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Ben Wallace explains why the Detroit Pistons made a smart decision by not drafting Carmelo Anthony

Ben Wallace lays out the reasons why Carmelo Anthony wouldn't be a great fit for the Detroit Pistons
Ben Wallace on why Carmelo Anthony would be a bad fit for the Detroit Pistons

Carmelo Anthony almost ended up playing for the Detroit Pistons that won the championship that same season 

There was always a big question mark whether Carmelo Anthony's career would take a different turn in winning if the Detroit Pistons drafted him as the second pick. The Pistons did the unthinkable that night and selected Darko Milicic instead, right behind LeBron James, who went to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Carmelo ended up with the Denver Nuggets, and now 19 seasons after that draft night, Carmelo still never played in the NBA finals despite having a great career in terms of individual accomplishments. Unfortunately, he might be one of those all-time greats without a championship ring to show for at the end of his career.

With Carmelo, the Pistons wouldn't win the title

In a recent interview on the podcast 120 Watts, the former NBA player and the member of that Pistons championship squad Ben Wallace explained how he believes the Pistons made a smart move by not drafting Carmelo. Even though that might sound like a surprise, he thinks it was the right move for two main reasons. First, Darko immediately said that he was not ready to play for a team aiming to win a championship, which enabled the team to grow and focus on winning. On the other hand, Carmelo was a type of player who wanted minutes immediately, which wouldn't work in Ben's mind and would potentially disrupt the team's chemistry.

"If we would've drafted Carmelo, I honestly don't think we would ever win a championship. Melo would want to play right away. That would have the potential to disrupt the team chemistry. 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."

Ben Wallace, via 120 Watts

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Apart from Rasheed and Ben Wallace, Rip Hamilton, and Chauncey Billups, one of the key players was also Tayshaun Prince, a solid two-way player, and Wallace thinks Carmelo's presence wouldn't allow Prince to grow as a player. It was none other than Prince who delivered perhaps the most significant block in NBA playoff history on Reggie Miller in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Wallace, who blocked quite a few shots in his career, believes that is the most excellent 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."

Ben Wallace, via 120 Watts

It wasn't a good fit for many reasons

One of the crucial elements why the Pistons were so successful those years, apart from a great group of players, was their head coach Larry Brown. Brown was a coach who demanded a lot from his player and didn't sympathize with young players, especially rookies. From that perspective, it's hard to predict how that would've affected Carmelo and whether he would have clashed with Brown, which would affect the team chemistry. Carmelo wouldn't have the freedom and minutes to play as he did with the Nuggets immediately in his rookie season. 

"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."

Ben Wallace, via 120 Watts

Now that the Los Angeles Lakers season has ended tragically, there is a big question about whether we will see Carmelo Anthony back in the league next season. Maybe the Lakers decide to pick him up as a reliable option on offense since he averaged 13 points per game. However, his defense has become subpar, and Carmelo is finding hard times to stoping players or at least slow them down. There might be an opportunity for Carmelo to play one more season in the NBA; however, the chance to win an NBA championship is now pretty slim to none. 

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