To many, and I agree, the 2003 NBA Draft was the best NBA Draft ever. The 2003 Draft has produced 8 All-Stars and 4 All-NBA members including names like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, David West, Chris Kaman, Josh Howard, and Mo Williams. Other non-all stars but solid NBA players to come out of this draft include Kirk Hinrich, TJ Ford, Nick Collison, Luke Ridnour, Boris Diaw, Carlos Delfino, Kendrick Perkins, Leandro Barbosa, Steve Blake, Willie Green, Keith Bogans, Travis Outlaw, Dahntay Jones, Matt Bonner, Zaza Pachulia, James Jones, Kyle Korver, the list goes on and on. But every draft has its busts and the 2003 NBA Draft is no different. The 3 busts I’m going to profile are the #9 pick Michael Sweetney, the #15 selection Reece Gaines, and the #16 pick Troy Bell.
The burly 6 foot 8 inch 270 lb power forward out of Georgetown was selected 9th overall by the New York Knicks in the 2003 NBA Draft. Sweetney had a great 3 year career at Georgetown, posting a career scoring average of over 18 ppg while shooting 55% from the field. Unfortunately, his NBA career has not been very successful. After playing in only 42 regular season games for the Knicks, Sweetney was traded to the Chicago Bulls in 2005. Sweetney always had weight issues which led him to not appear in a single game during the span of 2007 – 2009. The Boston Celtics invited him to training camp in 2009 but was later waived.
The 6 foot 6 inch 205 lb former Louisville standout did not have a very smooth NBA career, bouncing around to 3 teams in 3 years. Gaines was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 15th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He appeared in only 38 games for the Magic before being traded midway through his rookie season to the Houston Rockets. Gaines played in only 10 games for the Rockets, mostly due to injuries, and was again traded in 2005 to the Milwaukee Bucks. Gaines didn’t play a whole lot during his 1 and a half seasons with the Bucks, totaling a combined 132 minutes in 23 games. From 2006 to 2009 Gaines played overseas in Italy. He was on a different team for each of his 3 years there. In 2009, Gaines played for the Bakersfield Jam (Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers affiliate) in the NBA D-League. Most recently, Gaines decided to go back and play professionally overseas, signing with JA Vichy of the French League in 2010.
The former 2-time NCAA All-American as well as 2-time Big East Player of the Year enjoyed a sensational college career at Boston College, finishing as Boston College’s all-time leading scorer. Bell was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 16th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft but was immediately traded on draft night to the Memphis Grizzlies. He played in 6 games for the Grizzlies in his rookie year and was signed as a free agent in 2005 by the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. Bell was later waived by the Hornets during the 2005 preseason. Bell entered the NBA D-League Draft in 2006 and was selected with the 12th pick by the Albuquerque Thunderbirds (New Orleans Hornets and Orlando Magic affiliate) and later signed with the Austin Toros (San Antonio Spurs affiliate), also of the D-League. After his 2 year stint in the NBA D-League, Bell played professionally in Italy for 3 different teams from 2007 to 2010. Currently, Bell plays for Entente Orleanaise in France.