superstar” player, but a number of good players.
Wallace, who also blocked quite a few shots in his career, believes that was the greatest block he ever saw.
“If we drafted Carmelo, Tayshaun wouldn’t blossom to be the type of a player that he way. 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.”