Monday, October 2 2023

The 2004 NBA draft followed what was considered one of the most exceptional draft classes in the history of the league.

As such, it didn’t quite measure up in terms of top-tier talent. Nonetheless, it did boast a considerable depth of proficient players, many of whom went on to have lengthy careers in the NBA, effectively becoming valuable role players.

Below, check out our 2004 NBA re-draft, with players taken in the order they should have gone in.

Dwight Howard

young dwight howardyoung dwight howard

young dwight howard

It’s somewhat rare for the actual No. 1 pick to go first overall in our re-drafts but for 2004, that’s exactly what happened here. Dwight Howard won Defensive Player of the Year three times, was an eight-time All-Star, led the league in blocks twice and rebounding five times and was 1st Team All-NBA five times, too. The best center in the league during his prime, Howard was a two-way force of nature, leading the Orlando Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals and eventually winning a championship as a vital backup for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. Oh, and for those who want to argue it, there’s no doubt Howard will be a Hall-of-Famer one day. Probably a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, at that.

Actual position: No. 1
Career earnings: $245,142,483
Career stats: 15.7 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 1.8 bpg, 58.7 FG%, 56.7 FT%
Scouting Report


Andre Iguodala

Another potential Hall-of-Famer (though his case isn’t as clear cut) from the 2004 draft class is Andre Iguodala, who goes second overall in our re-draft exercise. Iguodala was another two-way player, a do-everything swingman on offense who could score, rebound and create, and a point-stopper on the other end, who could take on tough matchups on the wing and cause havoc as a help defender. A one-time All-Star, Iguodala won four titles as a member of the Golden State Warriors, including one run in which he earned Finals MVP, which happened in 2015.

Actual position: No. 9
Career earnings: $185,219,886
Career stats: 11.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.2 apg, 46.3 FG%, 33.0 3P%
Scouting Report


Luol Deng

luon dengluon deng

luon deng

And that’s where the line of Hall-of-Famers or potential Hall-of-Famers from the 2004 class ends. Still, Luol Deng was a high-level player for many years, another two-way wing, though one with a bit less impact than Iguodala had. A two-time All-Star, Deng was particularly effective as a slasher and could hit spot-up threes as well as some midrange off-the-dribble jumpers in his prime, and could really defend opposing All-Star-level wings.

Actual position: No. 7
Career earnings: $166,056,673
Career stats: 14.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.3 apg, 45.6 FG%, 33.2 3P%
Career Salary Info

Al Jefferson

A throwback player, Al Jefferson was a low-block specialist with great quickness and footwork as a post-up player, who would often humiliate opposing big men who would try to defend him in the paint. He didn’t offer much in the way of defense but he was one of the smoothest big men scorers in the NBA and even earned 3rd Team All-NBA honors in 2013-14 for his efforts.


Actual position: No. 15
Career earnings: $133,787,578
Career stats: 15.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 49.9 FG%, 71.1 FT%
Career Salary Info

Josh Smith

Although not the most efficient player even in his prime, Josh Smith was one of the most exciting players to watch in his heyday thanks to his otherworldly athleticism to go with his fantastic length on the wing. A highlight-dunk specialist, Smith could do damage as a slasher, in transition and as a help defender, but his obsession with launching threes despite his poor success rate hindered his impact.

Actual position: No. 17
Career earnings: $118,735,184
Career stats: 14.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 3.1 apg, 45.2 FG%, 63.2 FT%
Career Salary Info


Devin Harris

Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty ImagesPhoto by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

A lightning-quick point guard with good finishing ability in the paint and solid playmaking skills, albeit with a streaky jumper, Devin Harris was part of some very talented Dallas Mavericks teams that had championship aspirations, making the playoffs eight times in his career with three different teams.

Actual position: No. 5
Career earnings: $74,241,850
Career stats: 10.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.9 apg, 43.2 FG%, 79.6 FT%
Career Salary Info

Jameer Nelson

Despite his lack of size and mundane athleticism, Jameer Nelson had an impressive career that lasted 14 seasons, one of which was an All-Star campaign, and was a member of the 2008-09 Orlando Magic team that reached the NBA Finals. Nelson missed the second half of that season and the majority of the playoffs before returning far from 100 percent for the final five games, causing us to wonder if that championship series against Los Angeles might have gone differently with a fully healthy, All-Star-level Nelson.


Actual position: No. 20
Career earnings: $73,867,486
Career stats: 11.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.1 apg, 43.6 FG%, 36.8 3P%
Career Salary Info

JR Smith

Howard Smith-USA TODAY SportsHoward Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

JR Smith probably wasn’t the most team-oriented player ever, often looking for his own shot as his first, second and third option, but he was an explosive scorer who could shoot from all over the floor against all types of contests and fly out of the gym with his plus-athleticism. He won Sixth Man of the Year in 2012-13 after averaging 18.1 points off the bench for the New York Knicks that year and also won two championships, one with the Cleveland Cavaliers and one with the Lakers.


Actual position: No. 18
Career earnings: $90,294,854
Career stats: 12.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, 41.9 FG%, 37.3 3P%
Career Salary Info

Kevin Martin

Had Kevin Martin, a late bloomer as a basketball player, attended a bigger college than Western Carolina University, he probably wouldn’t have fallen to 26th in his draft class. Regardless, he wound up having a very solid NBA career, providing high-level scoring thanks to his quickness and off-the-dribble shooting, even with the funky release he had on his jumper.

Actual position: No. 26
Career earnings: $79,403,668
Career stats: 17.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.9 apg, 43.7 FG%, 87.0 FT%
Career Salary Info


Emeka Okafor

Big man Emeka Okafor hit the ground running in his NBA career, averaging a double-double for the first five seasons of his career along with nearly two blocks nightly. But by his late-20s, his prime was pretty much over, as injuries eventually took their toll on him. He wasn’t a full-on bust but Okafor never made an All-Star team and didn’t really live up the expectations of a No. 2 overall pick.

Actual position: No. 2
Career earnings: $88,681,573
Career stats: 12.0 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 51.2 FG%, 58.6 FT%
Career Salary Info

Anderson Varejao

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesPhoto by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

He was never a star but Anderson Varejao was a very solid role player for many years, even peaking in 2012-13 at 14.1 points, 14.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. The Brazilian was an expert finisher out of the pick-and-roll and moved his feet very well, helping him last All-Defensive Team honors in 2009-10.


Actual position: No. 30
Career earnings: $88,929,857
Career stats: 7.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 50.9 FG%, 63.0 FT%
Career Salary Info

Delonte West

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesPhoto by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

A tough-nosed two-way player in his prime, Delonte West was a lefty guard who provided a lot of toughness and quick feet defensively and could really shoot the basketball, either with his feet set or off the dribble.

Actual position: No. 24
Career earnings: $16,463,022
Career stats: 9.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.6 apg, 44.8 FG%, 37.2 3P%
Career Salary Info

Shaun Livingston

The No. 4 pick in 2004, Shaun Livingston’s career could be seen as a relative disappointment relative to the expectations as a Top 5 pick with outstanding size and athleticism for a point guard. But the reason Livingston wasn’t able to live up to the hype was in large part due to the horrifying leg injury he suffered in 2007-08 (seriously, don’t look up video of it), one that took him a long while to recover from. Even so, Livingston was a three-time champion with the Warriors, playing an absolutely pivotal role as a backup for the Golden State dynasty as a scorer and playmaker off the bench.

Actual position: No. 4
Career earnings: $59,164,536
Career stats: 6.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.0 apg, 48.6 FG%, 79.4 FT%
Career Salary Info

Trevor Ariza

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty ImagesPhoto by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Trevor Ariza never became a star in the NBA but for a second-round pick, he had a fantastic career, earning over $116 million during his time in the Association, winning a championship with the Lakers in 2008-09 and producing as a 3-and-D swingman for a long time.

Actual position: No. 43
Career earnings: $116,874,668
Career stats: 10.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 42.2 FG%, 35.1 3P%
Career Salary Info

Tony Allen

One of the best guard defenders of his generation, Tony Allen was an absolute force on the less glamorous end of the floor, capable of locking down opposing star ball-handlers on a nightly basis. Allen was a three-time 1st Team All-Defense member and a three-time 2nd Team All-Defender, which goes to show what a beast he was as a point-preventer. His offensive game wasn’t much to write home about but he could knock down midrange jumpers here and there.

Actual position: No. 25
Career earnings: $40,941,056
Career stats: 8.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, 47.5 FG%, 28.2 3P%
Career Salary Info

Ben Gordon

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesPhoto by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

An explosive scorer who could shoot from all over the floor, even off the dribble, thanks to his high elevation and quick release, Ben Gordon won Sixth Man of the Year in 2004-05 as a rookie after averaging 15.1 points mostly off the bench for the Chicago Bulls that campaign. Gordon even had a couple of campaigns where he averaged over 20 points per game back when that was a much bigger accomplishment than it is today, as his relentless running to get open coming off of screens made him a load to defend.

Actual position: No. 3
Career earnings: $82,353,604
Career stats: 14.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 43.2 FG%, 40.1 3P%
Career Salary Info

Beno Udrih

Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty ImagesPhoto by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

A solid backup point guard for many years, Beno Udrih didn’t spend a whole lot of time as a full-time starter but he did have his moments of good impact thanks to his playmaking and pull-up midrange shooting skills.

Actual position: No. 28
Career earnings: $43,297,950
Career stats: 8.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.4 apg, 46.3 FG%, 34.9 3P%
Career Salary Info

Andris Biedrins

There was a time it looked like Andris Biedrins might live up to the expectations of a lottery-level pick, as the big man even peaked in 2008-09 at 11.9 points, 11.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. However, his career was over fewer than 200 games later as his porous foul shooting led to his demise. Biedrins started to avoid contact in order not to have to shoot free throws – just look here to see why…

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… – and without his physicality, he lost his main method of making an impact.

Actual position: No. 11
Career earnings: $60,452,678
Career stats: 6.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 59.4 FG%, 50.0 FT%
Career Salary Info

Kris Humphries

Best remembered for his 72-day marriage to Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries was a solid role player during his time in the NBA, able to knock down midrange jumpers and rebound a bit out of the frontcourt.

Actual position: No. 14
Career earnings: $60,978,258
Career stats: 6.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 0.7 apg, 46.3 FG%, 70.0 FT%
Career Salary Info

Josh Childress

Photo by Elsa/Getty ImagesPhoto by Elsa/Getty Images

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

A solid double-digit scorer for the first few years of his career, the smooth midrange attacker Josh Childress never really progressed being just a decent secondary bucket-getter. The most interesting thing about his career, actually, was that after his rookie contract ended, he signed in Greece with Olympiacos where he became a star in the Greek League before returning to the NBA for four more uneventful seasons prior to ending his career overseas. That was a noteworthy moment for the NBA, however, as it led some to wonder if more NBA players would choose to continue their careers in European basketball during their primes. (Spoiler alert: That never really became a thing and with the money the NBA is currently shelling out, it never will.)

Actual position: No. 6
Career earnings: $44,632,128
Career stats: 9.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 52.2 FG%, 32.9 3P%
Career Salary Info

Chris Duhon

A solid playmaker and outside shooter, Chris Duhon peaked in 2008-09 as a member of the Knicks under head coach Mike D’Antoni and his blazing-fast system, averaging 11.1 points and 7.2 assists that year while shooting 39.1 percent from three. Besides that, Duhon never had another double-digit scoring season and was mostly just a low-end starter, high-end backup type in his prime.

Actual position: No. 38
Career earnings: $30,891,150
Career stats: 6.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.4 apg, 39.3 FG%, 36.3 3P%
Career Salary Info

Damien Wilkins

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY SportsTrevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

An undrafted success story in 2004, Damien Wilkins lasted nine-plus seasons in the NBA thanks to his defensive energy and ability to hit the occasional open three.

Actual position: Undrafted
Career earnings: $18,689,457
Career stats: 6.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.4 apg, 42.6 FG%, 32.7 3P%
Career Salary Info

Dorell Wright

Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesPhoto by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Primarily a 3-and-D specialist, Dorell Wright arrived in the NBA straight out of high school with some expectations as a wing with great size that had guard skills. He wound up enjoying a solid 11-year career in the Association as a role player mostly off the bench.

Actual position: No. 19
Career earnings: $28,092,472
Career stats: 8.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.5 apg, 42.4 FG%, 36.5 3P%
Career Salary Info

Sasha Vujacic

A shooting specialist who played a role on two championship Lakers teams thanks to his ability to spot up around Kobe Bryant and Pau GasolSasha Vujacic was a decent shooter but not consistent enough to be anything more than a bench role player for the bulk of his career.

Actual position: No. 27
Career earnings: $22,324,686
Career stats: 5.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.3 apg, 39.0 FG%, 36.7 3P%
Career Salary Info

Viktor Khryapa

His time in the NBA wasn’t all that long or impressive but Viktor Khryapa ended up being a star in Europe, winning two Euroleague championships, making a 1st Team All-Euroleague and taking home eight Russian league championships as a member of CSKA Moscow.

Actual position: No. 22
Career earnings: $5,216,358
Career stats: 4.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.0 apg, 44.3 FG%, 29.2 3P%
Career Salary Info

Sebastian Telfair

A high-school sensation out of New York City, Sebastian Telfair never really lived up to the hype he had as a prep prospect but did last nine-plus seasons in the NBA thanks to his quickness, pull-up scoring and flashy playmaking.

Actual position: No. 13
Career earnings: $19,475,455
Career stats: 7.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 3.5 apg, 39.0 FG%, 31.9 3P%
Career Salary Info

Kirk Snyder

A solid swingman with some scoring and shooting ability, Kirk Snyder had a decent overseas career following his time in the NBA.

Actual position: No. 16
Career earnings: $6,670,033
Career stats: 6.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.1 apg, 43.8 FG%, 32.7 3P%
Career Salary Info

Royal Ivey

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY SportsDaniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

A defensive-minded guard, Royal Ivey lasted nine-plus seasons in the NBA thanks to his energy and ability to hit three-pointers.

Actual position: No. 37
Career earnings: $8,240,307
Career stats: 3.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 1.0 apg, 40.6 FG%, 36.1 3P%
Career Salary Info

Jackson Vroman

Jackson Vroman’s NBA career did not last long but he did play for a lengthy amount of time overseas, even winning FIBA Asian Champions Cup MVP back in 2009 before tragically passing away in 2015.

Actual position: No. 31
Career earnings: $1,067,328
Career stats: 3.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.6 apg, 40.8 FG%, 58.0 FT%
Career Salary Info

David Harrison

A star prospect out of high school, David Harrison eventually reached the NBA for four seasons before spending the majority of his career in China.

Actual position: No. 29
Career earnings: $4,428,916
Career stats: 5.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.2 apg, 53.0 FG%, 52.5 FT%
Career Salary Info

Story originally appeared on HoopsHype

Source: Yahoo Sports


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