Since being selected as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Carmelo Anthony managed to make a name in the league and has established himself as one of the best scorers in NBA history. Unfortunately, in the 17 years he spent playing for five NBA teams — Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, and the Portland Trail Blazers — Anthony never won a championship title or even played in the finals.
However, according to former NBA champion Rip Hamilton, things would have been different for Anthony if he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the 2003 draft. In a recent appearance on the All the Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Hamilton said that Anthony “would’ve been a champion” if the Pistons used their No. 2 overall pick on him instead of Darko Milicic.
“We all had to fall in line because of what Ben was beginning to build in Detroit,” Hamilton said, as transcribed by Detroit Free Press. “You bring Carmelo to us, I think the narrative would’ve been totally different on his career. The thing we’d be talking about is, ‘Carmelo Anthony now has three championships already.’ Now Melo’s thinking about, you know, can he do this by himself? That would’ve been the narrative on Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo Anthony would’ve been a champion.”
Though the Denver Nuggets were the team that molded him into an All-Star caliber player, most people would agree that Anthony’s NBA career would have been better if he was drafted by the Pistons. Aside from having a legitimate chance of winning multiple championship titles, Anthony could have turned into one of the best two-way players in the league. Hamilton revealed that before he was traded to the Pistons in 2002, he still wasn’t a defensive-minded guard. However, his approach on the defensive end of the floor changed when he started playing with Ben Wallace in Detroit.
Like in Denver, Hamilton believes that Anthony could have also been the face of the franchise in Detroit. Hamilton said that he, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace, and Ben Wallace wouldn’t mind letting Anthony carry the team if he already had enough experience and shown his capability to lead. If they had Anthony instead of Milicic, Hamilton claimed that even LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers would have a hard time beating the Pistons in the Eastern Conference.
As of now, Anthony continues his quest for his first NBA championship title and is currently playing with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum on the Trail Blazers. Unfortunately, though he is establishing an impressive performance in the 2019-20 season, the Trail Blazers don’t seem to be the team that will help him achieve his main goal. Before the NBA suspension due to the spread of the coronavirus worldwide, the Trail Blazers were out of the playoff race, sitting in the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference with a 29-37 record.