The Toronto Raptors drafted Chris Bosh fourth overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. How would history look if the Raptors hadn't drafted him, though?
What if the Toronto Raptors had opted to select the most pro-ready prospect left on the board in the 2003 NBA Draft? What if the Toronto Raptors drafted Dwyane Wade?
For those who don't remember the Toronto Raptors selected Chris Bosh with the fourth overall pick, meaning Dwyane Wade fell to the Miami Heat at number five. What would the Raptors franchise look like if they opted for an answer at the point, as opposed to an answer at the four?
Chris Bosh was a wonderful player once Vince Carter left the Toronto Raptors. But what if we drafted a starter ready combo guard who just posted the ninth ever triple-double in NCAA tournament history. The Vince Carter era in Toronto was marred by a lack of an answer at the one, and Wade could have provided the solution.
It is true that the Vince Carter era ended the year following the 2003 draft, but let us not forget that VC has publicly stated that he was willing to remain a Raptor providing he did not have to play beside Rafer Alston anymore.
The presence of Wade would have likely meant we never signed the streetballer in the summer of 2004. Alston’s return to the team and presence was the proverbial last straw that caused an already disillusioned Vince Carter to request a trade from the franchise he helped put on the map.
Granted no one would have ever guessed that Dwyane Wade would eventually surpass Vince Carter in terms of placement on the all-time greats list. With that said, he was a very talented playmaking guard who projected as a future All-Star.
Vince Carter asked management to trade the fourth overall pick, as he wanted the team to bring in a veteran who could help the team compete immediately. A selection like Wade would have been the best of both worlds.
The redshirt sophomore was NBA ready, which could have potentially appeased Carter, and gave MLSE the upside rookie talent they deemed of greater importance than bringing in a veteran in exchange for the pick.
Even if Vince Carter still eventually departed the Raptors due to his issues with MLSE, we would have a guard that we now know is headed to the Hall of Fame. Another major change drafting Wade could have affected is our draft choices in the subsequent seasons.
If the Raptors lost Carter, and they were still bad enough to land the same draft picks, they may have chosen to go in different directions with the selections. The 2004 draft brought us the infamous selection of project Brazilian big man Rafael Araujo.
If Wade had been on the team they would have likely looked to find a player who fits his playing style. This likely means the Raptors select two-way wingman Andre Iguodala or a promising young big man in Al Jefferson. Likewise, the 2005 draft could have netted the team combo forward Danny Granger, and the 2006 draft, All-Star big LaMarcus Aldridge.
As good as Bosh was as a Raptor he has never been the type of impact player on a contender that Dwyane Wade, a former finals MVP has been. Clarifying matters further is the fact that the two players in question played for the same team in Miami. Let's take a look at their numbers prior to teaming together to illustrate.
As you can see Dwyane Wade was more statistically dominant both before, and during their team up. Bosh played third fiddle during his time with LeBron James and Wade in Miami. Wade also boasts a far superior value over replacement of 58.02, good for 26th all time.
The only names ahead of him are a virtual who’s who of some of the NBA’s greats. Chris Bosh, on the other hand, sits at 27.45 (123rd) behind names like Kyle Lowry (39.00), Marc Gasol (35.84), and LaMarcus Aldridge (27.61).
Let's review what Dwyane Wade being selected fourth overall could have meant for the Toronto Raptors franchise. First and foremost it may have allowed them to keep franchise icon, Vince Carter. Second, it would have given us what could have been the most productive Toronto Raptor ever (if he followed same career trajectory). It could have also meant they would go in different directions in subsequent years in terms of draft philosophy.
Having an NBA ready guard would have shifted our focus away from developmental prospects and helped the Raptors to avoid draft blunders like Rafael Araujo, Joey Graham, and Andrea Bargnani. Passing on the three names mentioned would have opened up the possibility of netting superior prospects, and ultimately NBA players like Andre Iguodala or Al Jefferson in 2004, Danny Granger in 2005, and LaMarcus Aldridge in 2006.
Chris Bosh was one of the greatest Toronto Raptors of all time in terms of on-court production. He became the face of the franchise in the post-Vince Carter era and was immortalized by leading the team to it's first ever division championship. He still holds multiple records including total rebounds, blocks, defensive win shares, and rebounds per game.
While he was a perennial All-Star in his time as a Raptor, he never profiled as someone who could be the best player on a true contender. The player who went one pick behind him was. What if the Raptors drafted Dwyane Wade instead of Chris Bosh?