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Around draft time, all basketball fans get really excited. It carries on….and on and on. For me, I’m still in draft mode. This year’s draft has potential to be one of the best classes of all time. I started to reflect on past drafts, and what class was the best most recently? It didn’t take me long to reach the draft of 2003, featuring…everybody! This class was stacked! If there was an all-star game between draft classes, these guys would be laughing at everyone else. If you have ever looked at the full list of draft picks, you would be just as surprised as I was to see that some of the best players in the league today were drafted way too late in this draft, as well as some of the bigger busts ( and I’m not just talking Darko ) come from this class. So, I have attempted to compile my list of the top 10 players from this draft, in order from best to worst. Trust me, it wasn’t that easy, even for the first pick! Here we go…

1) Dwyane Wade- picked 5th overall.

It’s true! I didn’t pick the LeBron first. Why not? Well, this guy has already proven himself. He has the championship trophy. He’s made that extra step above the rest. He is in a different world when he takes over games, and he does when he needs to.

2) LeBron James-picked 1st overall

Inevitably, LeBron is due. He has become the face of the NBA with his talent, but still has to make over that hurdle to win the championship. He got so close this year, and just showed all of us ( especially in the Pistons series) as to why we will continue to be addicted to watching this guy play on a nightly basis.

3) Carmelo Anthony- picked 3rd overall

Remember when it was Melo or Lebron (ring a bell?)? At that point, I was saying that I would pick Melo in a heartbeat. Even though I would definitely withdraw that comment if I could, this guy still has a lot of growing to do, yet he is already developed so much. Melo has the pieces around him to become a contender, but his leadership still needs to develop.

4) Chris Bosh- picked 4th overall

I bet all Canadians wish he could play for team Canada. He has become the face of Toronto ( the face of Canada still goes to Steve Nash). This past year was a big growing year for Bosh, but he showed that he still needs to keep his game going into the playoffs. He lacked that fire that he had in the regular season. Now that he has the guys around him, it’ll be interesting to see how far these Raps can go.

5)Josh Howard- picked 29th overall

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw JHoward was picked almost in the second round! What was everyone before him thinking? Clearly, all the GMs didn’t see this much potential in him, but wow! He made the all-star team! He stands on a team full of high profile players. This was by far the biggest steal of the draft, or was it???

6)Maurice Williams- picked 47th overall

Sorry JHoward, the biggest sleeper pick goes to Maurice Williams. This guys was drafted at the point where there was probably no one even left at the draft. He was 11 picks away from not even getting drafted. I consider him one of the most underrated players in the league. He has an all-around type of game, silimar to Jason Kidd’s, except Williams seems like a more accomplished scorer. The Bucks will be holding onto this guy for a while, as he is still young and can even get better!

7)Kirk Hinrich- picked 7th overall

This was a hard one for me to do. I put Hinrich here, and not one spot ahead because Hinrich is blessed with the players around him. Mo Williams has a harder time getting his assist, where Hinrich has Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, etc. Not that this is a bad thing, but we are judging on an individual level. Hinrich showed this season that he is ready to become one of the elite point guards in the league, and I’ll be watching pretty closely.

8)Leandro Barbosa- picked 28th overall

He was picked one spot ahead of Josh Howard. How did these guys get avoided? Its these types of picks that make your team elite. Barbosa’s 18, 2 and 4 are incredible numbers coming off the bench. Obviously a well deserved 6th Man of the Year award this past season. He crumbled a bit in the second round of the playoffs, but it gets overlooked on a team of all-stars. This guy could start on any other team. If you’ve ever watched him, you might notice that he is one of the fastest players in the league, as you get amazed how quickly he can jet out ahead of everyone and just blow by them.

9) T.J. Ford- picked 8th overall

This guy had amazing written all over him coming out of Texas. With a slow start with the Bucks, he is starting to show what everyone saw in him with the Raptors. Along with Bosh, if these guys can stay healthy, they might be able to do some damage in the weak East. The problem again is his injuries. Let’s hope he doesn’t become one of those players who’s career is plagued by them.

10)Boris Diaw- picked 21st overall

Another late pick. This one is a bit more justified. Coming from France, Diaw was a gamble that paid off, if the Hawks held onto him. He made the Joe Johnson trade somewhat worth it ( though who saw Joe Johnson becoming this incredible?). Diaw has found his comfort with the Suns, and is a fantastic role player on a team of players needing this ball. With Grant Hill coming in, his minutes might dimish, but probably not that much seeing as GH is a 50/50 bet to lose his season to injury.

Note: I just wanted to point out that Kyle Korver was selected 51st overall! He’s a pretty impressive player for this position in the draft. Almost undrafted!

Honourable Mentions:

Luke Ridnour- picked 14th overall

Jason Kapono- picked 31st overall

Luke Walton- picked 32nd overall

Mickael Pietrus- picked 11th overall

Nick Collison- picked 12th overall

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How did Barbosa and JHoward get overlooked?

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The “sweepstakes” for Grant Hill have been narrowed down to five, now that the Raptors chose the younger Jason Kapono with their midlevel exception. Since GH probably would take a pay cut to win a championship, it’s all about the best fit. Why not put on an old jersey and take a stab at maybe getting his jersey retired in Detroit? Maybe the latter is a long shot, but the Pistons would be a great fit. Since the Pistons traded Carlos Delfino, there is an opening for some minutes behind Tayshaun Prince. He’d bring a great energy off the bench, and Flip Saunder’s half court offense would be too demanding on his aging body. With Miami and Phoenix, Hill’s ankle is due for another breakdown trying to run alongside Nash or Wade all season long. The Spurs are a great option but, with Ginobili coming off the bench playing both two and three positions, there’s not a lot of potential for GH to get any minutes. And lets just face it, he’s not going back to Orlando. Why would he? Why else would he move back to Detroit? Maybe wife Tamia might want to move closer to home (across the river in Windsor, Ontario). I guess GH’s decision will come down to who’s wearing the pants in his house, him or the wife?

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Should we expect to see GH back in Motown? Would anyone even buy his jersey?