By Ollie Nash
Photo: Lakers Daily
Following on from the history-making 2003 draft from the year before, the 2004 crop was never going to reach those heights. But 16 years on there's been some superb careers out of this draft, a rollercoaster ride at times for most, but ultimately some very respectable careers at the highest level. This is the 2004 NBA re-draft.
PICK 1: ORLANDO MAGIC – DWIGHT HOWARD (ORIGINALLY PICK ONE – ORLANDO)
ORIGINAL PICK: DWIGHT HOWARD
In the era of guys coming straight out of high school and into the NBA, Dwight Howard was one of the few that lived up to the hype. With the added pressure of being a number one pick, he played at a very high level in his prime. Won three Defensive Player of the Year awards in a row, led Orlando to the Finals in 2009 as a 23-year-old and four straight 50-win seasons. He was as a big part of Houston’s early playoff runs with James Harden and has found a home as an energetic dunking machine with the Lakers this year coming off the bench. Career averages of 16.8 points, 12.3 rebounds and two blocks, one of the all-time greats.
PICK 2: CHARLOTTE BOBCATS – ANDRE IGUODALA (ORIGINALLY PICK NINE – PHILADELPHIA)
ORIGINAL PICK: EMEKA OKAFOR
A three time NBA Champion, Finals MVP in 2015 and a two-time All-Defensive player. It’s a pretty handy resume to date and one that could still be added to. Iguodala became the face of the franchise in Philadelphia in the post Allen Iverson era and led the 76ers to four playoff appearances. Was one of the final pieces the Warriors needed to upgrade their roster to a championship calibre level, and he and the team reaped the rewards; five Finals appearances in six years, three titles and a 73-9 season.
Photo: By FIBA available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.
PICK 3: CHICAGO BULLS – LUOL DENG (ORIGINALLY PICK SEVEN – PHOENIX, TRADED TO CHICAGO)
ORIGINAL PICK: BEN GORDON
His career unfortunately came to a grinding holt. However, in his prime Luol Deng was an important member of some of the best teams in the league. Averaged 38.7 minutes a game during four straight playoff appearances for the Bulls between 2010 and 2013 while putting up 16.7 points and six and a half rebounds. A two-time All-Star and an All-Defensive player in the 2011-12 season.
PICK 4: LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS – J.R. SMITH (ORIGINALLY PICK 18 – NEW ORLEANS)
ORIGINAL PICK: SHAUN LIVINGSTON
Smith may not of ever been the number one or even number two option on a team, but he was a vital member of multiple championship calibre teams, and shot the ball at a historic level. For his career he has averaged 12.5 points, three rebounds and two assists while shooting 37 percent from the three-point line from five attempts per game. Was a vital member of a Denver team that almost went to the Finals, the last good Knicks team that consistently made the playoffs, won a championship and went to four straight NBA Finals with the Cavaliers. They’re pretty good numbers for a starting shooting guard in this league.
Photo: By Erik Drost available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.
PICK 5: WASHINGTON WIZARDS – AL JEFFERSON (ORIGINALLY PICK 15 – BOSTON)
ORIGINAL PICK: DEVIN HARRIS
Al Jefferson was one of the last genuine post big guys who could give you 20 points and 10 rebounds on the block on any given night. Averaged 15.7 points and eight and a half rebounds per game across his career on 49.9 percent shooting. Lucky to be drafted when he was, because he doesn’t fit where the game has moved to now, but a great starting centre in the league for a decade.
PICK 6: ATLANTA HAWKS – JOSH SMITH (ORIGINALLY PICK 17 – ATLANTA)
ORIGINAL PICK: JOSH CHILDRESS
Similar to Jefferson, Smith was probably lucky to be drafted in the era he was, because his game doesn’t suit the modern style, but he was a valuable asset in the 2000’s and early 2010’s. Averaged 15.4 points and almost eight rebounds in his first nine seasons at Atlanta before he bounced around the league for the next five seasons. Super athletic and was great defensively, grabbing a steal and two blocks a game for his career.
PICK 7: PHOENIX SUNS – TREVOR ARIZA (ORIGINALLY PICK 43 – NEW YORK)
ORIGINAL PICK: LUOL DENG
We’re starting to hit the role player section of the draft and Trevor Ariza has been a staple of that for 16 seasons now. Has been able to stay relevant in the league for a long time as a ‘three and D’ guy which have become so valuable in the modern game. Won a championship with the Lakers in 2009 and has been a part of some great teams in Houston along the way too.
Photo: By All-Pro Reels available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.
PICK 8: TORONTO RAPTORS – TONY ALLEN (ORIGINALLY PICK 25 – BOSTON)
ORIGINAL PICK: RAFAEL ARAUJO
Although not the scorer that Kevin Martin is just below him, I still give Tony Allen the nod for his defensive prowess and significant roles he played on multiple playoff teams. Only averaged eight points and three and a half rebounds per game but was better known on the other end of the floor. A six-time All-Defensive selection and the player Kobe Bryant labelled in a 2015 TNT interview as “the player I had the most trouble with.” Was a leader and perfect fit for the grit and grind Memphis Grizzlies of the early 2010’s.
PICK 9: PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – KEVIN MARTIN (ORIGINALLY PICK 26 – SACRAMENTO)
ORIGINAL PICK: ANDRE IGUODALA
One of the better pure scorers out of this draft, Kevin Martin was almost a 20 points a night player for close to a decade. Averaged 17.4 points, three rebounds and two assists across 14 seasons in the league and shot 38.4 percent from behind the three-point line for his career. Would have slotted in nicely in the modern era, but definitely lived up to his potential throughout his career.
PICK 10: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – JAMEER NELSON (ORIGINALLY PICK 20 – DENVER, TRADED TO ORLANDO)
ORIGINAL PICK: LUKE JACKSON
Like a lot of the guys from pick six and onwards in this draft, Jameer Nelson could have easily found himself higher in our re-draft. Averaged 11.3 points, three rebounds and five assists over 14 years in the league and was an important member of multiple Orlando teams that went within a couple of games of winning the NBA title. Apart from a two-and-a-half-year stint in Denver, Nelson has bounced around the league since leaving the Magic however, hasn’t closed the door on a return to the league.
Cover Photo: Bridget Samuels